Gandhi made Gujarat politically conscious
Although Gandhi made Gujarat politically conscious, it was
some years before Gujarat became a political entity. In 1960 it became at
separate state the Maha Gujarat movement whose foremost leader was Indulal
Yagnik. So, too, Gjarat’s intelligentsia became aware of its cultural entity
Tagore, Santiniketan ad Bengali literature, art music and Sri Aurobindo and Pondicherry Ashram.
It is to a now virtually forgotten Gujatati literary
luminary, Ranjitram Vavabhai, that Gujarat owes its consciousness of its
cultural unity. Later, Munshi sought in the twenties and thirties to revive
Gujarat’s pride in its cultural heritage. Cultural influences in Gujarat’s life
have been many and diverse: Vaishnavism and Jainsim: Brahmo Samaj and the
social reform movement of Maharasthra; English literature and Western
philosophy, Gandhi and his associates in early days, especially in the Gujarat
Vidyapith, such as Kaka Kalekar, a Maharashtrian who is in the front rank of
Gujarat’s intellectuals and men of letters; Tagore, Santiniketan ad Bengali
literature, art music and Sri Aurobindo and Pondicherry Ashram.
A true Vaishnav was a favorite of Gandhi and it is the one Gujarat hymn which has come to be known all over India.
Speaking, first, of Gujarati literature, the earliest
Gujarati writers were Jain Sadhus. But the first Gujarati poet was Narsinh
Mehta, the saint-poet –devotee. His bhajan (devotional song) about the
characteristic virtues of a true Vaishnav was a favorite of Gandhi and it is
the one Gujarat hymn which has come to be known all over India.