Gujarat History

Gujarat gets its name from "Gujjar Rashtra", the land of the Gujjars, a migrant tribe who came to India in the wake of the invading Huns in the 5th century.

Gujarat has a long historical and cultural tradition dating back to the days of Harappan Civilization established by relics found at Lothal. According to the Hindu epics, Lord Krishna and his elder brother Balarama, evacuated Mathura and established themselves at Kushasthali, now known as Dwarka and started what is known as the Yadava dynasty. Dwarka subsequently became one of the four seats (mathas) set up by Adi Shankaracharya.

The history of human culture prior to that period begins with the Stone Age. The references of Gujarat and Saurashtra are found in the Mahabharat, 'Arthashastra' of Chanakya, Deval Smriti and Buddha stories written during the 1st century A.D. Clear references to Saurashtra in the stone inscriptions at Girnar, of Maha Kshatrap Rudradama of 15O A.D, of the remains and reminiscences of the people living at Rozdi (Shrinathgadh) near Gondal in Saurashtra of 1850 B.C. and different strata of cultural life found at various places prove that the culture of Gujarat is not less than 4,000 years old.

The state saw various kingdoms like Mauryas, Guptas, Pratiharas etc, but it was under the regime of Chalukyas (Solanki) Gujarat witnesses progress and prosperity. Inspite of the plundering of Mahmud of Ghazni, the Chalukyan kings were able to maintain general prosperity and well being of the state. The Parsees when they fled from Iran in the eighth century first landed at Sanjan on the shores of Gujarat with the holy flame, which still burns in Udwada in Valsad. The Muslim influence left its lasting imprints on the local art and architecture and it came to be known as the Indo-Saracenic style. Later Gujarat suffered Muslim Incursions from Mahmud of Ghazni and subsequent Mughal rulers and it also served as a battlefield between the Mughals and the marathas. The first British commercial outpost was established at Surat. Saurashtra survived from the British India in the form of 200 Princely States. Gujarat was a part of the erstwhile Mumbai state during the British Rule. But in 1960, the 'Gujarati' population decided to secede from that union, which resulted in the formation of two new states, namely Gujarat and Maharashtra. The new State of Gujarat came into existence on May 01, 1960 because of this bifurcation.

Gujarat is the birthplace of many who played an important role in shaping modern India. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation is closely associated with Gujarat, this being his birthplace. Other Prominents include Shri Dadabhoy Nauroji, the grand old man of the freedom struggle and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the architect of a united India. These men carried the torch of national freedom and integration infusing the qualities of tolerance, brotherhood, non-violence and patriotism amongst Indians.


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