Kutch - Kachchh - Kutch Gurjar Kashtriya's Kutch District At 45,692 square kilometres (17,642 sq mi), is the largest district in India. The administrative headquarters is in Bhuj which is geographically in the center of district. Other main towns are Gandhidham, Rapar, Nakhatrana, Anjar, Mandvi, Madhapar, Mundra and Bhachau. Kutch has 969 villages. Kala Dungar (Black Hill) is the highest point in Kutch at 458 metres (1,503 ft). The district is also famous for ecologically important Banni grasslands with their seasonal marshy wetlands which form the outer belt of the Rann of Kutch. Kutch District is surrounded by the Gulf of Kutch and the Arabian Sea in south and west, while northern and eastern parts are surrounded by the Great and Little Rann (seasonal wetlands) of Kutch. When there were not many dams built on its rivers, the Rann of Kutch remained wetlands for a large part of the year. Even today, the region remains wet for a significant part of year. The district had a population of 1,583,500 of which 30% were urban as of 2001. Kutch Gurjar Kashtriya’s Kutch Gurjar Kshatriya also known as Mistri or Mestri are a minority Hindu community of the Kutch district of Gujarat state in India. They are a group of various Kshatriya clans who are an artisan community related with Kadia works. They were known for their artistic and master craftsman skills in constructing forts, temples, palaces, ornate decorations, idols and other buildings and statues that led to them being referred to as Mistri by the Portuguese.This term was later used to refer to them as a separate caste known as the Mistri a.k.a. Mistris of Kutch.
History Kshatriya clans who migrated from Rajasthan in the early 7th century AD. Kadia Kshatriyas first entered into Saurashtra at that time and founded thirty-six villages in the area, while others moved further into Kutch. Around 1177–78 AD (VS 1234), a major group migrated to Kutch from Saurashtra under the leadership of Patel Ganga Maru. They settled in the village of Dhaneti. There are several Parias of the community, located near village pond of Dhaneti, standing as memorials of the war that was fought in 1178 AD. The community members still go once every year to offer pooja and their respects to their fore-fathers. This group, later, made their distinct identity not only by building historical forts, palaces, temples and architects in Kutch but also all over British India primarily in the fields of railways and coal mining. The Kutch Gurjar Kshatriyas left Dhaneti and went on to establish eighteen villages in Kutch which were granted to them by the King: Anjar, Sinugra, Khambhra, Nagalpar, Khedoi, Madhapar, Hajapar, Kukma, Galpadar, Reha, Vidi, Jambudi, Devaliya, Lovaria, Nagor, Meghpar, Chandiya and Kumbharia. Over the centuries, they have been known or identified by names like Mistri, Mistry, Mistris of Kutch, Kutchi Contractor, Kadia, Kadia Kshatriyas, Gurjar Kshatriyas, Kumar Gnati, Kutch Gurjar Kshatiryas, Kutch Gurjar Kshatriya Samaj, KGK Samaj, Kgk community, etc. Some of the Rajput clans belonging to their group have been the rulers of Kutch, beginning with Ajepal Chauhan of the Chauhan dynasty. This was followed by the Solanki, Kathis, Vaghelas, Chawdas and finally the Jadeja dynasty came to rule Kutch until the independence of India. Culture They are a Hindu community. Some are followers of Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism. They are vegetarian in diet and avoid consumption of alcohol. The staple food is khichdi, vegetables, pulses and butter-milk. The community consists of clans: like Rathod, Chauhan, Yadav, Chawda, Jethwa, Padhiar, Yadav, Chudasama, Parmar, Taunk, Solanki, Sawaria, Vegad, Varu, Maru, Bhalsod, etc., who enjoy same status. However, most of people prefer to pre-fix Mistri to their name.
