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The Maharashtra government has decided to rename Ahmednagar district as Ahilyanagar. This move follows a trend of name-changing decisions in BJP-ruled states. The decision was announced by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra during the 298th birth anniversary celebrations of Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar, the hereditary noble queen of the Maratha Empire in Malwa.

Ahilyabai Holkar (1725 – 1795):

  • Ahilyabai Holkar was the Holkar Queen of the Maratha Malwa kingdom in India. Born in the village of Chondi in Jamkhed, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, she later shifted the capital to Maheshwar south of Indore on the Narmada River.
  • After her husband’s death in the battle of Kumbher in 1754 and her father-in-law’s passing twelve years later, she was crowned the queen of the Malwa kingdom.
  • Ahilyabai was a remarkable ruler who worked tirelessly for the welfare of people from all strata of society. She exemplified good governance and administration, personally leading armies into battle and appointing capable individuals like Tukojirao Holkar as the Chief of Army.
  • Additionally, she was a prolific builder of Hindu temples and Dharmashalas throughout India, contributing significantly to the restoration of various temples.
  • Under her rule, the city of Maheshwar flourished, becoming a center of literature, music, art, and industry, particularly in the textile sector, renowned for the production of Maheshwari saris.
  • Despite the societal norms of her time, Ahilyabai received education from her father, Mankoji Rao Shinde, who was the Patil of the village.
  • This education, along with her administrative and military prowess, enabled her to establish perfect order and good government during her reign.

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