Gujarati people or Gujaratis (Gujarati: ગુજરાતી) are an Indo-Aryan ethnolinguistic group of India that traditionally speaks Gujarati, an Indo-Iranian language. Famous Gujaratis include Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Morarji Desai, Sam Bahadur, Vikram Sarabhai, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Shyamji Krishna Varma, Muhammed Ali Jinnah, Freddie Mercury, Azim Premji, Dhirubhai Ambani, Narendra Modi and Jamsetji Tata. Gujaratis are very prominent in industry and key figures played an historic role in the introduction of the doctrine of Swaraj and the decisive victory of the 1947 Indian independence movement in British-ruled India.
- Geographical locations
- Mention in history
- Social stratification
- Tribes Quom and Communities
- United Kingdom
- United States
- East Africa
- South Africa
- Sultanate of Oman
- Business people
- Social activists
- Arts and entertainment
- Science and technology
Albeit with huge migration for economic reasons, most Gujaratis in India live in the state of Gujarat in Western India. Gujaratis also form a significant part of the populations in the small union territories of Daman and Diu, and Dadra Nagar Haveli, both being former Portuguese colonies. There are very large Gujarati immigrant communities in other parts of India, most notably in Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and other metropolitan areas like Kollam and Kochi in Kerala. All throughout history Gujaratis have earned a reputation as being India's greatest merchants, industrialists and business entrepreneurs, and have therefore been at forefront of migrations all over the world, particularly to regions that were part of the British empire such as Fiji, Hong Kong, East Africa and countries in Southern Africa. Diasporas and transnational networks in many of these countries date back to more than a century. In recent decades, larger numbers of Gujaratis have migrated to English speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States.
Mention in history
Early European travelers like Ludovico di Varthema (15th century) traveled to Gujarat and wrote on the people of Gujarat. He noted that Jainism had a strong presence in Gujarat and opined that Gujaratis were deprived of their kingdom by Mughals because of their kind heartedness. His description of Gujaratis was:
Orthodox Gujarati society which was mercantile by nature, was historically organized along ethno-religious lines and shaped into existence on the strength of its Mahajan ("guild assemblies"), and for its institution of Nagarsheth ("head of the guild assembly"); a 16th-century Mughal system akin to medieval European guilds which self-regulated the mercantile affairs of multi-ethnic, multi-religious communities in the Gujarati bourgeoisie long before municipal state politics was introduced. Historically, Gujaratis belonging to numerous faiths and castes, thrived in an inclusive climate surcharged by a degree of cultural syncretism, in which Hindus and Jains dominated occupations such as shroffs and brokers whereas, Muslims and Parsis (Ethnically not Gujarati but who are fluent in the language) largely dominated sea shipping trade. This led to religious interdependence, tolerance, assimilation and community cohesion ultimately becoming the hallmark of modern-day Gujarati society.
Tribes, Quom and Communities
The major communities that Gujaratis belong to are Brahmins, Rajputs, Vaishyas (Bania), Patidars, Ahirs, Maldharis and Lohana.
Gujaratis have a long tradition of seafaring and a history of overseas migration to foreign lands, to Yemen Oman Bahrain, Kuwait, Zanzibar and other countries in the Persian Gulf since a mercantile culture resulted naturally from the state's proximity to the Arabian Sea. Today, Gujaratis can be found in all inhabited continents of the world. The countries with the largest Gujarati populations are Pakistan, United Kingdom, United States, Canada and many countries in Southern and East Africa. Globally, Gujaratis are estimated to comprise around 33% of the Indian diaspora worldwide and can be found in 129 of 190 countries listed as sovereign nations by the United Nations. Non Resident Gujaratis (NRGs) maintain active links with the homeland in the form of business, remittance, philanthropy, and through their political contribution to state governed domestic affairs.
