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Kaushaliya, Raweena and Palu share their memories of Gujarat
My home state is known for a famous personality, perhaps the best-known Indian in the world, Mahatma Gandhi. He is the Father of the Nation and his birthday is commemorated as a national holiday in India.
Gandhiji attempted to practise nonviolence and truth in all situations. He lived modestly and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl. He ate simple vegetarian food and also undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and social protest.
In today’s age it is difficult to follow all the principles that Gandhiji preached. However, when we are seeing so much violence around us on a daily basis, perhaps his life’s message could be heeded once again: if we follow the path of non-violence, then this world will become a better place to live in, with peace for everyone.
Kaushaliya Vaghela Risk and Compliance Manager (Melbourne)
Gujarat might be known as the ‘dry state’, but there is nothing sukha (dry) about its cultural vibrancy, food or traditions.
We celebrate festivals with colour and gaiety. Whether Navratri or Makar Sankranti, our festivals are long-drawn and fun-filled: we celebrate life itself!
I dearly miss the seasonal delights – and there are many in our wonderful vegetarian cuisine, such as the golden bhutas in the rainy season or those garam garam bhajiyas, golas during summer nights, or kesar milk during the winter months.
Traditions aside, modern Gujarat has had much to offer the nation. First of course, Mahatma Gandhi and a whole new philosophy. Then, ‘Vibrant Gujarat’, a model for development that the rest of India hopes to emulate.
Raweena Rawal Quality and training coordinator (Brisbane)
My Gujarat is not only about the dhoklas and the garbas but about the Gujarati people themselves. Memories of my home state involve nostalgia about the hospitality of the people and their ability to welcome a stranger into their homes with a friendly smile and a ready plate of Gujarati snacks. I’m also proud of the “clean” and peaceful commercial approach employed by this community of dexterous entrepreneurs. Peace is, in fact, an elemental component of Gujarat. It is interesting that the common Gujarati name “Ranchhod” essentially means ‘one who turns away from war’. Comparing this to the name “Ranjit” (one who wins in a war) – a common name in other states – defines the essential Gujarati: one who would negotiate rather than fight!
Palu Malaowalla Medical Practitioner (Sydney)