The community are an endogamous community who practice the principle of clan exogamy. Dowry is generally not asked for, neither practice of bride price is there in community. Divorce is generally not encouraged, however, divorce can be claimed in certain cases. Betrothal ceremony generally precedes marriage, which is held usually within one year of engagement and marriage is observed as per Hindu rites by taking seven circumambulation of fire. Widow remarriage (ghargenu) is allowed, where the women is usually married outside husband's family. In Kutch A Chabutro built by Seth Khora Ramji Chawda in year 1900 standing at village Sinugra, shows the unique architect and skill of Mistris of Kutch. Such huge Chabutra are rare to be found in whole of India The Kutch Gurjar Kshatriyas were master craftsmen, architects and contractors and have played a major role in erection and construction of the majority of forts, palaces and architecture of Kutch. It was because of this quality that around the mid 16th century they came to be known as Mistri in Kutch. The word Mistri (or Mistry) means "skilled artisan" in Gujarati. The Portuguese were present in Gujarat from around 1500 AD and theBattle of Diu was fought in 1509 where the Portuguese later built Diu Fort. They also acknowledged the expertise of Kadia Kshatriyas in building fortress and called them mestre. Even the Muslim rulers accepted the expertise of the Kadias and were always sought after for building forts and fortress. The community was also known to travel far and wide for building such forts, palaces, etc. Their original roots were in Rajasthan and these group of Rajput or Kshatriyas were the people who were patronized by kings for their ability of design fort building with members of the community holding the post ofGaidher or Raj Mistry. Not only the Kutch Gurjar Kshatriyas were expert and specialized in stone cutting and construction of forts, palaces, temples and buildings but they were also skilled architects and artisans who could do articulate carvings of doors, windows, pillars, and statues of gods and goddesses and ceilings. They have been the main engineers of almost all historical monuments of the Princely State of Cutch. They have been involved in construction of forts of Tera, Kanthkot, Bhujia Fort and fortification of towns of Anjar, Mandvi, Lakhpat and Rapar. The KGK community were major land holders and jagirdars (or garasdars) in Kutch from many centuries. They also farmed and maintained large land-holdings with vadis and khetars in and around the nineteen villages they settled. They were once a prosperous community and there was a proverb in Kutch "Mafa-vara Gada to Mistri-na-j hoy" meaning "Such decorated bullock-carts/camel-carts can only belong to Mistri community" The temple of Ashapura Mata at Mata no Madh, the Kuldevi of Jadeja rulers of Kingdom of Kutch has been built by Mistri community. Similarly, the Temple at Dhrang over the Samadhi of Mekan Dada and Akhara were also erected by craftsman of the Mistri community.The renovation and reconstruction of Bhadreshwar Jain Temples, Koteshwar Mahadev Temple, and Narayan SarovarTemples, Mata-no-Madh; after devastating earthquakes of 1819, 1844–45 and 1875 all have been done by Kutch Gurjar Kshatriyas.
The Chhatri of Rao Lakhpatji in Bhuj built in eighteenth century in 1761 AD and Chhatris of other royal family members have been built by this community. Maistry Pitambar Padma was Gaidhar in 18th century. Later his son 'Gaidher' Jagmal Pitamber of Anjar was Gaidher of the Kutch Raaj in early to middle of 19th century during time of Deshalji II, when the forts of Bhuj, Anjar, Mandvi, Lakhpat and Mundra were constructed under Jagmal Pitamber and other Mistri of the eighteen villages. The community also built other historic forts such as Lakhpat and Sindri Fort. The Lakhpat Gurudwara built by them in the 17th century resembles the houses in their villages. The beautiful carvings of elephants, idols, pillars and wooden ceilings in the Gurudwara housing are similar to those found in the Thakor Mandir of their villages in Sinugra, Chandiya, Madhapar and architecture of Gurudwara, similar to their houses in their villages. The Aina Mahal of Bhuj was built around 1750 during the reign of Jadeja King, Rao Lakhpatji (1741–1761). The main architect of the palace was Ramsinh Malam who had spent seventeen years in Holland and Belgium learning the techniques of making clocks, enameling, tiles, architecture and glass works. Rao Lakhpatji appointed him as main architect for Aaina Mahal. The Kadias