Ahmednagar district

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Ahmednagar district
अहमदनगर जिल्हा

Location of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra
State Maharashtra, Flag of India.svg India
Administrative division Nashik Division
Headquarters Ahmednagar
Area 17,413 km2 (6,723 sq mi)
Population 4,088,000 (2001)
Population density 235/km² (608.6/sq mi)
Urban population 19.67%
Literacy 75.82%
Sex ratio 941
Tehsils 1.Akole, 2.Jamkhed, 3.Karjat, 4.Kopargaon, 5.Nagar, 6.Nevasa, 7.Parner, 8.Pathardi, 9.Rahata, 10.Rahuri, 11.Sangamner, 12. Shevgaon, 13.Shrigonda, 14.Shrirampur
Lok Sabha Constituencies 1. Ahmednagar, 2. Shirdi (Based on Election Commission website)
Assembly Seats 13
Official website

Ahmednagar district (अहमदनगर in Marathi/Hindi) is the largest district of Maharashtra state in western India. The historical Ahmednagar city is the headquarters of the district. Ahmednagar was the seat of the Ahmednagar Sultanate of late medieval period (1496–1636 CE). This district is also known for the town of Shirdi associated with Sai Baba. Ahmednagar district is part of Nashik Division.

The neighbouring districts to Ahmednagar district are - Solapur (South East- SE), Osmanabad (SE), Beed (SE), Aurangabad (NE), Nashik (NW), Thane (NW), and Pune (SW).

Origin of nameEdit

The name of the district is derived from the headquarters of the district, Ahmednagar. The city of Ahmednagar was named after the founder of the city, Malik Ahmed Shah Bahri, the first ruler of the Nizam Shahi dynasty (1490 ? 1509 CE) who laid the city's foundation in 1494 CE.


The first Muslim invader of the Deccan was Ala-ud-din, the nephew and son-in-law of Jalal-ud-din Khilji, the emperor of Delhi. He undertook an expedition against Bhilsa, where he captured a rich booty, a part of which he sent on to Delhi. Jalal-ud-din was much pleased, and rewarded him with the viceroyalty of Oude in addition to the government of Karra. When Ala-ud-din was at Bhilsa, he heard of the wealth of Devagiri, and meditated an expedition against that city. He withheld the tribute that was due from his district, accumulated funds, and raised a force of about 8,000 men, which he represented was for an advance against Chanderi, a town in Gujarat. Ala-ud-din kept his real design a profound secret, and having learnt from his spies that Ramdev's army was occupied at some distance from the capital, he left Karra in 1294 and suddenly appeared before Ellichpur, which he captured and plundered. Ramdev was completely taken by surprise. He collected all his available troops and sent them against the invader, but they were defeated at Lasura near Devagiri, and Ala-ud-din entered the city of Devagiri and plundered it. Ramdev shut himself up in the fortress, which was hastily provisioned for a siege. Ala-ud-din appeared before it, and announced that he was only the advance guard of the army of the Sultan of Delhi. Ramdev sued for peace, and succeeded in persuading Ala-ud-din to come to terms under certain easy conditions, when Ramdev's son appeared on the scene with the absent army, and attacked the invaders. The battle would have gone hard with Ala-ud-din, had he not received the timely assistance of Malik Nusrat, who had been left with 1,000 men in charge of the city. Ala-ud-din succeeded in defeating his adversary. Ala-ud-din treated the vanquished with greater severity, and raised his demands; Ramdev submitted. A very heavy indemnity was exacted, Ellichpur and the surrounding country was made over to the victors, and the Raja also promised to send an annual tribute to Delhi.

Ala-ud-din returned to Karra, and shortly afterwards murdered his uncle on 19 July 1296 and usurped the throne on October 3, 1296. Ramdev did not keep up to his promises under the terms of the treaty. In 1307, an expedition of 30,000 horse, under the command of Malik Naib, Kafur Hazardinari and Khvaja Haji, was fitted out against Devagiri. The Rai's sons fled, but he himself was taken prisoner and sent to Delhi, where he was detained for six months and was then released with all honours. The Sultan gave Ramdev a red canopy and the title of Rai Rayan (king of kings). In 1308, Malik Naib Kafur and Khvaja Haji arrived with an army at Devagiri, intended for an expedition against Warangal. Rai Rayan Ramdev rendered every assistance, and added a Maratha force of his own consisting of horse and foot. Prataprudra of Warangal was reduced and became a tributary.

On January 6, 1316, Ala-ud-din died and was succeeded by his son Kutbuddin Mubarak Shah. The new Sultan marched to Devagiri in 1317, and troops were sent against Harpaldev. He was taken prisoner and brought to Devagiri, where he was first flayed alive and then beheaded. Ahmadnagar district for the first time came under Muslim rule.

