Kathiawar (Gujarati: કાઠીયાવાડ [kaʈʰijaʋaɽ]; also written Kathiawad or Kattywar) is a peninsula in western India and part of the Saurashtra region. Its coastline borders the Gulf of Kutch to the west, the Arabian Sea to the south and the Gulf of Khambhat to the southeast and east. Jigat Point is located at its western apex and Diu Head at its southern.
Etymology and history
The peninsula derives its name from the prominence of the Kathi darbar community, which was widespread in the region and dominated central Saurashtra in particular for some centuries. Although the Kathis are believed to have migrated to the area as late as the 16th century, they have played an important part in the documented history of the region. During the reign of India Pratihar ruler Mihir Bhoj, the Gurjar empire stetched from Kathiawad to the Bay of Bengal. A Haddola inscription confirms that Gurjar Pratihars continued to rule in this region during the reign of Mahipala I too. The peninsula is dotted with antiquities and has a continuous history from prehistoric times to the early periods of the Mahabharata through the Indus civilisation. It was influenced by Kathi people in particular between the 16th century to the mid 20th century and therefore the emergent name of Kathiawar became a favourite alternative to the region of Saurashtra.
In a geopolitical context, the area of Kathiawar forms the core of Saurashtra. In feudal times, there were certain principle divisions of Saurashtra falling under princely states, namely Kathiawad, Sorath, Gohilwad, Halar, Panchal & Zalawad, Nagher, Okha Mandal, etc. However, the main area of Kathiawar covered 10 districts as Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Porbandar, Amreli, Junagadh, Botad, Morvi, Gir-somnath. Some historians suggest that the Kathi people are basically Scythians who migrated to Saurashtra (referred to as Saraostus as well, by contemporary Greeks) around the second century BC.
For a long period, the name Sorath remained limited to the region when the Chudasama Rajput (Raa' dynasty) ruled from 875 to 1473. Concurrently, major Rajput clans that held a sway over this region included the Walas ( Kathis ), Jethwas, Raijadas, Chudasamas, Gohils, Parmars, Jhalas, Jadejas, Chavdas, Solankis, Patgirs or Pargirs, Upadhyayas, Sarvaiyas, Savjis. Most of the princely states of Kathiawar were brought under the British protectorate by 1820, but from Kathiawad first traty with the British was made by Vira Wala (Kathi Ruler) of Jetpur with Colonel Walker at Baroda on 26 October 1803.
Before Indian independence in 1947, most of Kathiawar was divided into numerous princely states, ruled by local potentates who acknowledged British suzerainty in return for local sovereignty. These states comprised the Kathiawar Agency. The rest of the peninsula, chiefly in the east along the Gulf of Cambay, were districts ruled directly by the British as part of British India's Bombay Presidency, which included part of the peninsula.
After Indian independence, the states of Kathiawar acceded to India. In 1947, Junagadh's Muslim ruler desired to accede his territory to Pakistan, but the predominantly Hindu population rebelled, and while the prince fled to Pakistan, a plebiscite was conducted, as a result of which the kingdom was merged into the Indian Union. The former princely states of Kathiawar were grouped into the new province of Saurashtra, which became a state in 1950. In 1956, Saurashtra was merged into Bombay State, and in 1960, Bombay state was divided along linguistic lines into the new states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Diu remained in Portuguese hands until 1961, when it was occupied by Indian troops, then became integrated into India as part of the union territory of Goa, Daman and Diu in 1962.
The major cities of Kathiawar are Rajkot in the center of the peninsula, Jamnagar on the Gulf of Kutch, Bhavnagar on the Gulf of Khambhat, Surendranagar and the historic city Wadhwan in the central portion of Gujarat, Porbandar on the west coast, historic city of Junagadh on the South. Diu, an island town formerly part of Portuguese India and now part of the Indian union territory of Daman and Diu, lies off the south coast of Kathiawar. The city of Somnath and its famous temple are also located on the south coast.
Districts in Kathiawar Region
- Devbhoomi Dwarka
- Gir Somnath
Geography and ecosystem
The natural vegetation on most of the peninsula is xeric scrub, part of the Northwestern thorn scrub forests ecoregion. A range of low hills, known as the Gir Hills, occupies the south-central portion of the peninsula. The highest of these is Girnar. The hills are home to an enclave of tropical dry broadleaf forest, part of the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion. Gir National Park, which includes the forested hills around Girnar, is home to the last remaining Asiatic lions left in the wild. Other national parks on Kathiawar are Blackbuck National Park (Velavadar) on the Gulf of Cambay and Marine National Park, on the Gulf of Kutch near Jamnagar.