of Kutch worked with him in on Aaina Mahal quickly grasped the art of making tiles, tiling, enameling and stained glass works and later used these techniques in building other palaces and majestic houses of their own. Next in line of succession to Jagmal Pitamber was his son Ruda Jagmal Gajdhar and later his son Jairam Ruda Gajadhar Rathod, who became Gaidher in the reign of Maharao Shree Pragmalji II of Kutch who built Prag Mahal in Bhuj in 1865 to 1878 AD (V.S. 1922 to 1935). The main designer of Prag Mahal was the British architect Colon Wilikins, who designed it in the Italian Gothic style and the Kadias of Kutch worked with him in its construction. Started by Rao Pragmalji, who died in 1875, the construction was completed by his son Maharao Shree Khengarji Bawa in 1878. His Assistant Engineer was "Giadher" Devshi Gova of Khedoi. Maharo Shree Pragmalji and later Maharao Shree Khengarji Bawa held special affection for Gaidher Jairam Ruda and the Mistris of the nineteen villages were hired on the recommendation of Gaidher. the Alfred High School, the Fergusson Museum, library, embankment of Hamirsar Lake, AaraGhat in Bhuj, were all constructed during the reign of Maharao Shree Pragmalji when Gaidher Jairam Ruda of Anjar was the Gaidher for the State. Also the Mistris were involved in construction of Sharad Baag Palace of Bhuj built in 1867 commissioned during the reign of Rao Dashalji II in 1859–60 and completed during the reign (1860–1875) of Rao Pragmalji II. Mistri Kanji Gova Rathod of Khedoi was Gaidher in the court of Gagubha, the Darbar of Kothara, from 1855 to 1895 and the Jain Dersar (now known as one of Abdasa-ni-Panchtirthi), the Derasarof Kothara and other Palaces of Kothara Darbar were built under the supervision of Mistri Kanji Gova of Khedoi with help of other Mistris of the nineteen villages in 1858. The other Jain temples ofNaliya, Tera, Jakhau and Suthari also have been built by artisans of Mistri community of Kutch, along with their counterparts from Saurashtra. The Brother of Kanji Gova, Mistri Ruda Gova Rathod of Khedoi was also the Gaidher, who constructed in Nagalpar, the beautifully carved Dargah of Hussain Pir Shah also known as the Aga Khani Kubo of the Khoja community, which was inaugurated by Hasan Ali Shah, the Aga Khan I him-self. Ruda Gova Rathod of Khedoi started construction in 1860 and completed it in about five years. The Mistris of Kutch were also involved in construction and erection of Vijay Vilas Palace built on sea-beach of Mandvi by Khengarji III of Kutch, as summer palace for his son and yuvraj Vijayaraji. The carved stone works of Jalis, Jharokas, Chhatris, Chhajas, murals and many other artistic stone carvings, colored glass work on windows and door panels all have been done by them, an art in which they were expert. The architect and craftsman from other places like Jaipur, Rajasthan, Bengal and Saurashtra, were also involved. The construction started in 1920 completed in 1929. The Sanatan Thakor Mandir, the Juna Vaas and many new infrastructures at Madhapar were built by Mistris of the village. Renovation work and expansion of the Suralbhit – Jadeshwar Mahadev Temple near Bhuj was done by Mistris Manji Jeram Rathod and Valji Bhimji Rathod of Madhapar Village in 1914 (V.S. 1971) financed by Maharao Sri Khengarji Bawa of Kutch. In year 1943 (V.S.2000) Manji Jairam Rathod of Madhapar again did the renovation of Suralbhit – Jadeshwar Temple. The Step-wells popularly known as Sellor Vaav near Dhorava and the adjacent Hanuman Temple were built by father-son Mistri Jeram Madhavji & Manji Jeram Rathod of Madhapar in 1927 from his personal finance. Mistri Valji Bhimji Rathod of Madhapar was among the few persons who, apart from Royal family, owned a car by special permission of the King of Kutch. Besides being in construction works Mistris were also entrepreneurs and many of them owned fleets of ships used to import and export dry fruits and spices as well as trading in Muscat,Mombasa, Mzizima, Zanzibar and other countries. Notable among them were Seth Raja Narayan Chawda of Kumbharia, Seth Khora Ramji Chawda of Sinugra, Kachrani Varu of Anjar and Jairam Teja Chawda of Sinugra in 