Establishment of Bahamani dynasty: 1300sEdit

In 1344 the Hindu Rajas of Telangana and Karnataka formed an alliance, and expelled all the Muslim garrisons in their dominions.[1] In the troubles which ended in the establishment of the Bahamani dynasty the Kolis of the western Ahmadnagar hills gained a great measure of independence. One of them Papera Koli in 1346 was made chief of Jawhar in the north Konkan by the Bahamani king. The Jawhar territories at first included a considerable part of the Ahmadnagar district.[2] They had twenty-two forts and a yearly revenue of Rs. 9 lakhs.[3] So long as they remained quiet the Bahamani kings seem to have left the Kolis practically independent under their own chiefs. Western Ahmadnagar and Poona were divided into Fifty-two Valleys or Bavan Mavals, each under an hereditary Koli chief or Naik with the rank of a sardar or noble in the Bahamani kingdom. The head of the Fifty-two Valleys, with the title of Sar Naik or Chief Captain, was a Muslim whose head-quarters were at Junnar in Poona.[4]

On September 22, 1422, Ahmad Shah Wali succeeded Firoz Shah, and having reduced Vijayanagar and Warangal, turned his attention towards the Sultans of Malva and Gujarat, who were getting troublesome. He remained a year at Ellichpur, and in 1425 repaired the Narnala fort and completed the fortifications of Gawilgad. In the following year Sultan Hoshang of Malva tried to prevail on Narsing Rai of Kherla to invade Berar, and when the latter declined, the Sultan marched on Kherla. Ahmad Shah went to the assistance of Narsing Rai, and Sultan Hoshang was severely repulsed. In 1427 the Bahamani king removed his capital to Bidar,[5] so as to be nearer to his Muslim neighbours, and married his eldest son, Ala-ud-din, to a daughter of the Sultan of Khandesh, in order to strengthen himself against the Sultans of Malva and Gujarat. The fort of Bidar was completed in 1432.

Mahmud Gawan was succeeded in the office of Bahamani minister by Nizam-ul-Mulk Bahari. Yusuf Adil Khan had a feud with Nizam-ul-Mulk and declined to take office but retained his military command. He retired to Bijapur, and never afterwards returned to Bidar. About the year 1485 Ahmadnagar and other districts were added to his estates. The management of part of these lands was made over to the minister's son Malik Ahmad, the future founder of the Nizam Shahi dynasty of Ahmadnagar (1490–1636), who made Junnar in Pune his head-quarters. By the capture of Shivner, the hill-fort of Junnar, which contained five years' revenue of Maharashtra Malik Ahmad was able to secure all the places of the greatest strength in west and south-west Pune. Nizam-ul-Mulk, to strengthen his party, also raised to high rank Malik Waji and Malik Ashraf, two brothers formerly dependents of Mahmud Gawan, appointing Malik Waji governor of Daulatabad and Malik Ashraf his deputy, at the same time exacting from them promises of attachment and fidelity to his son Malik Ahmad.[6] In 1486, Nizam-ul-Mulk was assassinated at the Bidar court and Malik Ahmad assumed his father's titles under the name of Ahmad Nizam-ul-Mulk Bahari.

Establisment of Ahmadnagar: 1494Edit

At Bhingar the site of his great victory over Jahangir Khan, midway between Junnar and Daulatabad, Ahmad resolved to found his capital there and from it determined to send an army every year to lay waste the country round Daulatabad till he reduced it. In 1494 he laid the foundation of a city close to the Bagh Nizam upon the left bank of the Sina river and called it after himself Ahmadnagar. In two years the city is said to have rivalled Baghdad and Cairo in splendour. After this the Ahmadnagar army took the field twice a year at the time of the early and the late harvests, to plunder the country near Daulatabad in order if possible to reduce the fort by famine. In 1495, Ahmad induced Khwaja Jahan of Paranda to march to the aid of Dastur Dinar who held the country between the Bhima and Telangana and was anxious to establish his independence. He afterwards himself marched to join him, but hearing that peace was made between Dastur Dinar and the Bahamani king he returned to Ahmadnagar. In 1498 as Yusuf Adil Shah of Bijapur had marched against Dastur Dinar, Ahmad Nizam again went to his aid and caused Yusuf to retire. In the same year Ahmad Nizam Shah, Yusuf Adil Shah, and Imad-ul-Mulk of Berar resolved that they should divide the Deccan among them and that Ahmad Nizam should have Daulatabad, Antora, Galna, and the country beyond those forts as far as the borders of Gujarat. In 1523, Bibi Mariam, the sister of Ismail Adil Shah of Bijapur, was given in marriage to Burhan and the nuptials were celebrated with great splendour. Asad Khan of Belgaum, the Bijapur envoy, in his master's name had promised to give Sholapur as the princess' dowry. Ismail Adil Shah afterwards denied that he had authorised the cession of Sholapur, and Burhan was induced to drop the demand and to return to Ahmadnagar.

