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Land and the People || States Of India Gujarat
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The Gujarati people, or Guajarati’s, is an umbrella term used to describe traditionally Gujarati speaking peoples who can trace their ancestry to the Gujarat region in India. Most of the Gujarati sub-ethnicities are of lido Aryan Ethno· linguistic extraction.
Origins: This region was the first to host upper caste Aryan-speaking peoples, and their descendants remain in the area. The Gujarati language has been adopted by communities such as the Kacchis, who use it as their literary language, and the Parsis, who had made the Gujarat region of the Indian subcontinent their home.
Present Status: People of the Gujarati ethnicity are primarily located in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent, specifically in the Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh regions of India; in the former Portuguese-ruled parts of India-Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, as well as in parts of Pakistan. The Guajarati’s living in Pakistan are Muslims and are mainly those who migrated after the Partition of India and subsequent creation of independent Pakistan in 1947. They belong mainly to the Khoja, and Bohra groups. A large majority migrated to Karachi. A number of families still have relatives in Indian Gujarat and consider Gujarati to be their native tongue, even though they were born and brought up in Karachi. A point to be noted that memos who are often mistaken as Guajarati’s are not actually Guajarati’s and as their language and culture is different.
Due to a hard working and entrepreneurial spirit, many Gujaratis have done relatively well for themselves abroad.
The majority of Hindu Guajarati’s, and all Jain Guajarati’s are vegetarian. Gujarati cuisine follows the traditional Indian full meal structure of rice, cooked vegetables (curry-like in texture) and bread. The bread is usually a roti. The different types ofroti (breads) that a Gujarati cooks are roti, bhakhri, thepla, purl, maal purah and puran-pohli. Ghari and Khakhra are also eaten as roti, but they are usually eaten as a snack. Khaman, Dhokla, dhokli, dal-dhokli, undhiyu, fafda, chevdoh, papdi, bhusu and Sev mamra are Gujarati dishes savoured by many communities across the world. Use of Ghee in meals is very common. For example, pouring in rice or khichdi and applying on roti. The meal is usually accompanied with a sweet and a salty snack (farsaan) like Vada. Gujarati cookbook writers like Tarla Dalal are famous internationally.
The vegetable cooking involves preparing basic sauce first by frying masala with tomatoes and onions. Vegetables are usually added later. Guajarati’s are more comfortable cooking with peanut oil (shing tel). However, while living abroad they adjust their cooking method with available Canola or Sunflower oil.
The making of masala is traditionally done on grinding stones. Nowadays, people use a blender or grinder to make masala. Each person makes masala differently, hence cooking tastes different depending on the household. People from north Gujarat use dry red chilli powder, whereas people from south Gujarat prefer using green chilli and coriander in their cooking. Gujarati Jains (and many Hindus) avoid using garlic and .onions. in their cooking. Traditionally Guajarati’s eat Mukhwas or paan at the end of a meal. In many parts of Gujarat, having Chass butter milk or soda after lunch or dinner is quite common. Gujarati families celebrate Sharad Purnima by having dinner with doodh pauva under moonlight.
Pakistani or Muslim Guajarati’s are normally non vegetarian.
Dress and Jewellery
Guajarati’s change their dress according to the regional and local culture. Old wedding pictures of Gujaratis sometimes show the kurta (called zabbho) and pajama (called lehnghas). Kurtas have changed the appearance to more of national culture from regional culture. For quite some time, fashionable Gujarati ladies enjoyed wearing saris, but now they are switching to wearing the kameez at home and saris outside, wrapped in Gujarati style. Among men and women of the younger generations, western attire is becoming more common.
For jewellery and accessories, Gujarati ladies often hang a bunch of keys on the waist. The keyring holder is usually made in silver. Usual jewelry worn by ladies include the mangal sutra, necklace, earing, bangles, ring. With incidence of theft rising, cheaper costume jewelry is becoming more common. During weddings, Gujarati brides wear a lot .of jewellery. It is common to see a Gujarati (Hindu) male wearing a gold chain and a ring. Married Gujarati (Hindu) women also traditionally wear ared ‘bindi’ (red powder worn in a round shape on the forehead also found in the form of stickers).
Every Hindu woman, married or not, wear ‘bindi’, married woman wear red powder, called ‘sindoor’, on the forehead on 9r near the hairline. In addition to this they will also wear the ‘bindi’ or ‘tika’. During the wedding the priest will have the groom put the first red powder on the bride. Some more traditional woman still apply this red power to their forehead each morning.
The red power, ‘sindoor’, is not in a round shape but is rubbed on the forehead near the hairline. The stickers are ‘bindi’ and any woman, married or not, wear these in many different colours and usually come “in the form of a sticker and may match the girl’s/woman’s outfits in colour and design.
Arts, Literature and Entertainment
Fabric designs involve use of Batik. The embedding of mirrors (called abhla) in fabric is favourite among art lovers. Wall hangings demonstrate use of knitting and embedding of mirrors. Gujarati pottery includes different kind of deeva (lamps) and pots. During the festival of Navratri, youngsters wear traditional dress and go out to play dandia and sing garbas.
Gujarati theatre owes a lot to bhavai. Bhavai is a musical performance of stage plays. Ketan Mehta and Sanjay Leela Bhansali explored artistic use of bhavai in films such as Bhavni Bhavai, Oh Darling Yeh Hai Indw and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Dayro (gathering) involves singing and conversation reflecting on human nature.
Gujarati films have made artists like Upendra Trivedi, Snehlata, Raajeev, Mahesh Kumar Kanodia, Naresh Kanodia, Aruna Irani and Asrani popular in the entertainment industry. Bali Brahmbhatt in the USA came up with hit songs of “Patel Rap”, referring to changing values of Gujarati culture.
There are dedicated television channels airing Gujarati programmers.