Ahmednagar, Jun 1 (IANS): In a major announcement, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said on Wednesday that the name of Ahmednagar district shall be changed to ‘Ahilyadevi Holkar Nagar in memory of the great queen of Malwa state who ruled from 1767-1795.
The announcement came on her 298 birth anniversary celebrations at Chaundi, the village where Ahilyadevi was born on May 31, 1725, which was attended by Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis.
"We have taken a decision to change the name of Ahmednagar after Ahilyadevi Holkar... It's the desire of all the people here," Shinde said, as the large crowd roared its approval.
Shinde said he was fortunate to earlier change the name of Aurangabad to ‘Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar' and Osmanabad as ‘Dharashiv', and now Ahmednagar will become ‘Ahilyadevi Holkar Nagar' on the birth anniversary of the great queen.
Shinde said that Ahilyadevi's name is as tall as the Himalayas, and she did a lot for the farmers and workers of her kingdom, adding that this would be a fitting honour on her birth anniversary celebrations.
A ruler of the Maratha Empire, Queen Ahilyadevi Holkar ascended the Malwa state throne after the deaths of her husband Khanderao Holkar, her father-in-law Malharrao Holkar and her son Malerao Holkar, aged barely 22.
During her 28-year long reign (1767-1795) – considered as the golden period of the Maratha Empire - she did a lot for the tillers and ordinary folks, built or restored temples, defended the state, its people, even led battles against the Mughals with her trusted team headed by her nephew Tukoji Holkar, to carved her own niche in history.