The Ahmadnagar dominions extended over the greater part of Berar and the whole of what was afterwards included in the Subha of Aurangabad, Galna, and some other districts in Nasik and Khandesh and the district of Kalyan in the Konkan from Bankot to Bassein. Though the chief power in the country was Muhammedan, large numbers of Hindus were employed in the service of the State. The garrisons of hill-forts seem generally to have been Hindus, Marathas, Kolis, and Dhangars. Besides the hill-forts some parts of the open country were left under loyal Maratha and Brahman officers with the title of estate-holder or jagirdar, and of district head or Deshmukh. Estates were generally granted on military tenure, the value of the grant being in proportion to the number of troops which the grant-holder maintained. Family feuds or personal hate, and, in the case of those whose lands lay near the borders of two kingdoms, an intelligent regard for the chances of war, often divided Maratha families and led members of one family to take service under rival Musalman States. Hindus of distinguished service were rewarded with the Hindu titles of raja, naik, and rav. Numbers of Hindus were employed in the Ahmadnagar armies.[7]

The Maratha chiefs under Ahmadnagar were Jadhavrav, Raja Bhosle and many others of less note. Jadhavrav, Deshmukh of Sindkhed, is supposed, with much probability, to have been a descendant of the Rajas of Devgad. Lakhuji Jadhavrav in the end of the sixteenth century held an estate or jagir under the Nizam-shahi government for the support of 10,000 horse. The respectable family of the Bhosles, which produced the great Shivaji, first rose to notice under the Ahmadnagar government. They are said to have held several patilships, but their principal residence was at the village of Verul or Elura near Daulatabad. Bhosaji who is said to have been the first of the family to settle in the Deccan, and from whom the name Bhosle is sometimes derived. Maloji Bhosle married Dipabai, the sister of Jagpalrav Naik-Nimbalkar, the Deshmukh of Phaltan. At the age of twenty-five, in the year 1577, by the interest of Lakhuji Jadhavrav he was entertained in the service of Murtaza Nizam Shah with a small party of horse of which he was the proprietor. Maloji was an active shiledar or cavalier, and acquitted himself so well in various duties entrusted to him that he began to rise to distinction. He had by some means made an addition to his small body of horse and was always much noticed by his first patron Jadhavrav. The story told of his rise to power in the Ahmadnagar court is, that in 1599 at the time of the Holi festival in March–April, Maloji took his son Shahaji, a remarkably fine boy of five, to pay his respects to Lakhuji Jadhavrav, Maloji's patron. Lakhuji Jadhavrav, pleased with the boy, seated Shahaji near Jiji his daughter, a child of three or four. The children began to play, and Lakhuji jokingly said to the girl, 'How would you like him for a husband. The guests laughed but Maloji rose and solemnly accepted Lakhuji's offer of marriage. Lakhuji and his wife were furious, but Maloji was unshaken.'

He retired to his village, where, it is said, the goddess Bhavani appeared to him and discovered a large treasure. At all events he and his brother Vithoji became possessed of money in some secret manner. Their agent or their receiver was a banker of Chambhargonde or Shrigonde about thirty miles south of Ahmadnagar, named Shesho Naik Punde, in whose hands the cash was placed.[8] According to Maratha legends, the discovery of this treasure was the means provided by the goddess for carrying out her promise, that one of the clan would become a king and found a family which would reign for twenty-seven generations. Maloji spent his money in buying horses, and in the popular works of digging ponds and wells and endowing temples. He still clung to his favourite scheme of being connected with the family of Jadhavrav.

Jagpalrav Naik-Nimbalkar of Phaltan, the brother of Dipabai, Maloji's wife, warmly interested himself to promote the proposed marriage of his nephew. Wealth and power at a falling court like that of Ahmadnagar could procure anything. As Jadhavrav's chief objection was Maloji's want of rank, this difficulty was removed by raising him to the command of 5,000 horse with the title of Maloji Raja Bhosle. The forts of Shivneri and Chakan in Poona with their dependent districts were likewise placed in his charge; and the sub-divisions of Poona and Supa were made over to him as estates. Jadhavrav had no longer any excuse for not performing what he was urged to by his sovereign (1604). The marriage of Shahaji to Jijibai was celebrated with great pomp, and was honoured by the presence of the Sultan.[9]

Fall of Ahmadnagar: 1600Edit

On the fall of Ahmadnagar (1600) the emperor Akbar conferred the government of the country on Khwaja Beg Mirza Safawi, a relation of Shah Tahmasp of Persia and Mirza Muhammad Salih, who lived in the country, and, according to the Moghal historian, conferred many kindnesses, obligations and comforts on the people.[10] The officers of the Ahmadnagar kingdom refused to admit that the fall of the capital carried with it all hope of independence. They declared Murtaza, the son of Shah Ali, king and made Paranda about seventy-five miles south-east of Ahmadnagar, Junnar and Daulatabad in succession as temporary seats of safety for the new Sultan. Of these officers, Malik Ambar, an Abyssinian and Mian Raju Dakhani, in spite of the Moghal forces, for more than twenty years held almost the whole of the Nizamshahi dominions. Malik Ambar's rule extended from the Kutbshahi and Adilshahi borders within two miles of Bid and eight of Ahmadnagar, and from sixteen miles west of Daulatabad to within the same distance of the port of Cheul. Mian Raju held Daulatabad and the country north and south from the Gujarat frontier to within twelve miles of Ahmadnagar. Both officers professed allegiance to Murtaza Nizam Shah II whom they kept in the fort of Ausa about 130 miles south-east of Ahmadnagar and gave the revenues of a few surrounding villages for his subsistence.

