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Ahilyabai Holkar – The noble-hearted warrior Queen

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By Harshmeet Singh

India has never been kind to its women. Despite its indifference towards the amazing contributions of women at different points of Indian history, India has been fortunate enough to be blessed with some extraordinary women rulers in the past who not only successfully saved their kingdom from external forces, but also took it to far greater heights than ever before. One such ruler was the Holkar Queen of Malwa Kingdom, Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar.

Born in a modest family, Ahilyabai caught the eyes of Maharaja Malhar Rao Holkar during the latter’s visit to a Shiva temple in Ahilyabai’s village. He immediately decided to bring her to Indore and marry her with his son, Khanderao. Close to a decade into a happy married life, her husband passed away in the battle of Kumbher. All set to Sati herself, she was stopped by her father-in-law. After the death of Malhar Rao, the throne of Indore fell to Mali Rao, Ahilyabai’s son. The unjust and cruel rule of Mali Rao only lasted for 9 months before he died, leaving Ahliyabai at the helm of Indore. And thus began the golden period of Indore’s history.

Her biggest challenges were the dacoits and thugs spread across the Kingdom. To get rid of them, she announced that she will marry off her daughter Muktabai to the person who brings an end to these dacoits. She stood by her word when she married Muktabai to Yashwant Rao, the young man who brought an end to the threat of dacoits in the kingdom.

Her rule was marked by digging of wells, building of temples and several policies of religious tolerance. For her noble deeds, historians compare her to the Queen Elizabeth 1 of England and Queen Catherin II of Russia. During her rule, she personally led the military campaigns of Indore’s army. She never observed purdah, and instead held regular public meetings to take a stock of the ground reality in her kingdom. Her rule saw Indore getting transformed from a small village into a splendid city.

Not only Indians, but the British were also in awe of her persona. A poem by Scottish poet Joanna Baillie in 1849 says,

“For thirty years her reign of peace,
The land in blessing did increase;
And she was blessed by every tongue,
By stern and gentle, old and young.
Yea, even the children at their mothers feet
Are taught such homely rhyming to repeat
“In latter days from Brahma came,
To rule our land, a noble Dame,
Kind was her heart, and bright her fame,
And Ahlya was her honoured name.”

She passed away at the age of 70, leaving behind a flourishing kingdom that was ready to play a key role in India’s future. Fittingly, in her honor, Indore’s domestic airport is named “Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport”. Her reign was a proof that whether India acknowledges its women superheroes or not, they will leave their indelible mark on Indian history for the good.

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You May have a Twin stranger: List of Indian Cities that Have Doppelganger Abroad!

Here is a list of cities in India which have doppelgangers in all over the world

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Indian Cities Doppelganger
Kochi in Kerela has its namesake in Japan as well. Pixabay

July 12, 2017: 

Do you know there are myriads of cities in India which have doppelganger name in the abroad as well? No. Well, here is a list of cities in India which have a doppelganger in all over the world.

KOCHI: Kerela/Japan

Kochi, alias Cochin, in India is popularly known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. The place was incipiently established as a castle town encompassing the seat of the lords of Province of Tosa, the Kochi Castle.

PATNA: Bihar/Scotland

Patna in India is the oldest inhabited places in the world. Previously, it was known as Patliputra. Patna has also been the home to famous astrologists and scholars including Chanakya, Aryabhata, Kalidasa, and Panini. There is another Patna in Scotland that got its name from the Indian city itself. William Fullarton, the founder of the village was the son of a person who served the East India Company.

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh/United States

Lucknow is the capital of Indian state Uttar Pradesh and the largest cultural hub in the state. Its namesake in the United States is a small unincorporated community in Pennsylvania. It is a 5,500-acre mountain estate mansion and surprisingly Lucknow in the United States is also named after the city of Lucknow in India.

BARODA: Gujarat/United States

Vadodara in Gujarat, aka Baroda, is popular for furniture, textiles, handicraft items and food. While its namesake in the United States is a 1.7 sq km village established by Michael Houser. The name was suggested by CH Pindar, a constructor on the railroad born in Baroda.

INDORE: Madhya Pradesh/United States

Indore in Madhya Pradesh has a marvellous past. While Indore in the United States is an unincorporated community in West Virginia that derived its name from Endor, a place cited in the Hebrew Bible.

BALI: Rajasthan/Indonesia

Bali is a town located in Rajasthan on the left shore of Mithari river. The major draw of this town is forts. While Bali in Indonesia houses several islands including Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, and Nusa Ceningan. It is also a popular tourist destination across the world.

KOLKATA: West Bengal/United States

Kolkata, now called Calcutta is the capital of West Bengal. It is also called as ‘Cultural Capital of India’ and ‘City of furious, creative energy’. While its namesake in Ohio state of the US and was designed in 1810.

SALEM: Tamil Nadu/United States

Salem in Tamil Nadu is girded by hilly regions that were part of Chera dynasty and a trade route with the Roman empire. Its namesake is a city in the US state of Massachusetts which is popular for its Witch trials. Contrastingly,‘Salem’ in Hebrew means ‘Peace’.

–  by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94