Kutch, Cutch, Kachch

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Customs, festivals

Kutch, Bhuj, Jakhau: Europeans are revered

Liberating 'gora' gods of rural Kutch by Tridiv Vaidya, The Times of India, 10 Sep 2006

BHUJ: At a time when the heat of racial profiling is sinking Indians in US and Europe, a tiny village in Kutch plans to mark 1,300 years of freedom from a 'tyrant king' by worshipping 72 'gora' idols.

On Sunday, thousands of villagers will gather for the annual fair at Mota Jakh village in Nakhatrana taluka, 34 km from here.

The highlight of the fair are the idols of the Europeans, who sailed to Jakhau port in the 8th century, saw the plight of locals and fought against their king to liberate them.

Legend has it that king Rao Punro had made life miserable for people of the local Sanghar community.

One day, 72 Europeans — referred to in local folklore as Jakh — landed on the Kutch shore and set up camp on Kakadbhit hill near the present Bhuj-Nakhatrana highway. Soon they waged a war against the king and finally killed him.

While sociologists say its a rare instance of 'foreigners' being revered as gods in India, Ambalal Patidar of Sayra village says his faith does not diminish because they aren't Hindu deities... "These goras saved our forefathers once. We are indebted and owe our existence to them," says Patidar, who bought new clothes to attend the fair.

At Mota Jakh, there was excitement on Saturday evening as people began pouring in. "It is a big occasion for us, this thanksgiving of sorts," says 59-year-old Valji Sanghar.

Three temples were constructed at Mota Jakh, where the main fair is held, at Madhapar and Bidada village in Mandvi taluka, these gods are depicted as rising horses there.

Mota Jakh sarpanch Dhiru Patel said: "We have all grown up on legends of the heroic deeds of these gods, whom we call Jakhs as they landed at Jakhau port."


Gujarati Kenyans used to park money in Kutchi banks

Bharat Yagnik and Niyati Parikh, Why Kenya’s Gujaratis are all ‘cashing out’ of Kutch, September 8, 2018: The Times of India


Money parked in banks of Kutch by wealthy non-resident Gujaratis (NRGs), mostly from Kenya, is flying back to the African country. Hundreds of crores have been withdrawn over the past few months to avoid penalty or tax on their incomes stashed outside Kenya.

About Rs 430 crore in NRG deposits were withdrawn between April and June 2018 alone. As a result, NRG deposits in banks across Kutch have fallen to Rs 11,872 crore in the quarter ended June 2018 from Rs 12,302 crore in the preceding quarter, reveals data compiled by State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC), Gujarat.

But bank officials and tax experts believe a staggering Rs 1,000 crore in NRG deposits have been withdrawn from Kutch banks since December 2017. Most withdrawals have been recorded in villages of Bhuj and Mandvi talukas of Kutch, the native region of large numbers of Gujaratis settled in Africa.

Under the Kenyan government’s tax amnesty scheme, taxpayers in Kenya are required to repatriate their foreign-held assets and declare foreign-earned income. Such incomes brought into Kenya after the deadline will attract penalty or taxes.

“The deadline was June 30, 2018, now extended to December 31, 2018,” said Sanjay Sinha, lead district manager, Kutch, SLBC Gujarat.

“The penalty is 10% of the declared income if taxpayers in Kenya fail to disclose and deposit their foreign income and assets within deadline,” said Narendra Raval, a Kenya-based industrialist.

Several businessmen from Kutch who have migrated to African countries over a generation or two continue to deposit their income in Kutch banks, said Ramjibhai Patel, a member of the Leuva Patel community in Kutch.

Kutch district is popular for placing large amounts of NRI deposits in small but rich villages. Baladia, Madhapar, and Kaira villages have NRG deposits of over Rs 1,000 crore. Nanpura, Sukhpar, Samatra, Kodaki, Bharasar, Rampar-Vekara, and Mankuva have deposits in the range of Rs 100 crore to Rs 500 crore.

Taxpayers in Kenya are required to repatriate their foreign-held assets and declare foreign-earned income. Such incomes brought into Kenya after the December 31 deadline will attract penalty or taxes

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