The second largest overseas diaspora of Gujaratis, after Pakistan, is in the UK. At a population of around 615,000 Gujaratis form almost half of the Indian community who live in the UK (1.2 million). Gujaratis first went to the UK in the 19th century with the establishment of the British Raj in India. Prominent members of this community such as Shyamji Krishna Varma played a vital role in exerting political pressure upon colonial powers during the struggle for Indian Independence. Now this community is mostly the second and third generation descendants of "twice-over" immigrants from the former British colonies of East Africa, Portugal, and Indian Ocean Islands. Most of them despite being British Subjects had restricted access to Britain after successive Immigration acts of 1962, 1968 and 1971. Most were, however, eventually admitted on the basis of a Quota voucher system or, in case of Uganda, as refugees after the expulsion order by the Ugandan ruler, Idi Amin in August 1972.
Gujaratis in Britain are regarded as affluent middle-class peoples who have assimilated into the milieu of British society. They are celebrated for revolutionizing the corner shop, and energising the British economy which changed Britain's antiquated retail laws forever. Demographically, Hindus form a majority along with a significant number of Jains and Muslims, and smaller numbers of Gujarati Christians. They are predominantly settled in metropolitan areas like Greater London, East Midlands, West Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire. Cities with significant Gujarati populations include Leicester and London boroughs of Brent, Barnet, Harrow and Wembley. There is also a small, but vibrant Gujarati-speaking Parsi community of Zoroastrians present in the country, dating back to the bygone era of Dadabhai Navroji, Shapurji Saklatvala and Pherozeshah Mehta. Both Hindus and Muslims have established caste or community associations, temples, and mosques to cater for the needs of their respective communities. A well known temple popular with Gujaratis is the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in Neasdon, London. A popular mosque that caters for the Gujarati Muslim community in Leicester is the Masjid Umar. Leicester has a Jain Temple that is also the headquarters of Jain Samaj Europe.
Gujarati Hindus in the UK have maintained many traditions from their homeland. The community remains religious with more than 100 temples catering for their religious needs. All major Hindu festivals such as Navratri, Dassara, and Diwali are celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm even from the generations brought up in UK. Gujarati Hindus also maintain their caste affiliation to some extent with most major castes having their own community association in each population center with significant Gujarati population such as Leicester and London suburbs. Patidars form the largest community in the diaspora including Kutch Leva Patels, followed closely by Lohanas of Saurashtra origin. Gujarati Rajputs from various regional backgrounds are affiliated with several independent British organizations dependant on caste such as Shree Maher Samaj UK, and the Gujarati Arya Kshatriya Mahasabha-UK.
Endogamy remains important to Gujarati Muslims in UK with the existence of matrimonial services specifically dedicated to their community. Gujarati Muslim society in the UK have kept the custom of Jamat Bandi, literally meaning communal solidarity. This system is the traditional expression of communal solidarity. It is designed to regulate the affairs of the community and apply sanctions against infractions of the communal code. Gujarati Muslim communities, such as the Ismāʿīlī, Khoja, Dawoodi Bohra, Sunni Bohra, and Memon have caste associations, known as jamats that run mosques and community centers for their respective communities.
Gujaratis have had a long involvement with the British. The original East India Company set up a factory in the port city of Surat in Gujarat in 1615. These were the beginnings of first real British involvement with India that eventually led to the formation of the British Raj. India becoming the predominant IT powerhouse in the 1990s has led to waves of new immigration by Gujaratis, and other Indians with software skills to the UK.
