Maharashtra state government is planning to rename the city of Ahmednagar as ‘Punyashlok Ahilyadevi Nagar’, after the 18th century Malwa queen.

 

Who is Ahilyabai Holkar?

  • Ahilyabai (1725 -1795) was one of the women rulers of Medieval India who belongs to the Holkar dynasty of the Maratha Empire.
  • She was married Khanderao Holkar in 1733 at the tender age of 8. Her husband was killed in the battle of Kumbher in 1754.
  • Ahilyabai is famous for having built numerous forts and roads in the Malwa region, sponsoring festivals and offering donations to many Hindu temples. Her philanthropy was reflected in the construction of several temples, ghats, wells, tanks and rest houses stretching across the length of the country.
  • She welcomed stalwarts such as Marathi poet Moropant, Shahir Ananta Gandhi, and Sanskrit scholar Khushali Ram into her capital.
  • John Keay, the British historian, gave the queen the title of ‘The Philosopher Queen’. She had been an acute observer of the wider political scene.