Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

This chapter looks more closely at the constellation of forces that have produced, and are producing, the present situation in Gujarat. The languages of the periphery - Kathiawadi in Saurashtra, and Kacchi - are close enough to Gujarati to be considered ‘dialects’, but different enough for some to see them as separate, regional languages. Throughout the middle ages, and, effectively, until their incorporation into the modern state of Gujarat in 1961, the regions retained a ‘feudal’ structure, where merchants were at the mercy of the princes. Until independence, mainland Gujarat was seen as one of the most highly developed regions of India, with a flourishing industry and a strong agricultural sector which had long been well integrated into the market economy. To contemporary observers, Gujarat is associated with the politics of regional and religious identity. As in the case of regional identity, Gujarat’s politics of religious identity construction is also ongoing, and often reveals fragile foundations.

Original publication





Book title

Routledge Handbook of Contemporary India

Publication Date



271 - 282