Protruding proudly into the Arabian Sea, the shining colors of Gujarat welcome the world as a gateway to India. One of the first seaports in human history can be found here – the Greeks counted it among their maritime sphere. Empires traded, grew in wealth, and expanded influence leveraging Gujarat’s coastal cities. Today, Gujarat enjoys the benefits of heavy industry, shipbuilding, agriculture, and extensive infrastructure. Ancient cities like Dwarka and Junagaadh have a mythical influence and draw pilgrims to this day. A Cato Institute report put Gujarat at the top of India’s economic freedom list. But, while it is the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, India’s most revered sage and champion of respect for the meek, Gujarat struggles to protect some of its most vulnerable people.
· According to a report from Human Rights Watch, police authorities in Gujarat have a record for abusing their authority with little accountability – extrajudicial killings have been documented
· Ethnic and religious tensions have potential to turn violent – last year minorities were assaulted over suspicion of religious offenses
· Mob riots have been a concern in the new millennium
· Low Literacy rates remain an obstacle to empowerment for many
What One Person Can Do...
· Make a contribution to the work of agencies like GujaratNet - they establish community based development programs to address literacy, health, and education gaps
· Discover more about the relevancy of after school programs for needy children in the region
· Pray for personal, communal, and global peace to emanate from the ancient shores of Gujarat
· Celebrate progress – Last year, a special court convicted 24 people for their involvement in mass killings by a mob in a poor minority neighborhood during the 2002 Gujarat riots