Gujarat And The Gujaratis
This book is more interesting than a novel and more lovely than a poem. In fact it combines the qualities of both which make it a book of lasting interest. It will not be an exaggeration to say that it is a social epic giving most faithful and acurate protraits of the different facets of life of Gujarat and the Gujaratis of nearly hundred years back. The book is of special interest to Indians in general and Gujaratis in particular as it is bound to kindle their curiosity to know what sort of life their forefathers lived nearly a century ago. It is so because in all cultures and in all countries there is a spontaneous respect for the old and an urge to hold them in veneration. We should however not forget that Gujarat, the Bengal, has been the cradle of great men of India. It has given to the nation leaders and social reformers of the stature of Swami Dayanand and Mahatma Gandhi who changed the course of history. Written in a lucid style and in a language of matchless simplicity, the author has left for posterity a gripping narrative of the busy and bustling life of the people belonging to various social strata and to all castes, creeds and communities living in different cities of Gujarat. The frailties and frivolities, the weak and strong points of the rich and the poor, the high and the low of the Gujarat that existed a century back have been painted on a canvas as large as life. Particularly poignant is the meteoric rise and decay of Surat which was once commercial metropolis of Western India but was gradually eclipsed by the phenomenal growth and glamour of young Bombay. Starting from Surat, the author travels toBroach, thence to Baroda (place of his birth), Billimoria, Nariad and finally to Ahmedabad, the giant commercial and political metropolis of present day Gujarat. He has also described the then social milieu of Gujarat cities in its multifarious hues. It covers the whole gamut of customs, manners, modes of socialand religious life led by various sects and castes of the Hindus, the Mohammedans, the Parsis, the Boras (Vohras) and their spiritual heads. There are highly entertaining anecdotes about the Marwaris, the village Hajaams, the Vakils (Pleaders), the Maharaj?s, the Maulivs, and Dasturs (priests and Parsis) and the Mohlas (Priests of Boras). There is interesting description of every social subject of interes ? even the Ramayana and the festivities of ?uholy? Holy, the festival of colours.in fact nothing has escaped the uncanny eyes and the powerful pen of the author and the interest at no stage flags. Such a remarkable book must be the delight of all homes and all people.
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