“This earth has seen so much destruction. Its body is pierced with innumerable wounds. Yet Hyderabad is unmatched.” These lines about Hyderabad belong to Raghavendra Alampuri. You can put Aurangabad in place of Hyderabad. Everything else is the same.
Hyderabad and Aurangabad have many things in common. Both cities are known for their multi-colored cultural ethos.
Aurangabad was once the center of power in the Deccan. It has been the capital of many empires.
When the Nizam laid the foundation of his rule, Aurangabad gained considerable importance. Although Hyderabad was the capital of the Nizam, Aurangabad was respected as a sub-capital.
Since it was the largest and important city on the outskirts of his kingdom under the Nizam’s rule, it also had a special status.
But today Hyderabad and Aurangabad are both in the headlines once again. There is a demand to rename Hyderabad as ‘Bhagyanagar’ and Aurangabad’s name ‘Sambhajinagar’.
‘Love Aurangabad’ and ‘Super Sambhajinagar’
The debate over the renaming of Aurangabad City and Aurangabad district arises every now and then.
Recently, sign-boards written ‘Love Aurangabad’ and ‘Super Sambhajinagar’ were seen everywhere in Aurangabad city.
This once again gave rise to the controversy over the name of the city and many political parties jumped into it.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) says that ‘Shiv Sena has been demanding to change the name of Aurangabad for many years. The Shiv Sena is now in power in the state, so it should fulfill this demand by renaming the city as Sambhajinagar.
On the other hand, the Congress has made it clear that ‘it will strongly oppose any move to rename the city’.
There is a difference between the Congress and Shiv Sena running a coalition government on this matter. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said that ‘the coalition government is working on the agenda of secularism and Mughal emperor Aurangzeb does not fit into this line. He was not secular.
Thackeray has consistently called Aurangabad as ‘Sambhajinagar’ in his recent statements, due to which the Congress party has objected.
The Congress party says that this issue is not a priority for the coalition government. This can be discussed. But the Congress party is against the politics of name change which is likely to create a rift in the society. However, the Congress Party has also clarified that they have no objection to Sambhaji Maharaj.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has supported the ongoing campaigns to rename Aurangabad.
Shiv Sena has also cleared its stance by taking this in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. Saamna’s editorial reads, ‘Balasaheb Thackeray named Aurangabad as’ Sambhajinagar ‘and people accepted it.’
But Aurangabad has often been in the limelight due to local politics. If we look at the urban constituency, it becomes clear why political parties are giving it so much importance. Why the issue of the name of this city comes up again and again.
Actually, Aurangabad has the largest Hindu population, but the Muslim population is also not less.
Perhaps this is the reason that the issue of changing its name from political aims has been tossed loudly.
Rajtadag to Aurangabad
Dulari Qureshi, a retired professor and history scholar living in Aurangabad, says, “Generally, the known history of Aurangabad has been limited to the Yadav dynasty but there is evidence of the time of the Satavahana period.”
He told the BBC that ‘Among the inscriptions in the Caves of Kanheri, the Satavahanas have mentioned Aurangabad as Rajdadag. These caves are in Aurangabad University (Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad). Actually, it was an important center on a trade route. This commercial route passed through Ujjain-Mahishmati-Burhanpur-Ajanta-Bhokardan-Rajtadag-Pratishthan-ter.
Devagiri i.e. Daulatabad became a prominent place during the rule of the Yadav dynasty. Later Alauddin Khilji had established his dominion over the fort of Daulatabad.
In 1327, Mohammed bin Tughlaq issued a decree to take the capital Delhi to Daulatabad. A large number of people came from here. But in 1334, he changed his mind and decided to keep Delhi as the capital.
In 1499 Daulatabad came under the control of the Nizamshahi of Ahmednagar. For the next 137 years Daulatabad remained in the possession of the Nizam.
Construction work in Daulatabad during Tughlaq
Since Mohammed bin Tughlaq wanted to move his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, he built inns, wells and mosques at many places along the way. Aurangabad was one such place.
Dulari Qureshi says that Tughlaq had built a mosque, well and inn at a place in Aurangabad. Today that place is called ‘Juna Bazaar’.
He told, “Earlier it was called Jauna Bazaar, because Mohammad bin Tughlaq also had a name as Jauna Khan. This ‘Jauna Bazaar’ has now become ‘Juna Bazaar’.”
Khadki and Chikalathana
Malik Ambar was the Prime Minister and commander of the Nizam of Ahmednagar. He defeated the Mughals in the Battle of Chikalthana.
Malik Ambar loved this place very much. He decided to develop Khadki village here and this laid the first foundation of Aurangabad city.
Malik Ambar built roads, bridges and canals for water supply here. They also built palaces like Naukhanda.