In 1607 Malik made Murtaza's position easier and more dignified, and mutual confidence was established. In the same year at the head of 10,000 cavalry they marched together against Junnar and made it the seat of Murtaza's government. From Junnar Malik despatched an army to Daulatabad. Mian Raju was defeated and taken prisoner and his territory became part of Murtaza's dominions. In the following years Malik Ambar's power increased. He founded a new capital at Khadki, whose name Aurangzeb afterwards (1658–1707) changed[11] to Aurangabad, and, profiting by dissensions between Khan Khanan and the other generals, repeatedly defeated the Moghal troops, and invested the town of Ahmadnagar.

On 4 February 1616 chiefly owing to the rivalry of other Musalman officers, Malik Ambar was defeated in a great battle with the Moghals near the northern boundary of Ahmadnagar at Roshangaon in a bend of the river Dudhna about 10 miles west of Jalna. Though apparently no share of the shame for this defeat attached to the Marathas in Malik Ambar's service, for Shahaji Bhosle who had succeeded his father Maloji, Lakhuji Jadhavrav, and one of the Naiks of Phaltan all fought with distinguished bravery, the result of the battle so disheartened them, that several Marathas went over to the Moghals. The most important of the chiefs who deserted Malik Ambar was Lakhuji Jadhavrav, Deshmukh of Sindkhed, the chief Maratha estate-holder under the Nizamshahi government. The very high importance which the Moghals attached to the Maratha leaders is shown by the fact that Lakhuji Jadhavrav was given a command of 24,000 with 15,000 horse and that his relations were raised to high rank. Malik Ambar fled for life and saved himself by taking shelter in the fort of Daulatabad. Shah Nawaz, the Moghal general, razed to ground Malik Ambar's new capital of Khadki and carried away enormous plunder to Burhanpur.

However, as soon as the Moghal troops retired, Malik Ambar soon renewed hostilities and recaptured all the territory that had been wrested from him. When the news of this fresh advance on the part of Malik Ambar reached Jahangir, he dispatched his third son Khurram with a large force against Malik Ambar. Khurram was joined at the ford of Narmada by Khan Khanan, Mahabat Khan, Khan Jahan and other renowned Moghal generals in the Deccan. Khurram at once started vigorous action. He sent his envoys to Bijapur demanding help and co-operation from Adil Shah. Considering it difficult to oppose this formidable advance of the Moghals Adil Shah and Malik Ambar sent costly present to the prince and agreed to deliver over Burhanpur, Aurangabad and Ahmadnagar. Malik Ambar personally delivered the keys of various forts and the territory of Balaghat-Berar. Thereupon Khurram consigned the protection of the newly-conquered territories to his two generals Khan Khanan and his son Shah Nawaz Khan and retired to Mandu where his father, the Emperor, was camping (12 October 1617). It was at this time that he received the title of Shah Jahan from the emperor.

At last, driven to desperation, and taking advantage of the carelessness which their belief in his powerlessness had brought on the Moghals, Malik suddenly fell on their camp at Bhatwadi ten miles from Ahmadnagar. The battle was fought in November 1624. At the first onslaught Muhammad Lari, the Moghal commander, was killed. His fall threw the Bijapur forces into confusion. Jadhavrav and Udaram fled without striking a blow, and the defeat ended in a rout. Ikhalas Khan and twenty-five of Adil Shah's leading officers were taken prisoners. Of these Farhad Khan who had sought Malik Ambar's death was executed and the others imprisoned. Lashkar Khan and other Imperial chiefs were also made prisoners. Khanjar Khan by great exertions escaped to Ahmadnagar and prepared the fortress for a siege, and Jan Sipar Khan reached Bid and set the fort in order. Of the rest who escaped some fled to Ahmadnagar and some to Burhanpur. The success in the battle was mainly due to Malik Ambar's superior tactics of long and patient manoeuvring for contriving an inescapable trap in which the Moghal and Bijapuri forces were caught. Graphic descriptions of this battle are given by Paramanand in his Shiva Bharat and by Persian writers. Paramanand gives about 20 names of Muslim generals and of more than a dozen Maratha captains. Most of the former are also mentioned by Fazuni Astarabadi. In this battle Shahaji's genius shone brilliantly in support of Malik Ambar and gave Shahaji an importance and worth of which the latter soon became jealous. Shahaji soon quit the service of the Nizam Shah and sought his fortune under the Adil Shah. Malik Ambar, successful beyond his hopes, sent his prisoners to Daulatabad and marched to lay siege to Ahmadnagar. As, in spite of every effort, he made no impression on Ahmadnagar, Malik left part of his army to maintain the investment and himself marched against Bijapur. Ibrahim Adil Shah took refuge in the fortress and Malik Ambar occupied his territories as far as the frontiers of the Imperial dominions in the Balaghat. He collected an excellent army and laid siege to and took Sholapur. So complete was his success that the Moghal officers received strict orders from Delhi to keep within the forts they held and attempt no operations until reinforcements arrived.

