Gujarat lies at the confluence of communities, commerce, and cultures. As the modern Indian state of Gujarat marks its fiftieth year in 2010, this book charts its coalescence into a distinct political and linguistic unit roughly five hundred years ago. From the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, Gujarat's cosmopolitan coastline and productive hinterland were held together in a contested unity which nurtured the political integration of the region's pastoralists, peasants, soldiers and artisans, and the evolution of the Gujarati language. Forging a Region explores the creation of Gujarat's unified identity, culminating under a lineage of sultans who united eastern Gujarat and Saurashtra by military action and economic pragmatism in the fifteenth century. Delineating the evolution of the Gujarati political order alongside networks of trade and religion, Samira Sheikh examines how Gujarat's renowned entrepreneurial ethos and dominant discourses on pacifism, vegetarianism, and austerity coexisted, then as now, with a martial pastoralist order. She argues that the religious diversity of medieval Gujarat facilitated economic and political cooperation leading to its cosmopolitan ethos. Sifting through Persian, medieval Gujarati, and Sanskrit sources, Sheikh addresses the long-term history of communities and politics in Gujarat to provide an understanding of the past and present of the region.