He also built a church for the Portuguese (Malik Ambar came into contact with the Portuguese during his administrative work in Janjira).
Survival despite demolition
Mughal emperor Jahangir attacked Khadki in 1616 and destroyed the city.
Badshah’s forces created so much destruction that it took many decades for the city to come to its senses. Malik Ambar tried to raise it again, but he died in 1626.
Fatehnagar to Khuzista Foundation
After a few years Malik Ambar’s son Fateh Khan came for some time to Khadki.
History scholar Pushkar Sohni says, “They renamed the city – Fatehnagar. But Mughal emperor Shah Jahan made Aurangzeb the Subedar of the Deccan in 1636. At that time the city was renamed – Khuzista Foundation.”
After 1657, the Khuzista foundation was named Aurangabad. Aurangabad is as important as Lahore, Delhi and Burhanpur in Mughal history.
Aurangzeb’s favorite city
Initially, Aurangzeb stayed in Daulatabad for some time but later he moved to Khuzista Foundation.
He liked this place, so a large number of colonies were settled to live there. Bawanpura was settled in the city. It was fortified. Later it had the distinction of becoming the capital of Deccan. Like Malik Ambar, Aurangzeb also built 11 canals.
Dulari Qureshi explains that many travelers have described the beauty of this city.
He said, “Aurangabad has been described as a city where the air is full of fragrance, where the water is like nectar. Aurangzeb came here in 1681 and then he never left the Deccan. King Aurangzeb here In Khulatabad, he was asked to build a simple mausoleum and plant a basil plant on it. “
After Aurangzeb’s death, Mughal rule in the Deccan could never become as powerful as before.
The Nizam Asafjah topper, who came here as a Subedar, rebelled against the Mughals and established his rule. But he too remained the state capital of Aurangabad.
The third Nizam established his capital at Hyderabad in 1761. Till then Aurangabad had remained the capital of many emperors.
Hyderabad may have become the new capital, but Aurangabad continues to enjoy the honor of the sub-capital.
When the state of Hyderabad was merged with India in 1948, the area of Marathwada along with Aurangabad also became part of the Indian Union.
When did the effort to make Aurangabad Sambhajinagar begin?
The Shiv Sena won 27 seats in the Aurangabad municipal elections in 1988. After this, Bala Saheb Thackeray addressed a victory rally at the cultural congregation ground. In this rally, he announced that Aurangabad will be named Sambhajinagar.
After this, Shiv Sena workers still call Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar. It is also written in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Sambhajinagar.
Every time the issue of changing the name of Aurangabad in municipal elections arises and it becomes an election issue.
Approval received during the first Shiv Sena-BJP government
In fact, in 1995, a meeting of Aurangabad municipality was passed a resolution to make Aurangabad Sambhajinagar.
After this it was sent to the state government. In 1995, there was a Shiv Sena-BJP coalition government in Maharashtra.
At that time, former MP Chandrakat Khaire was the guardian minister of Aurangabad. Former speaker of the assembly Haribhau Bagde was the guardian minister of Jalna district.
He proposed to rename Aurangabad in the cabinet meeting, which was accepted.
Chandrakant Khaire said in an earlier conversation with BBC Marathi, “When the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition government was in 1995, the proposal was approved by the cabinet to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar. We had renamed it Sambhajinagar. But someone appealed to the court. The High Court decided in our favor. The Supreme Court also decided in our favor. But in the meantime, our coalition lost the election and the case for Aurangabad was suspended. “
When we asked Khaire why the city of Aurangabad should be named Sambhajinagar? So he said that it should not be named as a ‘dictator’ ruler like Aurangzeb.
He said, “At one time the name of this city was Khadki. Aurangzeb changed its name to Aurangabad. Aurangzeb kept Sambhaji Maharaj imprisoned in Soneri Mahal for four months. He was prosecuted here. He was very important to us. “So that’s why we want to name it Sambhajinagar.”
In 1996, the Shiv Sena-BJP cabinet approved the name Sambhajinagar. But then the councilor of Aurangabad municipality Mushtaq Ahmed challenged this decision in the courts. In 2018, Mushtaq Ahmed spoke to BBC Marathi about this.
He had said, “In 1996, the then state government had issued a notification saying that if a person wants to register suggestions or objections about the name of Aurangabad, Sambhajinagar can be done. We have decided to change the name in this notification. Challenging the appeal was filed in the High Court. But the Court turned down the plea saying that the matter is still confined to the notification. The appeal is pre-matured. “
Says Mushtaq, “We appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court accepted the petition and lambasted the state government. A judge rebuked the state government saying that instead of changing the names of cities, they should focus on their development.” But before further hearing, the Congress-NCP coalition government came into the state. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar Notification canceled. With this, our petition filed in the Supreme Court was naturally dismissed. “