Antiquity (places: history, archaeology, nature, religion)
- Sasan Gir and interiors / Kathi territories in Amreli-Bhavnagar districts
- Shatrunjay Hills, Palitana
- jetpur and Gondal
- Jamnagar & Marine National Park
- Old cities of Wadhvan, Morbi, Wankaner
- Diu, India
Kathiawar or Saurashtra hosts a large number of communities, castes and settlements in the region, though the Kathis after whom the name of Kathiawar became popular is a distinct group.The Kathi states like Bilkha,Jetpur,Jasdan ,Thanadevli-Amarnagar, Hadala ,Chuda,Vadia etc. Often in everyday conversation, a person from Kathiawar is called a "Kathiawadi".
Notable characters and figures
The list of some divine, notable figures, characters and events related to Kathiawar-Saurashtra can be very exhaustive. Covering different sections, fields and class of society, a few of them are as following:
Religion, pre-history, spirituality
- Sudama – Krishna's friend and a character from Mahabharata
- Baba Balak Nath – One of the legendary Naths and Chaurasi Siddhas
- Neminath – One of the Siddhas and 22nd Jain Tirthankar
- Narsinh Mehta – Poet and Saint
- Dayanand Saraswati – Hindu religious scholar, reformer, and founder of the Arya Samaj
- Jalaram Bapa – A mystic and Saint
- Shrimad Rajchandra – A prominent Jain philosopher
- Morari Bapu – Preacher, teacher, Thinker
- Ramesh Bhai Ojha (Hindi: रमेश भाई ओझा) Hindu spiritual leader and preacher of Vedanta Philosophy.
- Bapa Bajarangdasji Mastram bapu- Saints and religious authorities of Bhavnagar District.
- Ghanshyam Pande religious preacher and reformer saint also known as Swaminarayan.
- Ranchhoddasji Mahraj religious saint and philanthropist
- Sant Devidaasji- Amar maan Sardul pir (Sardul Khuman of Bhesan) worshippers of poors and dedicated saints to help Lepers(sufferers of leprocy]
- Gangasati - Paanbai & Kahadsinhji Gohil mystic saints near samadhiyala.
- aapa Giga appa Daana, aapa Ratta rare saints & sataadhar Chalala- mahants
- Mohakmuddin Sairani Dhoraji Sufi saint.
- Jamiyalshah Dataar Sufi saint of Junagadh.
- Mangarolisha Peer Sufi saint of Mangrol.
- Kanji Swami Jain Scholar & Saint of Songadh, Also known as Kohinoor of Kathiawad.
Society, ideology, politics, leadership
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India, and Father of Nation
- Muhammad Ali Jinnah – lawyer, politician, statesman and the founder of Pakistan and Pakistani 'Father of the Nation'
- U. N. Dhebar – Freedom Fighter (Indian independence), and President of the Indian National Congress
- Virchand Gandhi – First Gujarati Patriot from Mahuva to visit USA officially and Participate in First World Religion Parliament, 1893. (key Member of Indian National Congress)
- Fatima Jinnah – Mother of Pakistani Nation ('Māder-e Millat')
Governance, nobility, reforms, politics
- Maharaja Sir Takhtsinhji Gohil of Bhavnagar – Reformist and progressive ruler, also constructed Bhavnagar State Railway covering Saurashtra
- Maharaja Bhagvatsinhji of Gondal – A progressive and enlightened ruler, wrote classical and rare 'Bhagavadgomandal', dictionary cum encyclopaedia of Saurashtra – Gujarat and Gujarati language
- Maharaja Krishnakumar Sinjhji Gohil – Reformist, progressive and noble Maharaja of Bhavnagar
- Balwantrai Mehta – Freedom fighter, social worker and pioneer of concept of Panchayati Raj
- Jivraj Mehta – Politician, first Chief Minister of Gujarat
- Sir Pattni talented administrator of Bhavnagar.