The United States has the third-largest Gujarati population after the United Kingdom. The highest concentration of the population of over 100,000 is in the New York City Metropolitan Area alone, notably in the growing Gujarati diasporic center of India Square in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Edison in Middlesex County in Central New Jersey. Significant immigration from India to the United States started after the landmark Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, Early immigrants after 1965 were highly educated professionals. Since US immigration laws allow sponsoring immigration of parents, children and particularly siblings on the basis of family reunion, the numbers rapidly swelled in a phenomenon known as "chain migration". Given the Gujarati propensity for business enterprise, a number of them opened shops and motels. Now in the 21st century over 40% of the hospitality industry in the United States is controlled by Gujaratis. Gujaratis, especially the Patidar samaj, also dominate as franchisees of fast food restaurant chains such as Subway and Dunkin' Donuts. The descendants of the Gujarati immigrant generation have also made high levels of advancement into professional fields, including as physicians, engineers and politicians. In August 2016, Air India commenced direct, one-seat flight service between Ahmedabad and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, via London Heathrow International Airport.
Famous Gujarati Americans include Ami Bera (United States Congress), Reshma Saujani (American politician), Sonal Shah (economist to Whitehouse), Rohit Vyas (Indian American journalist), Bharat Desai (CEO Syntel), Vyomesh Joshi (Forbes), Romesh Wadhwani (Forbes), Raj Bhavsar (sports) Halim Dhanidina (first Muslim judge of California), Savan Kotecha (Grammy nominated American songwriter), and Hollywood actresses, Sheetal Sheth and Noureen DeWulf.
Canada, just like its southern neighbour, is home to a large Gujarati community. According to the 2011 National Household Survey, there are 118,950 Gujaratis of various religious backgrounds living in Canada. The majority of them live in Toronto and its suburbs - home to the second largest Gujarati community in North America after the New York Metropolitan Area. Gujarati Hindus are the second largest linguistic/religious group in Canada's Indian community after Punjabi Sikhs, and Toronto is home to the largest Navratri raas garba festival in North America. The Ismaili Khoja form a significant part of the Canadian diaspora estimated to be about 80,000 in numbers overall. Most of them arrived in Canada in the 1970s as immigrants from Uganda and other countries of East Africa.
Notable Gujarati Canadians include Bharat Masrani (CEO of TD Bank Group), Zain Verjee (CNN journalist), Ali Velshi (former CNN journalist), Rizwan Manji (Canadian actor), Richie Mehta (Canadian film director), Nazneen Contractor (Canadian actress), Ishu Patel (BAFTA-winning Animations director), Arif Virani (Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park), Rahim Jaffer (Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Strathcona), Naheed Nenshi (36th Mayor of Calgary), Omar Sachedina (CTV News anchor) and Prashant Pathak (Investor and Philanthropist).
Former British colonies in East Africa had many residents of South Asian descent. The primary immigration was mainly from Gujarat and to a lesser extent from Punjab. They were brought there by the British Empire from India to do clerical work in Imperial service, or unskilled/semi-skilled manual labour such as construction or farm work. In the 1890s, 32,000 labourers from British India were brought to the then British East African colonies under indentured labour contracts to work on the construction of the Uganda Railway that started in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa and ended in Kisumu on Kenyan side of Lake Victoria. Most of the surviving Indians returned home, but 6,724 individuals decided to remain in the African Great Lakes after the line's completion.
Many Asians, particularly the Gujarati, in these regions were in the trading businesses. They included Gujaratis of all religions as well many of the castes and Quoms. Since the representation of Indians in these occupations was high, stereotyping of Indians in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyka as shopkeepers was common. A number of people worked for the British run banks. They also worked in skilled labor occupations, as managers, teachers and administrators. Gujarati and other South Asians had significant influence on the economy, constituting 1% of the population while receiving a fifth of the national income. For example, in Uganda, the Mehta and Madhvani families controlled the bulk of the manufacturing businesses. Gated ethnic communities served elite healthcare and schooling services. Additionally, the tariff system in Uganda had historically been oriented toward the economic interests of South Asian traders. One of the oldest Jain overseas diaspora was of Gujarat. Their number was estimated at 45,000 at the independence of the East African countries in the early 1960s. Most members of this community belonged to Gujarati speaking Halari Visa Oshwal Jain community originally from the Jamnagar area of Saurashtra.