1880–1900. Mistris were a major revenue earner for the Princely State of Cutch. Besides being major land holders jagirdars of Anjar, Bhuj and Mandvi Taluka of Kutch the majority of them worked as railway contractors and public works contractors in British India. They were paid in Indian Rupees which they bought to Kutch and converted into Kutchi currency (Koris). British Indian Rupees were paper currency and Kori were Silver Coins and on conversion the Koris had to be loaded into many bullock-carts and brought to the villages of the Mistris. The bullock carts were guarded by rifle and sword bearing guards from Bhuj to their houses. Many Mistris also kept Miyana as their guards. Many Miyana families were patronized by Mistirs and they were employed to work as guards for the whole village and also to work and look after their farmhouses and farms. KGK Community paid their tax on their huge income earned from Railway and other Contracts job to the Princely State of Cutch, instead of to British India and were therefore respected by the Jadeja kings of Kutch. Many families of the Mistri community held friendly relationships with the Kings of Kutch. Many of them also worked as private bankers, notable among whom were Seth Khora Ramji Chawra of Sinugra, Jetha Lira Jethwa of Sinugra, Seth Raja Narayan Chawda of Kumbharia, Jairam Teja Chawra of Sinugra, Patel Mandan Ramji Vegad of Anjar etc. Some of them were so rich that their children studied at the prestigious Rajkumar College, Rajkot and the Rajkumar College, Raipur between 1920 and 1950. Docks, dams and canals in British India The KGK contributed to the building of docks, dams, barrages and irrigation canals between 1850 and 1980, and they in the eighteenth century had been among the communities who built the first ports of Bombay and Hornby Vellard. Other docks were developed in Bombay during 1870–1895 (Prince's Docks built in 1885 and Victoria Docks built in 1891) in which many Mistris of Kutch and Kadia Kshatriyas of Saurahstra worked. In 1883 the Mandvi Port Docks and a bridge over the Rukmavati River at Mandvi were built by Vishram Karman Chawda of Chandiya. It is the longest stone bridge of its kind in India.In 1924 the extension of Calcutta Port Trust at Khiddirpore in Calcutta was made by building a new dock named the "King George Dockyard" and was done by Rai Bahadur Jagmal Raja Chauhan with Bhimjee Pancha Chauhan and Mavji Punja Chauhan, all from Nagor. This work was completed in 1927and the dock has now been renamed as "Netaji Subhas Docks". Jairam Karsan Chauhan of Nagor, stationed at Sambalpur, was one of the major contractors who worked in construction of the Hirakud Dam, construction of which started in 1948 and was completed in 1957. In 1956, when construction of Tawa Dam began on Tawa River near Hoshangabad, one of the major Contractor for the work was Mavji Ruda Chawra of Madhapar, who was son of Late Rai Sahib Ruda Laddha Chawra. The Dam was completed in 1974. Narayan Bhawan Maru and Amarshi Pragji Maru of Devaliya were the contractors who built the Parola Dam near Hingoli, construction of which began in 1964 and was completed in 1971. Mining Coal mining In the regions of British India known as Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, the Kutch Gurjar Kshatriyas pioneered Indian involvement in coal mining from 1894. They broke the previous monopolies held by British and other Europeans, establishing many collieries at locations such as Khas Jharia, Jamadoba, Balihari, Tisra, Katrasgarh, Kailudih, Kusunda, Govindpur, Sijua, Sijhua, Loyabad, Dhansar,Bhuli, Bermo, Mugma, ChasnalaBokaro, Bugatdih, Putki, Chirkunda, Bhowrah, Sinidih, Kendwadih, and Dumka. Seth Khora Ramji Chawda of Sinugra was the first Indian to break the British monopoly in the Jharia Coalfield Natwarlal Devram Jethwa says that The East Indian Railway in 1894-95 extended its line from Barakar to Dhanbad via Katras and Jharia. Messrs. Khora Ramji in 1894 was working on railway lines contract of Jharia branch line and with his brother Jetha Lira was also building Jharia Railway Station, when he discovered coal in Jharia belt. The location of his three collieries named Jeenagora, Khas