The Quintessential Gujarati

What a community
Shah, Patel, Mehta
Have the best jewellery
But who are we?
Yes, who are we?
Kon chiye apde
G – Ganthiya
U – Undhiyu
J – jagwa
J- Jamnagar

Chances are, if you live in India and enjoy Bollywood movies (who doesn’t?), you remember this number from Kal Ho Na Ho. Gujaratis are always typified are dhokla-eating, money-minded, intelligent people. And rightly so!

Currently, the top two richest people in the country and the Prime Minister and Home Minister of India are Gujarati. Coincidence? I think not. At their best, Gujaratis are extremely enterprising and hardworking. A quote from Harshad Mehta’s character from the hit show Scam 1991 reads “Gujarati ke liye dhanda dharam se bhi bada hota hai”. From the bottom to the top strata of society, you’ll find hardworking, money-churning Gujaratis everywhere. From the merchant selling clothes on the streets in India, to the motel owners on US highways to most of India’s largest corporations, you will find Gujaratis everywhere.

Not only do Gujaratis work hard, but we are avid travellers as well. Look in any corner of the globe, and you will find an Indian and chances are he or she is Gujarati. Gujaratis hail from the state of Gujarat in India but you can find them everywhere. And they’re usually working. They are the diamond merchants in Antwerp and Surat to the stockmarket traders on Dalal Street, you simply cannot miss one.

Enterprising and hardworking:  Diamond merchants in Surat

When you think of Gujaratis, you also think of the language itself. Funny sounding Gujarati phrases and words like ‘Kem cho? Majama?’ and ‘Baka’ are beloved yet mocked by all. The Gujarati language, much like Gujarati people, originates from the state of Gujarat, the Westernmost state in India. Here, they flock cities like Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Rajkot and Surat. However, Gujaratis have also made Maharashtra their home, with Mumbai in particular being a ‘Gujju’ hotspot. Other favourite places that are surprisingly popular with the Gujarati community are Pakistan, Sri Lanka, The United States, Belgium, Canada, The Middle East and a lot of East and South African countries!

No matter who you are, you may have heard of a few famous Gujaratis. Let me list them out for you:

Mahatma Gandhi
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Narendra Modi
Morarji Desai
Vikram Sarabhai
Mukesh Ambani

The list can go on and on. As you might be able to tell, most of these people are either businessmen or politicians – something Gujarati people are known for. However, now Gujaratis are making strides in other areas of life. Most recently, Gujarati actor Pratik Gandhi made a splash by acting in Scam 1991. Gujaratis are also talented dancers, for the infamous art of Garba or ‘Garbo’ would not exist if not for them!

Garba and dandiya-raas are famous Gujarati dances, practised by Gujaratis and Indians all over the world. In fact, universities in the United States now have dandiya-raas competitions. The festivities are accompanied by the one aspect of Gujju-ness that trumps everything else in this article – the food!

Let’s talk about Gujarati food. Dhokla, khakra, khamand – If you’re an Indian or you live in India, you’ve heard of it! Non-Gujaratis joke that all Gujarati food has sugar mixed in it because it is so sweet! I’m guessing this is true because I can’t cook!

Dhokla of course!

Being a Gujarati born and raised in Gujarat myself, I can personally vouch that these stereotypes are funny but very true. Gujaratis today are unique, eccentric and very proud of who they are – they wouldn’t have it any other way!

Pratik Gandhi
Pratik Gandhi

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