Art, literature, poetry, journalism, socialism
- Jhaverchand Meghani – Litterateur, social reformer and freedom fighter
- Kalaguru Ravishankar Raval- a painter, art teacher, art critic, journalist and essayist
- Dalpatram – Poet of Gujarati literature
- Nanalal Dalpatram Kavi – Author and poet
- Sursinhji Takthasinhji Gohil – Known as Kalapi – Poet, Gujarati literature – Royal family
- Dula Bhaya Kag – Poet, social reformer and freedom fighter
- Amrut Ghayal – Poet and Shayar of Gujarati Ghazal
- Kavi Kant – Poet
- Harilal Upadhyay – Author in the Gujarati language
- Chunilal Madia – Author, playwright, poet, journalist, editor
- Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh – Painter, writer, art critic
- Rajendra Shukla – Poet
- Ramesh Parekh-poet
- K. S. Ranjitsinhji – Maharaja of Nawanagar, cricketer
- Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji – Indian Cricketer, Princely States
- Vinoo Mankad – Indian Cricketer
- Ashok Mankad – Indian Cricketer
- Dilip Doshi – Indian Cricketer
- Karsan Ghavri – Indian Cricketer
- Ashok Patel – Indian Cricketer
- Dhiraj Parsana – Indian Cricketer
- Ajay Jadeja – Indian Cricketer
- Parthiv Patel – Indian Cricketer
- Ravindra Jadeja – Indian Cricketer
- Siddharth Trivedi – Indian Cricketer
- Cheteshwar Pujara – Indian Cricketer
- Hanif Mohammad – Pakistani Cricketer
- Sadiq Mohammad – Pakistani Cricketer
- Mushtaq Mohammad – Pakistani Cricketer, Pakistani Captain
- Wazir Mohammad – Pakistani Cricketer
Cinema, entertainment, music, folklore
- Mohammed Chhel – A magician and a Fakir (mystic)
- Vijay Bhatt – a noted producer-director-screenwriter
- Nanabhai Bhatt – Indian film director and producer – father of Mahesh Bhatt & Mukesh Bhatt
- Dina Pathak – Veteran actor, director of Gujarati theatre, woman activist
- Asha Parekh – Actress, director, and producer
- Shahabuddin Rathod – Humorist, writer, teacher
- Parveen Babi – Bollywood actress
- Dimple Kapadia – Bollywood actress
- Manhar Udhas – One of the top Ghazalkars
- Pankaj Udhas – Indian singer, Ghazal Singer
- Mehul Kumar – Director, producer
- K. Lal – Indian Magician
- Alka Yagnik – Singer
- Ben Kingsley – Actor (ancestral roots in Saurashtra)
- Hemant Chauhan – Singer, Bhajanik
- Neeraj Vora – Film director, dialogue writer, actor
- Himesh Reshammiya – Music Composer, Singer, artist
- Dilip Joshi-Cinema and television actor(Lead role as Jethalal Gada In Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma)
Business, industry, innovation, entrepreneurship, philanthropy
- Nanji Kalidas Mehta – Industrialist and Philanthropist
- Muljibhai Madhvani – Businessman, entrepreneur, industrialist and philanthropist
- Nautamlal Bhagavanji Mehta – Freedom fighter, businessman
- Dhirubhai Ambani – An Indian business magnate and entrepreneur who founded Reliance Industries
- Abdul Gaffar Billoo – Pakistani pediatric endocrinologist and philanthropist.
- Sam Pitroda – Inventor, entrepreneur and policymaker
- Tulsi Tanti – Chairman and managing director of Suzlon Energy
- Abdul Sattar Edhi father teresa of Pakistan, Edhi Foundation-helping poor n needy in medical helps there.
- Sir Bhagawatsinh Jadeja Gondal King educator, architect learned king of Saurashtra who introduced Railway.
History, culture, bravery, events
- Prince Vijaya – Exiled Prince of Sihor colonising Sri Lanka
- Ra Navghan – Historical Character of Greatness during Solanki period
- Kadu Makrani – An Archetypal, and insurgent Indian rebellion of 1857
- Banda Bahadur one of the punj pyare of Sikh religion, was born in Dwarka, brave warrior.
- Kalwa Mehr Junagadh fighter self-esteem holder.
- Jogidas Khumaan royal baharwattiya, Ned Kelly of SawaR Kundla.King of Khumans.
- Mulu Manek, Jodha Manek freedom fighters during 1857 nereby for independence from British.
- Chhelshankar Bhatt Lion of Saurashtra-subdued many freebooters/dacoits as Police chief.
- Dwaraka Kingdom
- Saurashtra Kingdom
- Indus Valley Civilization
- Maurya Empire
- Saurashtra State
- Saurashtra language
- State Bank of Saurashtra
- Kathiawar Agency
- Memons (Kathiawar)
- Ranji Trophy
- Bhavnagar State Railway
- Kathiawari Horse Breed
- Gir Cattle or Gir Gaay
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Kathiawar". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.