Murtaza Nizam Shah II: 1629Edit

Malik Ambar died on 14 May 1626 in the eightieth year of his age. Great as was his success as a general, Malik Ambar is best known by his excellent land system. In 1629 Murtaza Nizam Shah II came of age. He was wanting in ability, vindictive, flighty, and unfit to meet the difficulties by which he was surrounded. His first care was to reduce the regent's power, a task which Fatteh Khan's violent and inconsistent conduct made easy. With the help of an officer named Takkerib Khan Murtaza seized Fatteh Khan and threw him into confinement. He called back Shahaji from Bijapur to his service and prepared for a stiff contest with the emperor. Shah Jahan immediately realised the danger and personally undertook the offensive with the dual purpose of putting down Khan Jahan Lodi and subjugating the kingdom of Ahmadnagar. He also threatened Adil Shah and obtained powerful contingents from that kingdom under Ranadullah Khan and Kanhoji Jedhe. By the time Shah Jahan reached the Ahmadnagar country the Moghal force was aided by a movement from Gujarat. Khan Jahan, after some unavailing attempts to make head against this great force, retired to the south, and by rapid movements eluded the Moghal detachments. Failing to persuade the Bijapur king to take up his cause, he was once more obliged to enter the Ahmadnagar dominions. Murtaza Nizam Shah had sufficient confidence to try a decisive battle. He assembled his army at Daulatabad and took post in strong ground among the neighbouring passes. But the strength of the Imperial troops was too great for him, and he was forced to seek safety in his forts and in desultory warfare. Khan Jahan, overwhelmed by the defeat of his allies, the destruction of their territory, and the additional calamities of famine and pestilence, retired from the country.

Lakhuji Jadhavrao already had been weaned away and now, he, backed by the support of the emperor, harassed the Nizam Shah from his seat at Sindkhed. Nizam Shah now decided to encompass his destruction by treachery and inviting him to Daulatabad under the pretext of negotiating some important political move murdered Jadhavrao and most of his relations who had accompanied him. These wanton murders created a feeling of revulsion among the Maratha followers of Nizam Shah. Shahaji had already received tempting offers from the emperor to desert the Nizam Shah and go over to the Moghals. Under the pressure of circumstances, he thought it prudent to give up the rapidly-declining fortune of the Nizam Shah and went over to the Moghals. He was confirmed in his estates and was given a command of 5,000 horse, a dress of honour and Rs. 2,00,000 in cash. He remained in the Moghal service for about a year and a half from November 1630 to March 1632.

Re-establishemnt of Nizamshahi monarchy: 1633Edit

The Nizamshahi monarchy, which, on the surrender of Fatteh Khan, seemed to have come to an end, was revived by Shahaji Bhosle, who, disgusted by the Moghals' treatment of him, had gone to Bijapur and had fought against them. Within only three months of the fall of Daulatabad, he selected Pemgiri or Bhimgad as the capital of the Nizamshahi State and placed there a young Nizamshahi prince as the lawful heir of Nizam Shah (September 1633). He now began to manage the country, seized the forts, occupied the districts in the name of the new king, and gathered troops from all quarters. Except a few forts he succeeded for a time in over-running the whole of the Ahmadnagar Konkan and the country as far east as Ahmadnagar from the Nira river on the south to the Chandor range on the north.[12] In this adventure Shahaji managed to enlist the sympathies of Adil Shah and his minister Murar Jagdev who personally came to his help with fresh and well-equipped armies. Shahaji's bold stand embarrassed Mahabat Khan who sent repeated requests to the emperor for fresh troops and funds. He also called upon Adil Shah to withdraw his help from Shahaji. In this he did not succeed and hence invited so severe a rebuke from Shah Jahan that he put an end to his life on 26 October 1634. Shah Jahan was however finally roused to this new danger. He marched rapidly to the Deccan in 1635 and reached Daulatabad after crossing the Narmada on 4 January 1636. He now decided to close in upon Shahaji from all directions simultaneously and assigned definite tasks to his various generals putting Aurangzeb with the general execution of the measures determined upon. The Sultans of Bijapur and Golkonda were forced into co-operation with the Moghals under a threat of complete extinction. Shahaji had collected under him 12,000 troops and he now started raiding Moghal territory moving between Junnar and Sangamner with the fort of Mahuli as the headquarters of the puppet Nizam Shah. Shaista Khan pursued Shahaji through Junnar and Sangamner. In the meanwhile the Bijapuris, finding resistance to the Moghals difficult, accepted the Moghal terms and deserted Shahaji. Qutb Shah of Golkonda was also coerced into submission and it was now left to Shahaji to bear the whole brunt of the relentless war with the Moghals. In the treaty with Bijapur, Adil Shah agreed to pay to the Moghals 20 lakhs pagodas a year and in return received the south and south-east portions of the Nizamshahi dominions. This treaty sealed Shahaji's fate who was now cut off from the outer world and hemmed in at the fort of Mahuli. Adil Shah now discreetly stepped in to save Shahaji from utter ruin and informed the emperor of his willingness to take away from Shahaji the five forts which he still held. Shah Jahan agreed to this proposal from Adil Shah and left for Agra on 11 July 1636 entrusting the conduct of the remaining campaign to his general Khan Zaman, his son Aurangzeb and Adil Shah. Within three months of the departure of Shah Jahan, Shahaji came to his last grasp. At last he submitted, gave up his pretended king and with the consent of Shah Jahan entered the Bijapur service. The kingdom of Ahmadnagar was thus at an end.

