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29 July 2014
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Gujarati today
The history of Gujarati
Names and writing system

Gujarati today by Viv Edwards

Gujarati is spoken by an estimated 47 million people worldwide.

Some Gujaratis came direct from India to the UK in the 1950s and 1960s; many more arrived via East Africa where they moved at the beginning of the twentieth century to work as farmers and traders. Political discontent in the 1960s - which culminated in the expulsion of the South Asian population from Uganda in 1972 - led many British passport holders to settle in the UK, or Canada.

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Gujaratis form the second largest of the British South Asian speech communities, with important settlements in Leicester and Coventry in the Midlands, in the northern textile towns and in Greater London.

In a survey of London schoolchildren in 2000, Gujarati was the fourth most commonly spoken language in the capital. Gujarati families are found, in particular, in a western zone from Hounslow to Barnet, including both Harrow and Brent, and in a smaller eastern zone which consists of Lewisham and Newham. More recently there has been some movement of Gujarati speakers from larger cities to areas such as Gloucestershire.

Some Gujaratis use Kachchi as the language of the home. However, because Gujarati has greater status in India as the language of state government and education, Kachchi has tended to be considered a dialect of Gujarati, rather than a language in its own right. Gujarati Muslims will also have varying degrees of loyalty to Urdu and Qu'ranic Arabic.

The Gujarati community is served by two weekly publications, Gujarat Samachar and Garavi Gujarat. Radio stations broadcasting some programmes in Gujarati include BBC Asian network, Sunrise Radio in West London, Sabras Radio in Leicester, Asian Sound Radio in Manchester, Me FM in Aberdeen, Radio XL in the West Midlands and Sunrise Radio-Yorkshire.

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Your Comments
What is your experience of Gujarati?

mahek from bolton
There is a sizable Gujarati community in the North West of England, in towns like Bolton, Blackburn, Preston, Manchester etc. Literary groups like the Gujarati Writers Guild,UK, established in 1972, have played an important role in keeping the spoken Gujarati alive through their Mushairas (Poetry Readings)upto now. However Gujarati as a language is slowing on the way out with the younger generation who can speak and understand some Gujarati but cannot read or wtite it. Efforts have been made to keep the younger generation interested in the language but this has not met with the desirable success.

abbi,,west yorkshire
west yorkshire is full of gujerati people. but the weird thing about some one like me is ,i think i only speak the language cos its my mother-tongue.i cannot read nor write it. i also get confused in my words especially the feminine/masculine aspect of it. i stik to ,english mostly.

Miten Parmar
BBC ASIAN NETWORK RADIO Channe 0119 Brimgham Gujarati Programme Start on Today 15th May 2006 - 19Th june 2006 at 7:30pm - 6:00am LIve Studio By DEV Parmar

Shamim Hudson from Ashby de la Zouch
I just wanted to add to the other comments that I am a third generation Gujarati and find the generation after mine speak more English and see English as their first language. My daughter is also an Indian and I have to continue talking to her in Gujarti as she is losing her language skill in Gujarati. When conversing with the younger generation I find they struggle with Gujarati as the first language in the home is English and having lived and still work in Leicester it seems that Gujarati slowly being replaced by English and only being used by the new migrants coming into the country.

Ashish, Leicester
In Leicester, Oadby which is a residential area just south of the city is quite popular among the middle class Gujaratis. Likewise, north of the City, Thurmaston and Syston also has a considerable Guj population. Within the city borders, Latimer, Belgrave, Rusheymead, and increasing Hamilton are very popular residential areas with Gujarati Hindus. Gujarati Muslims are generally, but definitely not exclusively are based Evington and Spinney Hills. Without doubt, the heart of the British Gujarati community is the Belgrave-Melton Road area where there are a lot of authentic Gujarati restaurants and a wide variety of shops. In London, the western outskirts are definitely the most popular, namely Harrow and Wembley part of Brent. Ealing Road in Wembley is London's answer to Belgrave Road.

shenal from london
i would just like to say there is one major radio stationt hat you have failed to mention which is club asia. in northwest london where i live in places like harrow and barnet that is probably the biggest station as well as sunrise radio. thanks

jaymin raval from Brighton
hi, just want to know what are the key settlement areas within London and Leicester wherein Gujarati community has been established itself as a residential and business community. Thanks.





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