Jherria, Gareria is mentioned also in 1917 Gazetteers of Bengal, Assam, Bihar and Orissa. Other Indian communities followed the example of the KGK in the Dhanbad-Jharia-Bokaro fields after the 1930s. These included the Punjabis, Kutchis, Marwaris, Gujaratis, Bengalis and Hindustanis. Encyclopaedia of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa -1920 mentions:- "Out of 92 collieries belonging to Gujaratis in Jharia Coalfields Area during 1920s - 50 belonged to Mistris of Kutch with Seth Khora Ramji as Head of them all." Seth Khora Ramji of Sinugra was also honored by King of Kutch by giving him a Paghdi. Contribution in architects and development of cities of India Apart from laying first Railway lines and building docks of Bombay, the Mistris of Kutch and Kadias of Saurashtra were also involved in construction of Victoria Terminus for Great Indian Peninsula Railway, Bombay Central and Colaba Terminus both for Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway, Bombay High Court, Taj Hotel, J. J. School of Art, Town Hall, Wilson College, Apollo Bundar to name a few in city of Bombay. Cutch Castle of Bombay, the royal palace belonging to Rulers of Kutch was erected by Rai Bahadur Jagmal Raja Chauhan of Nagor of KGK Community for Maharao Shri Khengarji Bawa, who shared a personal friendship with Jagmal Raja. In Nasik, the temple complex of Muktidham, was built and donated by Industrialist and Contractor of the community Jairam Dahya Chauhan of Kumbharia. The huge Chabutro, just outside Railway Station at Raigarh, a landmark of town, was built and donated by Shyamji Gangji Savaria of Kumbharia in 1910. In 1929, the British Authorities, named a Railway Station as Jairamnagar, after Railway Contractor of the community Rai Bahadur Jairam Valji Chauhan of Kumbharia, a rare honor in those days. In Raipur, the Ramdev Market was built by Madhavji Kunvarjee Vadher of Sinugra in 1930s. Also the Ramji Building housing many Hotels and Restaurants at Jai Stambh Chowk in Raipur was built by Ramji Karaman Rathod of Khambhra in 1940s and the Raja Bhawan at Fafadih Chowk, built like a royal palace was built by Lira Raja Rathod of Khambhra in 1935. In Calcutta apart from building Docks of Calcutta Port and Railway lines and building complex of Howrah Station for East Indian Railway and Sealdah for Eastern Bengal Railway, the community were involved in construction of Howrah Bridge. Many Victorian buildings in Kolkata have been built by the karigars (artisans) of the Mistri community of Kutch. They were also involved in construction of Victoria Memorial Lira Raja Rathod of Khambhra erected many buildings in Calcutta in decades of 1925 to 1945 namely Raja Bhawan at Central Avenue, Raja Court and Raja Terrace at Mission Row, Raja Mansionand Raja Chambers near Strand Road and Godavari Bhawan at Bhawanipur and gained a name as a Real Estate owner in city. Many of these buildings are now land-marks of the city. In Dhanbad the present day Rathod Market and Chawda Market both standing adjacent to each other in heart of the city were built in decade of 1930-40 by Kanji Premji Rathod of Khambhra and Ghela Devraj Chawda of Devaliya, respectively. In Orissa, the Shail Sadan Palace in Bolangir belonging to royal family of Patna Raj was constructed in 1886 by Karsan Bhima Rathor of Madhapar, while he was stationed at Cuttack doing Railway Contracts. Again in Balangir, the temple of Narasimha, was built by Mistri Parbat Veera of Khambhra during the years during 1890-95. At Rameshwaram, while working on Pamban Bridge the Mistris Lakhu Devji Vegad of Anjar and Gangji Narayan of Khedoi also built Temple of Neel-Mandir having seven domes, construction which, they started in 1899 and completed in about five years by 1905. In 1923 by request of Commissioner, Kadia Bhanji Dhanji Rathod of Devaliya had done repair and rehabilitation of Dwarakadheesh temple with Ranchhod Ramji Chauhan of Nagalpar, as per tablet in Temple's records. In 1932 upon completion of Bally Bridge, Rai Bahadur Jagmal Raja Chauhan of Nagor was recommended by the erstwhile Viceroy of India, The Earl of Willingdon to Rana of Nepal, Shree Juddha Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, who