Gujarat is a state in western India
and the Arabian Sea
with an area of 196,024 km2
(75,685 sq. mi.) and a population of over 50 million. Mahatma Gandhi
was born, lived, and developed much of his philosophy of non-violence
here, and according to tradition, Lord Krishna
(though born in Uttar Pradesh
) lived most of his life and established his kingdom here. The capital is Gandhi Nagar
, but the largest city and former capital is Ahmedabad
with a population of 3.5 million.
Religion is primarily Hindu, with a substantial Muslim and Jain minority. The Gujarati diet is strictly vegetarian for most Hindus. Gujarati is also the dialect spoken in this state.
Unfortunately, Gujarat has been the center of many calamities in recent times. On January 26, 2001, one of the worst earthquakes in India's history struck, killing nearly 20,000, injuring many more and displacing hundreds of thousands. This earthquake was centered in Bhuj and measured 7.6 on the Richter scale. Then beginning in spring of 2002, the Hindu-Muslim riots and violence killed hundreds in in Gujarat and brought life to a standstill in many cities.