Gujarati is an Indic language that is native to the Gujarat state in India and spoken by the Gujarati people. Gujarati was the world’s twenty-sixth most widely spoken language in 2007. It is about 700 years old and spoken by over 60 million people in the world. The Gujaratis are the considered to be among the greatest business entrepreneurs, industrialists, and merchants who played a crucial role in the introduction of Swaraj doctrine in British-ruled India.
Countries with Significant Gujarati Populations
Gujarati is the ninth most widely used language in India that is spoken by over 55,492,554 people in India alone. Gujarati has official status in Daman and Diu, Gujarat state, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. It is recognized as one of the minority languages in Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. The Gujarati-speaking people also form a significant percentage of the residents of Mumbai, Bangalore, Madras, Calcutta, and Delhi among others. The Gujaratis have been at the forefront of emigration in the world. Many Gujaratis have migrated to countries that were previously colonized by the British, including East Africa, New Zealand, and Fiji among others.
Pakistan is home to over 3 million Gujarati Muslims who have been in Sindh province for generations. A huge percentage of them migrated to Pakistan after India was partitioned in 1947. Most Pakistani Gujaratis belong to the Muslim Kutchi, Charotah Sunni Vohra, Chundrigar, Dawoodi Bohra, Khoja, and Ismāʿīlī groups. Other Gujaratis belong to the small Pakistani Hindu community. Some of the most famous Pakistani Gujaratis include Chundrigar Ismail (the sixth Pakistani Prime Minister) and the father of Pakistan (Muhammed Jinnah).
The Gujaratis were among the first Indians to get involved with the British when the East India Company established a factory in Surat city in 1615. The fourth largest population of Gujarati speakers in the world is in the United Kingdom. The Gujaratis form over 50% of the Indian population living in the UK. The first Gujarati speakers visited Britain during the nineteenth century after the creation of the British Raj. A considerable percentage of the Gujaratis reside in Wembley, Harrow, Brent, and Leicester. The Gujaratis revolutionalized corner-shops while energizing the economy of the United Kingdom.
The United States has one of the highest Gujarati population in the world with most of them living in the New York City Metropolitan Region. The Gujaratis started migrating to the United States in 1965 after the Hart-Celler Act was passed. The initial Gujarati immigrants were highly educated professionals. Given their propensity for opening businesses, most of them opened motels and shops in the US and currently, they control over 40% of the US hospitality industry.
According to William Tisdall, a British philologist and historian, there are three main varieties of the Gujarati language; a Muslim dialect, Parsi dialect, and Hindu dialect. However, this Indic language has undergone reclassification with respect to the regional difference in phrasing and vocabularies. Standard Gujarati is a standardized form of Gujarati that is used in various parts of Maharashtra. Some of the main variants of Gujarati include Gamadia, Kathiawari, Kutchi, Memoni, and Lisan ud-Dawat.