Patels: A Guajarati Community History in the United States (2002)


Author: Govind B. Bhakta

Paperback: Out of Print

ISBN-10: 0-934052-39-5

Product Details: 167 pp, 6.5 x 9.5 in

Categories: Demographics; Immigration and Migration; History; Indian; South Asian



Patels: A Gujarati Community History in the United States is designed to provide a comprehensive report on the most significant social, historical, and cultural, and demographic aspects of the Indo-American Patidar of the Surat, Bulsar, and Navsari districts of Gujarat State, India. The book, the first of its kind, documents extensively the immigration and settlement of Indo-American Patels to the United States, focusing on the 1960s to the present. Patels are highly visible on the American urban landscape, especially in motel businesses throughout the nation. This book is an invaluable guide to the Patel contribution to American entrepreneurship, culture, and the professions through the eyes of first and second-generation individuals, households, and community organizations. With photographs, charts, tables, and listings of community organizations in the U.S.



"So little is known about our Indian American Patels- their roots, their settlement in the U.S., their experiences. At the same time, Patels are highly visible on the American urban landscape, especially in the motel business across the nation.


I hope my book, Patels: A Gujarati Community History in the United States, will be welcomed by students, scholars, researchers, journalists, as well as the general American and Indian public, who have become increasingly interested in these Patel groups in the U.S. I am proud to bring this history-never before available in a single volume-to individual Americans and Indians, as well as to organizations and institutions across the U.S. and India. This book will provide Indo-American Patels with a source of pride regarding their identity as a community and their place in American history, in addition to allowing young Asian American Patels to learn more about the background of their ethnic group and to find role models from their community in the U.S.


This book is a product of a seven-and-half-yearlong comprehensive project. The main focus of this book is to let the present and future generation know who we were, who we are, and how we can become a great community. We can begin by first setting straight the facts and figures about our Indian heritage, and then proceeding to analyze where we stand along the barometer of the present.


Particular attention is given to the traditions of the Indo-American kin communities in Surat, Bulsar, and Navsari districts of Gujarat State (India), and to their Indo-American Surti Leauva, Bhakta, Matiya, and Charotaria Leauva (SBMC) Patidar relatives in the U.S. This book will provide an extensive amount of demographic and economic statistics, and the basic information on the SBMC Patels of these three districts.


Overall, this study may be considered as a case study of Patels from Gujarat. Ultimately, all sub-castes of Patels have the same ingredients culturally, socially, and philosophically. Historically, they are from the "Love" or "Kush" generations, or Leauva or Kadava Patidars. With this wealth of information, one may discern the present and future developments of this particular society. Unless and until we explain the good, indifferent, and the terrible parts of our shared past, how can we follow the right path in the future? This is the main intention of the book".

(From the Preface)


Table of Contents


  • Preface: Do You Know a Patel?
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: A note to Patel Youth
  • Section I: Who are the Patels?
    • Chapter 1: Patels and the Gujarati Homeland
    • Chapter 2: Patel Migration Within India
    • Chapter 3: From India to America
  • Section II: How Far Did They Fly?
    • Chapter 4: Settlement, Entrepreneurship and Business
    • Chapter 5: Success Stories
  • Section III: Contemporary Issues in the Patel Community
    • Chapter 6: Socioeconomic Characteristics
    • Chapter 7: Education and Language
    • Chapter 8: Dating and Marriage
    • Chapter 9: The Generation Gap
    • Chapter 10: Other Traditions
  • Glossary
    • Appendix A: Indian/Hindu Temples and Temple Associations in the U.S.
    • Appendix B: Patel (Asian Indians): 100 surnames
    • Appendix C: Bulsar district Facilities and Population, Breakdown by Education and Employment
    • Appendix D: Kurmi Kshatriya Patel Pedigree
    • Appendix F: First-Wave Patels
    • Appendix G: IAPFM U.S. Distribution
    • Appendix H: Survey Questionnaire
  • Bibliography
  • Notes



"Patels: A Gujarati Community History In The United States is a fine introduction to a community very important in both India and America. Details in abundance help establish the social structure, economic role, and cultural history of this enterprising community from India that now contributes to the United States as well."

- Karen Leonard, Professor of Anthropology at UCI and the author of The South Asian Americans


Related Center Press Publications:

Lal, Vinay. The Other Indians: A Political and Cultural History of South Asians in America.