In 1650, Shivaji preferred a claim on the part of his father or of himself to the Deshmukh's dues in the Ahmadnagar district to which he alleged they had an hereditary right. As was probably foreseen Shivaji's agent at Agra did not succeed in obtaining a promise of the Deshmukh's share, but he brought back a letter from Shah Jahan, promising that the claim should be taken into consideration if Shivaji came to court. In the year 1653 prince Aurangzeb was appointed viceroy of the Deccan for the second time. For several years he devoted his talents to perfecting the revenue settlement and protecting and encouraging travellers and merchants. He established his seat of government at Malik Ambar's town of Khadki, which, after his own name, he called Aurangabad.

Death of Aurangzeb: 1706Edit

In 1706, the grand Moghal army under Zulfikar Khan, on its way from Sinhgad ten miles south of Pune towards Ahmadnagar was attacked by the Marathas. In spite of a gallant charge led by Khan Alam a great part of the Moghal army was defeated. On pitching his camp in Ahmadnagar, on the same spot which it had occupied in such splendour twenty-one years before, Aurangzeb said: "I have ended my campaigning, my last earthly journey is over." He died at Ahmadnagar on the 20th of February 1707 in the eighty-ninth year of his age.

On hearing of the death of his father Aurangzeb's second surviving son Azam hastily returned to Ahmadnagar and performed the funeral rites. He then moved northwards, taking Shahu, the son of Sambhaji, with him. Since his father Sambhaji's execution on 11 March 1689, when he was a boy of seven years, Shahu had been brought up by Aurangzeb with care and kindness. In the hope that his influence might make the Marathas less hostile, Aurangzeb before his death intending to set Shahu free, had presented him with Shivaji's sword Bhavani and also the sword of the Bijapur general Afzal Khan and given him the district of Nevasa as a marriage gift. Accordingly Shahu, on being released by Aurangzeb's son Prince Azam, marched south from the Narmada. At the Godavari he halted to dispel any suspicion that he was an impostor. While he was away from Ahmadnagar he had an accidental skirmish with the villagers of Parad who fired on Shahu's troops. As several of his men were killed Shahu assaulted the place and made a severe example of the offenders. During the attack a woman, bearing a boy in her arms, rushed towards Shahu, and threw down the child, calling out that she devoted him to the Raja's service. Shahu took charge of the child, and in commemoration of his first success, called him Fattehsing. He afterwards added his own surname of Bhosle and always treated the child like his own son. This Fattehsing was the founder of the Akalkot family. Shahu did not leave Ahmadnagar until circumstances forced him and would even have preferred to rule from that town itself if it were possible. He had to give up this thought as Ahmadnagar which had figured for centuries as a Muslim possession and more recently as the seat of Aurangzeb's government was not suited to the requirements of a Maratha king. He therefore moved from Ahmadnagar southwards towards Pune and halted at Khed where in the battle fought on October 12, 1707 with Tarabai's forces, Shahu emerged victorious. From there he marched to Satara where he was crowned king on January 12, 1708. He appointed Balaji Vishwanath to the post of Sena Karte (organiser of forces) and later due to his acumen in winning over friends and destroying the enemies of the kingdom he appointed him to the Peshwaship of the Maratha State.

Husain Ali now came to the conclusion that his only chance of success lay in securing the goodwill and co-operation of the Marathas, particularly of Shahu. A compromise was therefore arrived at between Shahu and the Sayyad brothers representing the Moghal emperor, through the mediation of Shankaraji Malhar. Under the terms of the agreement the Marathas obtained the grants of the chauth and sardeshmukhi of the Deccan including Ahmadnagar. These terms were formally ratified by the emperor Muhammad Shah who succeeded Farrukhsiyar who was deposed by the Sayyad brothers. Shortly after, Balaji Vishwanath died and was succeeded by his son Bajirao as Peshwa. When these events were taking place in the Maratha State Delhi witnessed the fall of the Sayyad brothers. In the Deccan, Nizam-ul-Mulk also revolted declaring his independence but formally recognising allegiance to the Moghal emperor at Delhi. Thus the eclipse of Moghal power in the Deccan was complete. The district of Ahmadnagar was one of the parts of the Deccan which became subject to the Nizam. It was very difficult for the Nizam to accept the Maratha claims for chauth and sardeshmukhi for the six subhas of the Deccan and the following years saw the Marathas and the Nizam confronting each other for supremacy in the Deccan. In most of the wars fought between the Marathas and the Nizam, the district of Ahmadnagar was traversed by the opposing armies and suffered like all the other districts of Maharashtra from the ravages of war. The district remained with the Nizam, Nizam-ul-Mulk, Asaf Jah till his death in 1748. On 11 February 1760 the whole of the present district of Ahmadnagar was gained by the Marathas. In 1761 after the great Marathas' disaster at Panipat, Nizam Ali who still suffered from the ignominy of the defeat at Udgir marched directly upon Pune at the head of the powerful army of 60,000 men. He carried fire and desolation throughout his march and destroyed Toka and Pravara-Sangam, the two great centres of Hindu religious sanctity.

