The migration of practice of trade of gujraties can be tracked back almost to the age of harappan civilization (according to the pots excavated at Lothal) their migration to Bihar began about hundred years back. They were attracted due to rich mineral resources, coalfields and bidi patta business. Another major attraction for them in the earlier part of this century was the railway contract work as the Chhotanagpur plateau was still underdeveloped. The industrial town of Jamshedpur after the establishment of TISCO was lucrative avenues for them. Apart from the contract work another field in which they outshine is jewellary business. They own almost all the major jewellery shops of Jamshedpur. Their entrepreneurial ability is evident from their success in trading motor parts and vehicle like the Mithila Motors Pvt. Ltd, Fairdeal Automobiles, PEBCO motor Ltd. to mention just a few. Parikhs, Kamanis, Tonks, Thakkars and Thankeys of Jamshedpur are all the business power to be reckoned with. The prominent women entrepreneur who made rapid strides in the field of business are Ms. Devi Ben, Mrs. Darshana Tong, Mrs. Roop Rani, Mrs. Smitha Parikh, Mrs. Kusum Ben Kamani and others. So it is mainly for business that majority of Gujraties settled in Jamshedpur.
The life style of gujratis in Jamshedpur depends on their origin. Gujarat although can be geographically divided into three regions – KUTCH, SAURASHTRA and KANTHIAWAR. Each region has own distinct feature from the rest and this difference are palpable among the Gujratis here as well. Since Kutch is next to Sindh it is exemplified by Sindhi culture in their food habits, dresses and folk songs. Their mirror work and Sindhi embroidery called “KUTCHI BHARAT” is a hallmark of their culture.
The beauty of a Gujrati song is elevated by DOHA in which the singer highlights the theme of the song and their tune are nearly similar and most of the songs start with a Doha.
The most interesting features of the song and dance like Garba and Dance is that everybody can participate in them irrespective of age, sex, religion or income.
Every festive occasion including marriage is an occasion to dance and sing but the festival of Navratri or Durga Pooja perhaps the most important celebration from the EKAM to DASHMI, i.e., from the first day of the pooja to the tenth or Vijaya Dashami day.
Diwali is the most important festival for this community as a goddess Laxmi, the goddess off the wealth is worshipped. This day is also known for CHOPRA POOJAN when old account books are cleared of and new ones start from the first day of the Kartik in the New Year.
As they are peace loving and close-knit community, they have established their sammelans and the samaj known as the GUJRATI SANATHAN SAMAJ, which was inaugrated, by Late Mr. S.K.Nanavati on 15th August 1967.
The Samaj organizes social culture and religious functions also, the striking features of the samaj is that it is open for all other communities. It also organizes cultural programmes, marriages and other celebrations. A function was organized in 1968 by Dorga Maharaj (author of Bhagwat Purayann), which is memorable. All four pits Shankaracharya have visited the samaj.
Besides Sanathan Samaj there is a joint Samaj run by the Jain community of Kamani and Babu Bhai Gandhi family, one Jalaram Satsang Mandal branch (the origin at Swarashtra Virpur near Rajkot). Here in Jamshedpur they provide free food to the poor twice a week, “Netradaan Yojna”, a free medical service without any distinction of cast and creed is given by the samaj.
Gujrati bhagini Mandal formed by Women folk to uplift the poor by providing then free education and medicines. Mrs. Vasu Ben Parikh founded this mandal 30 years back. Mrs. Beena Parikh contributed to the upliftment of the poor by running Sri Gopal Krishna Seva Trust & Kamla Ben Parikh Charitable Trust.
There are Gujrati schools like Narbheram Hansraj School, Surti Gujrati School at Sakchi and Bistupur area. D.N.Kamani school which are run by Gujrati people under separate committees.
Thus, this community is more or less liberal compared to any others in Jamshedpur. Although the old generations are still conservative, religious and follow their traditional ways but the new generation breaks the barrier and goes for inter-cast or inter-religious marriages. On the whole it can be said that they go out of their way to help others or the new comers, as they know the trouble that an outsider goes through.
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