The countries of East Africa gained independence from Britain in the early 1960s. At that time most Gujarati and other Asians opted to remain as British Subjects. The African politicians at that time accused Asians of economic exploitation and introduced a policy of Africanization. The 1968 Committee on "Africanisation in Commerce and Industry" in Uganda made far-reaching Indophobic proposals. A system of work permits and trade licenses was introduced in 1969 to restrict the role of Indians in economic and professional activities. Indians were segregated and discriminated against in all walks of life. During the middle of the 1960s many Asians saw the writing on the wall and started moving either to UK or India. However, restrictive British immigration policies stopped a mass exodus of East African Asians until Idi Amin came to power in 1971. He exploited pre-existing Indophobia and spread propaganda against Indians involving stereotyping and scapegoating the Indian minority. Indians were stereotyped as "only traders" and "inbred" to their profession. Indians were labelled as "dukawallas" (an occupational term that degenerated into an anti-Indian slur during Amin's time), and stereotyped as "greedy, conniving", without any racial identity or loyalty but "always cheating, conspiring and plotting" to subvert Uganda. Amin used this propaganda to justify a campaign of "de-Indianization", eventually resulting in the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Uganda's Indian minority.
Gujarati and other Indians started moving to the Kenya colony at the end of the 19th century when the British colonial authorities started opening up the country with the laying down of the Railways. A small colony of merchants, however, had existed on the port cities such Mombasa on the Kenyan coast for hundreds of years prior to that. The immigrants who arrived with the British were the first ones to open up businesses in rural Kenya a century ago. These Dukawalas or shopkeepers were mainly Gujarati. Over the following decades the population, mainly Gujarati but also a sizable number of Punjabi, increased in size. The population started declining after the independence of Kenya in the 1960s. At that time the majority of Gujaratis opted for British citizenship and eventually moved there, especially to cities like Leicester or London suburbs. Famous Kenyans of Gujarati heritage who contributed greatly to the development of East Africa include Thakkar Bapa, Manu Chandaria, Atul Shah, Baloobhai Patel, Bhimji Depar Shah (Forbes), Naushad Merali (Forbes), and Indian philanthropist, Alibhai Mulla Jeevanjee, who played a large role in the development of modern-day Kenya during colonial rule.
There is a small community of people of Indian origin living in Uganda, but the community is far smaller than before 1972 when Ugandan ruler Idi Amin expelled most Asians, including Gujaratis. In the late 19th century, mostly Sikhs, were brought on three-year contracts, with the aid of Imperial British contractor Alibhai Mulla Jeevanjee to build the Uganda Railway from Mombasa to Kisumu by 1901, and to Kampala by 1931. Some died, while others returned to India after the end of their contracts, but few chose to stay. They were joined by Gujarati traders called "passenger Indians", both Hindu and Muslim free migrants who came to serve the economic needs of the indentured labourers, and to capitalise on the economic opportunities.
After the 1972 expulsion, most Indians and Gujaratis migrated to the United Kingdom. Due to the efforts of the Aga Khan, many Khoja Nizari Ismaili refugees from Uganda were offered asylum in Canada.
Indians have a long history in Tanzania starting with the arrival of Gujarati traders in the 19th century. There are currently over 50,000 people of Indian origin in Tanzania. Many of them are traders and they control a sizeable portion of the Tanzanian economy. They came to gradually control the trade in Zanzibar. Many of the buildings constructed then still remain in Stone Town, the focal trading point on the island.
The Indian community in South Africa is more than a century old and is concentrated in and around the city of Durban. The vast majority of immigrant pioneer Gujaratis who came in the latter half of the 19th century were passenger Indians who paid for their own travel fare and means of transport to arrive and settle South Africa, in pursuit of fresh trade and career opportunities and as such were treated as British subjects, unlike the fate of a class of Indian indentured laborours who were transported to work on the sugarcane plantations of Natal Colony in dire conditions. Passenger Indians, who initially operated in Durban, expanded inland, to the South African Republic (Transvaal), establishing communities in settlements on the main road between Johannesburg and Durban. After wealthy Gujarati Muslim merchants began experiencing discrimination from repressive colonial legislation in Natal, they sought the help of one young lawyer, Mahatma Gandhi to represent the case of a Memon businessman. Umar Hajee Ahmed Jhaveri was consequently elected the first president of the South African Indian Congress.
