Indian PM Narendra Modi, who hails from Gujarat, has catapulted Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat, to a leading Indian city in terms of development and infrastructure.
The innate entrepreneurial instinct of the Gujaratis has ensured that Ahmedabad continues to grow in terms of industry and infrastructure. But Ahmedabad has another side, a neglected one.
The outpost of the Gujarat Sultanate, circa 1411 AD, Ahmedabad was set up by Badshah Ahmed Shah I. It changed hands among the Sultanate, Mughals, Marathas and East India Comany before being taken over by the British Empire post 1857.
Ahmedabad, the city of Gandhiji, was a major centre of the Indian freedom struggle. The development in infrastructure and industry took place subsequently, and today it is among the top 8 cities of India.
Thus, while the city continues to grow by leaps and bounds, Badshah Ahmed Shah lies quietly in his grave , Badshah ni Hajiro, along with his son and grandson. And a short distance away lie his wives, in the graves called Begum ni Hajiro.
The Ahmedabad Old City, listed among UNESCO ‘s heritage cities,holds the above treasures plus the 15th Century Jami Masjid, the Siddi Sayyid Masjid with its famous ” tree of life ” motif, the Bhadra Fort, the Bhadrakali temple and other spots. The Ahmedabad Old City Heritage Walk is worth undertaking.
The Ahmedabadi Muslim community was singed by the riots of 2002, and one feels the scars still remain, for the contrast between Hindu and Muslim areas in terms of development are apparent. There have also been attempts to rename Ahmedabad as Karnavati, in support of the local King Karna’s regime predating Ahmed Shah.
Gujaratis are warm and hospitable people, though they tend to save money on the thrifty side, which is probably the reason for their prosperity. Both the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi (whose Ashram is in Ahmedabad on the banks of the Sabarmati) and the first Home Minister and Iron man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, hailed from Gujarat . Today, Gujarat is a leading industrialized state of India.
Outside the old city, Gandhiji’s Sabarmati Ashram and the Sabarmati Riverfront, one of the best maintained in India, are worth seeing. The Gujarati Thali at the famous outlet Gopi’s is also worth of mention.
Here are some pictures taken during my recent Ahmedabad visit. I enjoyed my stay and hope to go back again.