Going by 2018 numbers, Gujarat is the 9th most populous state of India, ahead of a divided Andhra; otherwise it would have been 10th. The change in its population in comparison to 2011 was a mere 5.74%, which is amongst the lowest ( in comparison Bihar grew its population by 14.76%) in the country, even lower than the most literate state Kerala that grew its population at 5.76% between 2011 and 2018.
However, this state has produced perhaps more entrepreneurs than any other state in India. Though Punjabis are known for their ability to work hard, Tamilians and Bengalis for their intellect, Marwaris for their business acumen and Marathas for their valour, the fact remains Gujaratis seem to be ahead of the curve as far as entrepreneurship is concerned. While it could be incidental that once in a lifetime celebrity and achiever Dhirubhai Ambani was a Gujarati, it cannot be a sheer coincident that much of the textile sector ( in fact almost all the textile mills of Mumbai) is controlled by Gujarati community. Adani, Laljibhai, Sun Pharma, Nirma, Surat diamond cutting industry and the national icon Amul ( a great outcome of the success of cooperative model ) are not for no reason connected to Gujarat. Even Parsi community that has dominated business in India in spite of very low population count ( Tatas, Wadias, Godrej, Shapoorji, Poonawalla) have in some manner historic connection with Gujarat.
But inspiration for this blog has really come from Modi 2.0. While all the states of India have fair share of their own freedom fighters, national icons, brave hearts and the ones leaving a lasting legacy, Gujarat seems to be ahead of the curve. While the legacy of Sardar Patel is now a matter of hot contention between BJP and Congress, Gandhi, the father of the nation, remains an icon for both the national parties unlike Nehru, who lately seems to have come under lots of fire! Morarji Desai was one of the first rather longish serving and popularly elected PM outside Nehru-Gandhi clan and this tradition now seems to be reversed completely by Modi, who was yesterday sworn in for his second term.
On a dispassionate side, national icons are not the property of any state or an individual. We do not see Netaji as a Bengali, Chhatrapati Shivaji as a Maratha, Bhagat Singh as a Punjabi, Maharana Pratap as a Mewari and C. Rajagopalachari as a Tamilian. They are loved, idolised and adored not only across the country but across the World as well! But Modi 2.0 is definitely a matter that’s bound to raise the question that’s the title of this blog! We hope we continue to admire Gujarat for its entrepreneurship, it’s progressive attitude, it’s garba and dandiya, food, infrastructure and its contribution to the pool of national leadership and that Godhara and riots post Godhara would be just one-off stigmas in its otherwise fine history of valour and amity. We hope it produces more Gandhis, Patels and Modis, depending on how he handles the affairs of this great nation in his 2nd and subsequent terms, should he be asked by the nation to lead again and again! He has acquired cult status, but to be national icon in perpetuity may require something extraordinary that others mentioned this list had achieved!