Indians have played an important role in the anti-apartheid movement of South Africa. Many were incarcerated alongside Nelson Mandela following the Rivonia Trial, and many became martyred fighting to end racial discrimination. Notable South African Indians of Gujarati heritage include Marxist freedom fighters such as Ahmed Timol (activist), Yusuf Dadoo (activist), Ahmed Kathrada (activist), Amina Cachalia (activist) and Dullah Omar (activist), as well as Ahmed Deedat (missionary), Imran Garda (Al Jazeera English) and Hashim Amla (cricketer).
Sultanate of Oman
Oman, holding a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, has been the primary focus of trade and commerce for medieval Gujarati merchants for much of its glorious history and Gujaratis, along with various other ethnic groups, contributed to the rich dynamic culture, founding and settlement of its capital port city, Muscat. Some of the earliest Indian immigrants to settle in Oman were the Bhatias of Kutch, who have a powerful presence in Oman dating back to the 16th century. At the turn of the 19th century, Gujaratis wielded such immense political clout that Faisal bin Turki, the great-grandfather of the current ruler, spoke Gujarati and Swahili far better than he spoke Arabic and Oman's sultan Syed Said (1791-1856) was persuaded to shift his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar, more than two thousand miles from the Arabian mainland, on the recommendation of Shivji Topan and Bhimji families who lent money to the Sultan. In modern times, business tycoon Kanaksi Khimji, from the famous Khimji family of Gujarat was conferred title of Sheikh by the Sultan, the first ever use of the title for a member of the Hindu community. The Muscati Mahajan is one of the oldest merchants associations founded more than a century ago.
There is a community of Gujarati Muslims in neighbouring areas of the nation of Pakistan, mainly settled in the province of Sindh for generations. A sizable number migrated after the Partition of India and subsequent creation of independent Pakistan in 1947. These Pakistani Gujaratis belong mainly to the Ismāʿīlī, Khoja, Dawoodi Bohra, Chundrigar, Charotar Sunni Vohra, Muslim Ghanchi, Muslim Khatri and Memon groups; however, many Gujaratis are also a part of Pakistan's small but vibrant Hindu community. Famous Gujaratis of Pakistan include Muhammed Ali Jinnah (father of Pakistan), Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar (sixth Prime Minister of Pakistan), Sir Adamjee Haji Dawood (philanthropist), Abu Bakr Osman Mitha (Major-General), Abdul Razzak Yaqoob (philanthropist), Javed Miandad (Pakistani cricketer), Abdul Sattar Edhi (humanitarian), Jehangir H. Kothari (philanthropist), Abdul Gaffar Billoo (philanthropist), Ramzan Chhipa (philanthropist), Tapu Javeri (Pakistani fashion and art photographer), Pervez Hoodbhoy (Pakistani nuclear physicist) and Ardeshir Cowasjee (Pakistani critic and social activist).
Gujarati food has famously been described as "the haute cuisine of vegetarianism" and meals have a subtle balance of sweet, tart and mild hot sensations on the palate. Gujarati Jains are vegetarians and Hindus in Gujarat are largely vegetarian, to an extent greater than Hindu communities elsewhere in India. However, many Gujaratis such as Rajputs and Muslims have traditionally eaten a variety of meats and seafood. Gujarati cuisine follows the traditional Indian full meal structure of rice, cooked vegetables, lentil dal or curry and roti. The different types of flatbreads that a Gujarati cooks are rotli or chapati, bhakhri, thepla or dhebara, puri, maal purah, and puran-pohli. Popular snacks such as Khaman, Dhokla, Pani Puri, Dhokli, dal-dhokli, Undhiyu, Jalebi, fafda, chevdoh, Samosa, papri chaat, Muthia, Bhajia, Patra, bhusu, locho, sev usal, fafda gathiya, vanela gathiya and Sev mamra are traditional Gujarati dishes savoured by many communities across the world.