needed Contractor of repute to do renovation and rehabilitation of his Palaces and temples. He was given the Contract for the same and Parbat Harji Chauhan, Karaman Devji Chauhan both of Kukma and Manji Shivjee of Madhapar were delegated by Jagmal Raja to go to Kathmandu, Nepal with a team of artisans and masons to supervise and complete the work. It took about two and half years for the job to be completed. Downturn in fortunes The fortunes of the KGK community were damaged in the post-independence years by two tranches of legislation: The various land reform acts passed between 1947 and 1958, such as the The Saurashtra Land Reforms Act (1951) and The Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (Vidarbha Region and Kutch Area) Act (1958), caused the loss of large landholdings in Kutch and Saurashtra: the law provided that the "land belongs to he whom tills it" ("Khede teni jamin"). Most of the male KGK were entrepreneurs and so their agricultural lands were transferred out of their ownership by the government. In 1971–73 coal mines all over India were nationalized by an emergency act passed by Parliament. The Coking Coal Mines (Emergency Provisions) Act (1971), followed by the Coking Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act (1972) and the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act (1973) came into effect and the Coal mines assets of the community were all taken over by the government. The KGK community continues to struggle as their land holdings and coal mines have gone. Further, the skills of their fore-fathers in building and erecting railway lines and bridges is also gone as young generations are neither interested nor are there opportunities as railway contracts are now given to big engineering conglomerates. At present they are mainly involved in small time business and services. The majority of the once-prosperous KGK community living in Kutch and Saurashtra today are devoid of agricultural land and have been included in the list of Other Backward Classes for Gujarat. Those who migrated from the state cannot take advantage of this reservation. Social organization and activities in present times KGK associations exist today in various Indian states, and there are meetings and events organised at local, state and national level. These include match-making events, called Sagpan-Sanmmelan, and the traditional dispute resolution by elected community elders continues with the Panch. There is an annual gathering in Kutch, their native state and their national President is elected every three years by way of voting. They also have a woman's wing called Mahila Mandal at state and national level. Every three years a woman president is also elected by ladies of the community. The woman's wing works independently and in co-operation with the president of the community. Similarly, they also have a youth wing at state and national organizational levels called All India Kutch Gurjar Kshatriya Samaj Yuva Mahamandal. The young generation helps in organizing major national and state level events and the youths also organize a sports event every three years called Kutchyad, taking cue and inspiration from the Asiad of 1982 Asian Games. The event also coincides with Dance, Music and match-making event. Every year a mass-marriage event is also held called Samuh-Lagna where the marriages of financially weak families or couples are held with blessings and financial co-operation of the whole community. The first such event by the community was held on 10 May 1966, with six marriages at Dhanbad and later on a larger scale in 1972 at Raipur. It continues to be held every year since then at different locations in India. Religious customs and beliefs in present days Community members are still carrying forward the religious customs and beliefs embedded in them since many centuries ago and continue to follow Hindu religious customs. They are still followers of different sects of Hinduism. The newly wed couple come at least once to bow to their Kuldevi at the temples which are located in the eighteen villages in Kutch originally founded by their ancestors. The newly weds also go and