Summary of the Book
"The Anthropological Survey of India launched the People of India project on 2 October 1985 to generate an anthropological profile of all communities of India, the impact on them of change and development process and the links that bring them together.
As part of this all India project, the ethnographic survey of all communities of Gujarat (286) was taken up in collaboration with local scholars. The results of this survey were discussed at the workshop held in Udaipur in August 1987.
The identity of Gujarat, which emerged early in the medieval period derived from the people, the Gurjara and the territory they inhabited of the same name. This territorial identity gradually expanded to encompass southern Gujarat and the presentday space and the Gujarati speaking communities inhabiting it. Gujarat is divided into three eco-cultural zones, each with its own cluster of communities called nyati derived from nata or relationship.
Gujarat has a mix of distinct population groups such as the tribes, minorities, peasants, pastoralists, traders, artisans and craftsmen. It has a sizeable number of the immigrants. Gujarat populations are mostly part of the biological structure of western and north-western India in terms of morphological and genetical traits. Gujarati identity is mainly defined by Gujarati language that evolved and flowered in the later medieval period. As many as 28 languages/dialects are now spoken, but all except two, belong to the Indo-Aryan family of languages.
Gujarat is the meeting ground of the northern and southern systems of kinship. Gujarat identity today is also defined by territory, cuisine, dress, customs and rituals a vibrant folk and artistic tradition including Garba folk dance and kite flying. The outstanding cultural traits include a very high degree of heterogeneity and segmentation among major communities, hypergamous relationships of divisions in such communities and across communities, territorial endogamy (gol), and vegetarianism.
The formations that stand out in Gujarat are the large genetic inter-dinning categories of the Maldhari (pastoralists, thertasili) and so on. There is much larger sharing of cultural traits among communities located within the cultural-linguistic regions and across the state."