Khichdi – a mix of rice and mung dal, cooked with spice – is a popular and nutritious dish which has regional variations. Quite often the khichdi is accompanied by Kadhi. It is found satisfying by most Gujaratis, and cooked very regularly in most homes, typically on a busy day due to its ease of cooking. It can also become an elaborate meal such as a thali when served with several other side dishes such as a vegetable curry, yogurt, sabzi shaak, onions, mango pickle and papad.
Spices have traditionally been made on grinding stones, however, since villages have seen rapid growth and industrialization in recent decades, today people may use a blender or grinder. People from north Gujarat use dry red chili powder, whereas people from south Gujarat prefer using green chili and coriander in their cooking. There is no standard recipe for Gujarati dishes, however the use of tomatoes and lemons is a consistent theme throughout Gujarat. Traditionally Gujaratis eat mukhwas at the end of a meal to enhance digestion, and desserts such as aam shrikhand made using mango salad and hung curd are very popular. In many parts of Gujarat, drinking chaas (chilled buttermilk) or soda after lunch or dinner is also quite common.
Surti delicasies include ghari which is a puri filled with khoa and nuts that is typically eaten during the festival Chandani Padva, sutarfeni – made from fine strands of sweet dough garnished with pistachios, and halwasan which are hard squares made from broken wheat, khoa, nutmeg and pistachios. A version of English custard is made in Gujarat that uses cornstarch instead of the traditional eggs. It is cooked with cardamom and saffron, and served with fruit and sliced almonds. Gujarati families celebrate Sharad Purnima by having dinner with doodh-pauva under moonlight.
The history of Gujarati literature may be traced to 1000 AD. Since then literature has flourished till date. Well known laureates of Gujarati literature are Jhaverchand Meghani, Avinash Vyas, Hemchandracharya, Narsinh Mehta, Gulabdas Broker, Akho, Premanand Bhatt, Shamal Bhatt, Dayaram, Dalpatram, Narmad, Govardhanram Tripathi, Mahatma Gandhi, K. M. Munshi, Umashankar Joshi, Suresh Joshi, Pannalal Patel, Imamuddin khanji Babi Saheb (Ruswa mazlumi), Niranjan Bhagat, Rajendra Keshavlal Shah, Raghuveer Chaudhari and Sitanshu Yashaschandra Mehta.
Kavi Kant, Kalapi and Abbas Abdulali Vasi are Gujarati language poets. Ardeshar Khabardar, Gujarati-speaking Parsi who was president of Gujarati Sahitya Parishad was a nationalist poet. His poem, Jya Jya Vase Ek Gujarati, Tya Tya Sadakal Gujarat (Wherever a Gujarati resides, there forever is Gujarat) depicts Gujarati ethnic pride and is widely popular in Gujarat.
Gujarat Vidhya Sabha, Gujarat Sahitya Sabha, and Gujarati Sahitya Parishad are Ahmedabad based literary institutions promoting the spread of Gujarati literature. Saraswatichandra is a novel by Govardhanram Tripathi. Writers like Harindra Dave, Suresh Dalal, Jyotindra Dave, Dinkar Joshi, Prahlad Brahmbhatt, Tarak Mehta, Harkisan Mehta, Chandrakant Bakshi, Vinod Bhatt, Kanti Bhatt, Makarand Dave, and Varsha Adalja have influenced Gujarati thinkers.