Koli rising: 1760Edit

In 1760 the peace of Ahmadnagar was broken by a Koli rising. One of the Koli chiefs, Hiraji Bomle, whose family had held estates and rank from the time of the Bahamani kings, died. Though Hiraji's son Javji held a post in the Peshwa's service, the Peshwa's manager at Junnar refused to give Javji his father's estates and rank. Javji, who is described as of slight figure, middle-sized and fair, bold, restless and of irregular habits, gave up the Peshwa's service, withdrew to the hills, and organized a series of gang robberies. Javji surrendered all his forts to Tukojirao Holkar, and through Holkar's influence was pardoned and placed in military and police charge of a district or subha of sixty villages in Rajur with powers of life and death over Koli robbers and outlaws. Jayji continued in a position of honour till in 1789 he died from a wound inflicted by one of his own followers.[13] He was succeeded by his son Hiraji Naik. During the latter years of his life Javji had taken part in quelling a serious rising among the Kolis which was headed by two Koli leaders, Kokata and Shilkunda.

In 1801, Yashwantrao Holkar descended upon Ahmadnagar now a possession of Shinde, with the greatest fury. He plundered the city and the fort and proceeding further dug up and burnt Shinde's palaces at Shrigonda and Jambgaon. The glorious edifices erected by Mahadji Shinde and his chiefs were razed to the ground. Bajirao now tried to conciliate Holkar but was prevented from this action by Shinde whose forces were fast approaching in pursuit of Holkar. In the meanwhile Peshwa's forces under Purandare were defeated by Holkar at Baramati. Bajirao sent frantic messages to Shinde for sending succour. Shinde sent his general Bakhshi Sadashiv Bhaskar with whatever forces he could command. He reached Paithan at the end of August and Ahmadnagar on 8 September 1802. He arrived at the capital on 22 October. Yeshwantrao, on receipt of this news, sent a warning to the Peshwa stating that he had no desire to harm the Peshwa and urged for immediate negotiation between him, the Peshwa and Shinde. But his appeal fell on deaf ears. The fateful day arrived. On 25 October the armies of Shinde and Holkar locked themselves in a grim battle at Hadapsar which lasted for the whole day resulting in the complete rout of the former. Bajirao fled from Pune to Bassein and there remained practically under British protection. On 31 December 1802 he concluded the celebrated treaty of Bassein with the British under the terms of which in return for cessions of territory the British government bound itself to defend the Peshwa from all attacks. In the meanwhile, Holkar declared for Amritrao, the brother of Bajirao, for Peshwaship and tried his best to organise a Maratha confederacy for an eventual war with the British.

Treaty of Pune: 1817Edit

In June 1817, the English imposed another treaty on Bajirao with stricter terms, thus depriving him of all power and authority. Under the terms of the treaty known as the treaty of Pune the Peshwa ceded the fort of Ahmadnagar to the English.[14] This treaty also declared Trimbakji to be the murderer of Shastri, finally extinguished the Peshwa's overlord-ship over the Indian Chiefs, ceded to the English all the Peshwa's territory outside Maharashtra, compelled him to withdraw all his wakils from foreign courts and prevented him from any longer keeping correspondence or communication with them. Thus the Great Maratha confederacy came to be finally and publicly dissolved. The whole of the dominions of the Peshwa and those of the Holkar in the Deccan were taken possession of by the British government. Shinde had held half of Shevgaon and the Shrigonda pargana. The greater part of the Korti pargana including the present sub-divisions of Karjat and part of Shrigonda was under Rao Rambha Nimbalkar till 1821 when it was given to the English. Ahmadnagar with the country between the Chandor hills and the Bhima was placed under Captain Pottinger.

During the 1857 risings Ahmadnagar was the scene of considerable disturbance. The rebels were about 7,000 Bhils of south Nasik and north Ahmadnagar. Detachments of troops were stationed to guard the frontier against raids from the Nizam's dominions, and to save the large towns from the chance of Bhil-attacks. The work of scattering the Bhil gatherings and hunting the rebels was left almost entirely to the police who were strengthened by the raising of a special Koli corps and by detachments of infantry and cavalry. The first gathering of Bhils was under the leadership of one Bhagoji Naik.

