Maharashtra: Ahmednagar to be renamed as Ahilya Devi Holkar Nagar, announces CM Shinde

This renaming pays homage to Ahilyadevi Holkar, a remarkable female ruler who left an indelible mark on Indian history.

Abhijit Mulye Updated: Thursday, June 01, 2023, 10:15 AM IST

Ahmednagar will be renamed after Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde announced at an event celebrating the 298th birth anniversary of the Maratha queen at her birthplace Chondi in the Jamkhed taluka of Ahmednagar district on Wednesday. “The state government has decided to rename Ahmednagar as Ahilyadevi Nagar. Ahilyadevi is known for her Himalayan works. Her name will bring honour to the district,” CM Shinde said, as he made the announcement.

“We are all indebted to Ahilyadevi and to the land where she was born. She worked tirelessly for people all her life. Our government too is toiling for the people,” he added, enumerating the various schemes started by his government for the betterment of farmers.

“Ahilyadevi put forth lessons on ideal statecraft through her acts. References to her administrative acumen are made even today. She left an enriched heritage of a strong and able administrative framework. We try to follow in her footsteps,” Shinde said.

Ahmednagar third city to be renamed by incumbent govt

Ahmednagar is the third city of the state to be renamed by this government. In its very first cabinet meeting last year, the Shinde government had resolved to rename Aurangabad and Osmanabad to Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar and Dharashiv respectively.

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, guardian minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, his son and local MP Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil, MLA Ram Shinde, Gopichand Padalkar along with senior leaders from the Dhangar community, Anna Dange and Ramesh Shendge, were present on the occasion.

Referring to the various demands of the Dhangars, Shinde said that all their issues would be resolved at a meeting soon.

Fadnavis had proposed renaming

Earlier, while addressing the huge crowd gathered for the programme, Fadnavis had proposed the renaming of the district.

Explaining the process after the programme, Guardian Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said that the BJP’s Gopichand Padalkar had written to Shinde regarding the renaming of the district and the city and accordingly, a proposal would be presented before the cabinet and then sent to the Union government.

Legend behind Ahmednagar's name

Located in western Maharashtra, Ahmednagar has been a part of various kingdoms, including those of the Rashtrakutas, the western Chalukyas, the Delhi and the Bahmani Sultanates.

In 1486, Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah became the Bahmani Sultanate’s prime minister and fought off an attempt by the king to dislodge him from power. He defeated the Bahmani army near Ahmednagar in May 1490. Finally, in 1494, he laid the foundation of a city close to the site where he had defeated his rival, on the left bank of Sina River, and named it after himself.

Who was Ahilyabai Holkar?

Ahilyabai Holkar, also known as Ahilyadevi Holkar, was a prominent ruler of the Holkar dynasty in India during the 18th century. She was born on May 31, 1725, in the village of Chondi in present-day Maharashtra to Dhangar family. Ahilyabai Holkar is renowned for her astute governance, administrative reforms, and dedication to the welfare of her subjects.

Ahilyabai Holkar succeeded her husband, Khanderao Holkar, as the ruler of the Malwa kingdom after his untimely death. Under her rule, she transformed the region into a prosperous and well-governed state. Ahilyabai Holkar focused on promoting agriculture, trade, and industry, and she implemented several infrastructure development projects such as the construction of roads, temples, and ghats (steps leading to riverbanks).

Apart from her administrative prowess, Ahilyabai Holkar was known for her philanthropy and devotion to religion. She was a devout follower of Lord Shiva and played a significant role in the renovation and construction of numerous temples across India, including the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi.

Ahilyabai Holkar's reign was marked by peace, prosperity, and a commitment to social welfare. She was widely respected and regarded as one of the finest female rulers in Indian history. Ahilyabai Holkar passed away on August 13, 1795, leaving behind a lasting legacy of progressive governance and compassion. Her contributions continue to be celebrated and revered to this day.

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Published on: Wednesday, May 31, 2023, 05:39 PM IST