Swaminarayan paramhanso, like Bramhanand, Premanand, contributed to Gujarati language literature with prose like Vachanamrut and poetry in the form of bhajans. Kanji Swami a spiritual mystic who was honored with the title, 'Koh-i-noor of Kathiawar' made literary contributions to Jain philosophy and promoted Ratnatraya.
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 India and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Dayro (gathering) involves singing and conversation reflecting on human nature.
Gujarati language is enriched by the Adhyatmik literature written by the Jain scholar, Shrimad Rajchandra and Pandit Himmatlal Jethalal Shah. This literature is both in the form of poetry and prose.
Notable Gujarati businesspeople include Dhirubhai Ambani, Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, Gautam Adani, Virji Vora, Shantidas Jhaveri, Currimbhoy Ebrahim, Hasmukhbhai Parekh, Nautamlal Bhagavanji Mehta, Nanji Kalidas Mehta, Muljibhai Madhvani, Mayur Madhvani, Meghji Pethraj Shah, Premchand Roychand, Walchand Hirachand, Ambalal Sarabhai, Jagmal Raja Chauhan, Jairam Valjee Chouhan, Fardunjee Marzban, Ashish Thakkar, Sudhir Ruparelia, Azim Premji, Uday Kotak, Dilip Shanghvi, Ramanbhai Patel, Adamjee Peerbhoy, J. D. C. Bytco, Hassam Moussa Rawat, Ismail Hasham, Haji Ismail Yusuf, Mohamed Yusuf, Samir Mehta, Sudhir Mehta, Hina Shah, Ranchhodlal Chhotalal, Karsanbhai Patel, Pankaj Patel, Bharat Desai, and Aamir Bhaya.
Some of the most important figures involved in the independence movement were Gujarati. These include Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, and father of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Gujaratis have also been prime ministers of India. They include Morarji Desai, and the current prime minister Narendra Modi. Others involved in Gujarat or Indian National politics include current former chief minister Anandiben Patel, Rajesh Chudasama, Shaktisinh Gohil, Vitthal Radadiya, Vasanbhai Ahir, Purshottam Solanki, Prabhatsinh Pratapsinh Chauhan, Poonamben Madam, Asifa Khan, Vijay Rupani, Dileep Sanghani, Jayantilal Bhanusali, and Shankar Chaudhary. Gujarati politicians active in other countries include UK politicians Baron Desai, Baron Popat, Baron Verjee, Baron Dholakia, Baron Parekh, Shailesh Vara, and Priti Patel, among others as well as American Arun Jhaveri, and Canadian politician Arif Virani.
Vikram Sarabhai, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Gopaldas Ambaidas Desai, Ashoka Mehta, Indulal Yagnik, Sanat Mehta, Ravi Shankar Vyas, Jhaverchand Meghani, Abbas Tyabji, Mahadev Desai, Jayanti Dalal, K.M. Munshi, Jugatram Dave, Odhavram, Shyamji Krishna Varma, and S. R. Rana.
Arts and entertainment
Famous Bollywood veterans of Gujarati heritage include Sohrab Modi, Asha Parekh, Sanjeev Kumar, Jackie Shroff, Parveen Babi,Aditya Pancholi, Dimple Kapadia, Tina Ambani, Farooq Sheikh and Mehtab. Mehboob Khan was a pioneer of Hindi cinema, best known for directing the social epic drama Mother India (1957). As well as film directors such as Mehul Kumar, Mahesh Bhatt and Shreedatt Vyas Indian theatre personalities include Boman Irani, and Alyque Padamsee. Award-winning producer Ismail Merchant, won six Academy Awards in collaboration with Merchant Ivory Productions, whereas veteran playback singer Jaykar Bhojak has been performing in the industry for over two decades now. Bollywood actresses Prachi Desai, Bianca Desai and Ameesha Patel have found fame in recent times.