Modern history: 1818 and forwardEdit

Although Ahmadnagar district was created as early as in 1818, modern history of Ahmadnagar may be said to have commenced from 1869, the year in which parts of Nasik and Sholapur which till then had comprised Nagar were separated and the present Nagar district was formed. Ahmednagar District was created after the defeat of the Maratha Confederacy in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818, when most of the Peshwa's domains were annexed to British India. The district remained part of the Central division of Bombay Presidency until India's independence in 1947, when it became part of Bombay State, and in 1960 the new state of Maharashtra.


In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Ahmednagar one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).[15] It is one of the twelve districts in Maharashtra currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).[15]


Ahmednagar district consists of fourteen talukas (tahsils). These talukas are Akole, Jamkhed, Karjat, Kopargaon, Nevasa, Nagar, Parner, Pathardi, Rahata, Rahuri, Sangamner, Shrirampur, Shevgaon and Shrigonda.[16]

The district has thirteen Vidhan Sabha constituencies. These are Karjat (SC), Shrigonda, Ahmednagar North, Ahmednagar South, Pathardi, Sheogaon, Shrirampur, Shirdi, Kopargaon, Rahuri, Parner, Sangamner and Nagar Akola (ST). The 2 Lok Sabha constituencies from the district are Ahmednagar and Kopargaon. Nagar Akola (ST) constituency is a part of Nashik Lok Sabha constituency.

Ralegaon Siddhi is a village in the district that is considered a model of environmental conservation.[17]


According to the 2011 census Ahmednagar district has a population of 4,543,083,[18] roughly equal to the nation of Costa Rica[19] or the US state of Louisiana.[20] This gives it a ranking of 33rd in India (out of a total of 640).[18] The district has a population density of 266 inhabitants per square kilometre (690 /sq mi) .[18] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 12.43 %.[18] Ahmadnagar has a sex ratio of 934 females for every 1000 males,[18] and a literacy rate of 80.22 %.[18]

Population (2001 census): 4,040,642. The district is 19.89% urban as of 2001.

The majority of the population in Ahmednagar is Hindu. But there are small other religious groups such as Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians. According to Census, Hindus are 82%, Muslims 9%, Christians 5% and others are 4%.



Islam arrived in Ahmednagar during the Tughlaq dynasty. There are many Muslim Monuments like Chand Bibi Mahal, Faria Baug, Ground Fort and many Dargas(Mosque), and they are resides in main town and cities.

Christianity arrived in the 18th Century when the British took over the area from the Maratha empire onwards Christianity has been Ahmednagar's third-largest religion and found all over the district except in the south-west. In Ahmednagar Christians are Hindu Converts and many Christians are a great result of American Marathi Mission and the Mission of the Church of England Society for propagating the Gospel.[21] During the British time Ahmednagar was part of Bombay presidency the first Protestant Christian mission in the district was opened in 1831. Every village has one or more resident families as Christian and every village has its own church for worship.[22] Ahmednagar's Christians are called Marathi Christians and majority of them are Protestant Christians as compared to Catholics.[23]



  1. ^ [According to Ferishta, the Hindu Rajas expelled the Musalmans from every quarter except Daulatabad. Briggs' Ferishta, Vol. I, p. 427.]
  2. ^ The Jawhar chief held Ratangad fort in Akola in 1760. Trans. Bom. Geog. Soc. I, 244.
  3. ^ Mackintosh in Trans. Bom. Geog. Soc. I,240.
  4. ^ Mackintosh in Trans. Bom. Geog. Soc. I, 238. This arrangement was continued by the Ahmadnagar kings and by the Moghals. The last head captain at Junnar was Muhammad Latif about 1670. Ditto.
  5. ^ Bahamani Rajyacha Itihas, p. 68.
  6. ^ Briggs' Ferishta. II, 529.
  7. ^ [Grant Duff's Marathas, 36, 38.]
  8. ^ It is remarkable, as it bespeaks a connection maintained, that Shivaji's treasurer in 1669 was the grandson of Shesho Naik Punde. Grant Duff's Marathas, 106.
  9. ^ Grant Duff's Marathas, 40, 42.
  10. ^ [Anfa'u-l-Akhbar in Elliot and Dowson, V. I, 247.]
  11. ^ [Grant Duff's Marathas, 483.]
  12. ^ [Grant Duff's Marathas, 50.]
  13. ^ [Mackintosh notices that of Javji's twelve wives one was a Shimpin and the other a Telin. Trans. Bom. Geog. Soc. I, 254.]
  14. ^ [Grant Duff's Marathas, 635.]
  15. ^ a b Ministry of Panchayati Raj (September 8, 2009). "A Note on the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme". National Institute of Rural Development. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  16. ^ Indian Census
  17. ^ "A model Indian village- Ralegaon Siddhi". Retrieved 2006-10-30. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f "District Census 2011". 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  19. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Retrieved 2011-10-01. "Costa Rica 4,576,562 July 2011 est" 
  20. ^ "2010 Resident Population Data". U. S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-30. "Louisiana 4,533,372" 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ Anna Kurian (2006). Texts and Their Worlds I: Literatures of India - An Introduction. Lincoln, Neb: Foundation Books. ISBN 81-7596-300-X. 

External linksEdit

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