offer their respects at the Parias of their Satis and Shurapuras located in Kutch. There is a custom the KGK follow to offer special prayers and pooja called Kar to their Kuldevis whenever a boy is born in the family. Re-organization of KGK in post-independence India Around 1942 onwards the historic "Naat" and "Patel" system came to an end due to some internal problems as well as national level turbulence including World War-II, the Indian Independence movement, the partition of India, merger of the princely states and formation of the Union of India. The community, most of which were involved in railway "Thekedari" and lay scattered across the various states of India could not re-organize themselves and for almost three decades the Kutch Gurjar Kshatriyas lost their unity and leadership. The Patel system and Moti-Naat started to collapse around 1945 and was ended by 1950. In Raipur a community organization called Kshatriya Seva Sangh was established in 1935 and later a greater organization called Shree Kutch Gurjar Kshatriya Ganti Samaj was established in 1948 and in 1954 the community center was built in Raipur. Although the Moti-Naat went into a state of limbo around 1950 the Dhanbad and Raipur organizations were considered an extended part of Moti-Naat and were given the status of Gaam or village in addition to the 18 villages of Kutch. This status was given to them in view of the large population of KGK members living in both cities. Until 1960 both Dhanbad and Raipur units continued to pay their community taxes and subscription to the Moti-Naat in Kutch. Later on a Yuvak Mahasabha, or Young Man's Association, of the community was formed in 1954 in Dhanbad. This Yuvak Mahasabha worked until 1968, with blessings from elders of the community, to bring a form a unity in Samaj but it could not replace Panch, Naat and the Patel system of historic times and the need for a greater organization was always needed. A community center was built by members of community during 1959–60 in Dhanbad at which later a Samuh-Lagna event was also organized by them in 1968, which can be said to be first such mass-marriage event before much publicized 1972 event held at Raipur. Finally in 1971 the community re-organized themselves and first some leaders with good wishes of elders of community, met at Jaipur and a resolution was passed to contact all families of the community spread throughout India and unite to elect a new leader by the next year. Accordingly in 1972 the community again got together at Raipur and at a huge gathering at their Samaj Bhawan on 3 June 1972, they unanimously elected their first President – Mahasabha Pramukh of post-independence India. The pre-independence Moti Naat was re-christened as Mahasabha and Patel was rechristened as Pramukh and the Panch system was re-established. The new constitution of the community, charitable trusts and state and national level units were formed. A detailed a census with a list of community members was carried out. The community name Shree Kutch Gurjar Kshatriya Mahasabha was registered under The Societies Registration Act with its registered office at Calcutta in 1972. In the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, which had its epicenter in Kutch, the following villages of Mistris were largely affected and destroyed – Anjar, Sinugra, Khambhra, Devaliya, Chandiya, Nagalpar, Lovaria, etc. Many heritage houses and havelis belonging to rich Mistri families, built almost 100 years ago, with ornate facades, intricate door carvings and metal grill windows and verandas depicting the life of Queen Victoria were all razed to the ground. There were also huge wall and ceiling paintings depicting scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana which are no more. The majestic interiors, doors and window panels of some of the houses were similar in design, which can still be seen in Prag Mahal. Along with other communities of Kutch, the KGK suffered significant casualties as a result of the earthquake of 26 January 2001. In many cases whole families of the KGK community were buried alive. The houses built by their fore-fathers were also lost, all being razed to the ground.