Manmohan Desai is remembered for casting actors like Raj Kapoor, Babita and Amitabh Bachchan in hit films he directed such as Chhalia, Kismat, and Amar Akbar Anthony, and Babubhai Mistry pioneered the use of special effects in films. Theatre veteran Chhel Vayeda was well known in Hindi cinema for being a popular production designer who designed the sets of over 50 films during his lifetime. Meanwhile, film tycoon Dalsukh Pancholi owned and operated one of the biggest cinema houses in Lahore and launched the careers of Punjabi film stars such as Noor Jehan in undivided India.Wadia Movietone was a noted Indian film production company and studio based in Mumbai, established in 1933 by Wadia brothers J. B. H. Wadia and Homi Wadia, whom were originally Parsis from Surat.
Director Chaturbhuj Doshi is today known as was one of the founding fathers of Gujarati cinema. Gujarati films have made artists like Naresh Kanodia, Upendra Trivedi, Snehlata, Raajeev, Roma Maneck, Aruna Irani and Asrani popular in the entertainment industry. Among these dynamic actors, the late Upendra Trivedi who was a leading veteran of Gujarati cinema, made a popular pair with the heroine Snehlata and together they co-acted in more than 70 Gujarati films. Arvind Trivedi by whom the famous character of Ravana was played in Ramanad Sagar's popular TV serial Ramayana is his brother. In recent times, Gujarati drama film releases such as Little Zizou, Kevi Rite Jaish and Premji: Rise of a Warrior were positively received by audiences.
Gujarati TV serials which showcase the traditional culture and lifestyle have made a prominent place in India. Comedy actors such as Paresh Rawal, Sarita Joshi, Urvashi Dholakia, Ketki Dave, Purbi Joshi, Disha Vakani, Dilip Joshi, Jamnadas Majethia, Deven Bhojani, Rashmi Desai, Satish Shah, Dina Pathak, Ratna Pathak Shah and Supriya Pathak have found a place in audience hearts and are presently the top actors on Indian television. Modern actors of Gujarati heritage who are more versatile include Darshan Pandya, Vatsal Seth, Avinash Sachdev, Esha Kansara, Shrenu Parikh, Amar Upadhyay, Viraf Patel, Ajaz Khan, Sameer Dattani, Karishma Tanna, Drashti Dhami, Disha Savla, Komal Thacker, Vasim Bloch, Parth Oza, Tanvi Vyas, Nisha Rawal, Karan Suchak, Jugal Jethi, Isha Sharvani, Pia Trivedi, Sanjeeda Sheikh Pooja Gor, Payal Rohatgi, Ravish Desai, Shefali Zariwala, and Shenaz Treasurywala.
There are dedicated television channels airing Gujarati programs.
Well known musicians include the internationally acclaimed Kalyanji-Anandji, Vasant Rai, pop star Alisha Chinai, Darshan Raval, Shekhar Ravjiani, Salim–Sulaiman, sons of Sadruddin Merchant who is veteran composer of the film industry, and ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas who is recipient of the Padma Shri. Famous sports icons of Gujarati heritage include Karsan Ghavri, Deepak Shodhan, Ashok Mankad, Ghulam Guard, Prince Aslam Khan, Rajesh Chauhan, Parthiv Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Manpreet Juneja, Ajay Jadeja, Ravindra Jadeja, Chirag Jani, Munaf Patel, Axar Patel, Kiran More, Ian Dev Singh, and Sheldon Jackson.
Science and technology
World renowned computer scientist and inventor of SixthSense, Pranav Mistry (Vice President of Research at Samsung), Sam Pitroda (Communication Revolution), and Indian physicist Vikram Sarabhai are Gujarati. Vikram Sarabhai is considered the father of India's space programme, while Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, a Parsi who is related to the Tata industrial family is the father of India's nuclear science programme. Another well known Parsi Pioneer Jamsetji Tata who founded Tata Group, India's biggest conglomerate company and devoted his life to four goals: setting up an iron and steel company, a world-class learning institution, a unique hotel and a hydro-electric plant, is the "Father of Indian Industry".