Gujarat is a state in the North-West coast of India and known locally as Jewel of the West. Gujarat has an area of 196,204 sq km with a coastline of 1,600 km, most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula, and a population in excess of 60 million. The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the north, Maharashtra to the south, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea as well as the Pakistani province of Sindh on the west. Its capital city is Gandhinagar, whilst its largest city is Ahmedabad. Gujarat is home to the Gujarati-speaking people of India. The Government of Gujarat has banned alcohol since 1960.
The state encompasses major sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, such as Lothal and Dholavira. Lothal is believed to be one of the world’s first seaports. Gujarat’s coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch and Khambhat, served as ports and trading centres in the Maurya and Gupta empires, and during the succession of royal Saka dynasties from advent of the Western Satraps era, whose geographic territories included Saurashtra and Malwa: modern Gujarat, South Sindh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh states.
Gujarat was known to the Ancient Greeks, the various Persian Empires, the Roman Republic, and familiar in other Western centers of civilization through the end of the European Middle Ages. The oldest written record of Gujarat’s 2,000 year old maritime history is documented in a Greek book named ‘The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea: Travel and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant of the First Century’
Mahatma Gandhi, who spearheaded the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule, was a Gujarati. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader), Baba-i-Qaum (Father of the Nation) and first Governor general of Pakistan was from a Gujarati Muslim family in Rajkot.”Iron Man of India”, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Independent India’s first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, was from Karamsad, Gujarat. Vikram Sarabhai, considered “Father of the Indian Space Programme” originated from a family of Jain industrialists from Ahmedabad. Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of Reliance industries was from Chorvad, Gujarat. Azim Premji, software magnate and chairman of Wipro Limited is ethnically Gujarati, whilst pioneer industrialist Jamsetji Tata, who founded the famous Tata Group, India’s biggest and best-known multinational conglomerate, hailed from a Parsi Zoroastrian family in Navsari, and is widely regarded the legendary “Father of Indian Industry”.
Gujarat played an important role in the economic history of India. Gujarat has a per capita GDP above the national average.