(Last Updated on : 13/06/2014)
History of Ahmedabad narrates the growth of the city since fifteenth century. Ahmedabad is presently the largest city in the state of Gujarat and is located in western India on the banks of the River Sabarmati. The history of Ahmedabad states that there has been under different rulers since its creation and thus possesses a rich history. The city has been a former capital of Gujarat and has been the home to most important Indian leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel during the Indian independence movement. Ahmedabad is also the cultural and economical center of Gujarat and the seventh largest city of India.
The history of Ahmedabad entails the event during the fifteenth century, when an independent sultanate ruled by the Muslim Muzaffarid dynasty was established in Gujarat. Sultan Ahmed Shah, while camping on the banks of the Sabarmati River, saw a hare chasing a dog. The sultan was deceived by this and asked his spiritual adviser for explanation. The hermit pointed out unique characteristics in the land, which fostered such rare qualities, turned a timid hare to chase a vicious dog. Impressed by this, the sultan, who had been looking for a place to build his new capital, decided to establish the capital here and called it Ahmedabad.
History of Ahmedabad points out through several archeological evidences that the site was there from a much earlier period than that of Sultan Ahmed Shah. It was known in ancient times as Ashapalli or Ashaval. In the eleventh century the Solanki King Karandev I, ruler of Anhilwara (modern Patan), started a war against the Bhil king of Ashaval. After his victory he established a city called Karnavati on the banks Sabarmati at the site of contemporary Ahmedabad. Solanki rule lasted until the thirteenth century, when Gujarat came under the authority of the Vaghela dynasty of Dwarka.
On founding the city in 1411, Ahmed Shah invited merchants and traders to his new city, which became a flourishing commercial, trading and industrial city, with textiles as its most important goods. Wealthy Hindu and Jain merchants made up the commercial class dominating the community, eventually as the oldest and most recognized families, while Muslims were the expert weavers working for them and (until Maratha rule) the government officials finally ruling them. For centuries, the city existed without depending on feudal lords or support from a single court. A competent system of lending, banking, credit and accounting developed, and Ahmedabad financiers developed a refined banking network across the country. They had strong hands in the Mughal Court and loaned money to the ruling classes through the 16th and 17th centuries.
At the end of the thirteenth century, the Sultanate of Delhi later conquered Gujarat. In 1487 Mahmud Begada, the grandson of Ahmed Shah, fortified the city with an outer city wall six miles in perimeter and made 12 gates, 189 bastions and over 6,000 battlements to shield it from outside trespassers. The last Sultan of Ahmedabad was Muzaffar II. History of Ahmedabad says that the Mughal emperor Akbar conquered it in 1573.
During the Mughal reign, Ahmedabad became one of the empire's booming centers of trade, especially in textiles, which were exported to Europe. Jehangir, son of Akbar, visited Ahmedabad in 1617 and called it Gardabad, the city of dust. Shahjahan spent the prime of his life in the city and also built the Moti Shahi Mahal in Shahibaug. During Mughal rule, with the rise of Surat as a rival commercial center, Ahmedabad lost some of its luster, but it remained the most important city of Gujarat.
According to the history of Ahmedabad, in 1753, the armies of the Maratha generals Raghunath Rao and Damaji Gaekwad captured the city and concluded Mughal rule in Ahmedabad. A famine in 1630 and the constant power struggle between the Peshwa and the Gaekwad nearly shattered the city. Many outer reaches of the city were uninhabited and many mansions lay in carcass.
The British East India Company took over Ahmedabad in 1818. Some improvements were done, like a military cantonment was established in 1824, a municipal government in 1858, and a railway link between Ahmedabad and Bombay (Mumbai) in 1864. Ahmedabad grew rapidly, becoming an important center of trade and textile manufacturing. Gandhiji founded the Kochrab Ashram and Satyagraha Ashram on the river line of Sabarmati. During the 1920's, fabric makers and teachers proceeded with their strike, forcefully requesting for civil rights, just wage and proper working circumstances. In 1930, Gandhi dedicated headship for the Salt Satyagraha from Ahmedabad. He headed the celebrated Dandi Salt March. In 1942, during the Quit India Movement, people went for passive protestations following Gandhiji's pedagogies. After Independence toed the Partition of India in 1947, during which period communal insurgencies made the Hindus and Muslims clash among themselves in the city.
In the late 19th century, the British rulers in Ahmedabad promoted technology education. Starting in 1889, Ahmedabad financed scholarships for technical students. With no Western-oriented academic center in the city, there was no opposing political reaction to Western influences. Schools for girls, primarily for those in the upper classes, were established in the mid-19th century. The modern history of Ahmedabad tells of the city becoming a state capital as a result of the bifurcation of the state of Bombay into two states of Maharashtra and Gujarat on May 1 1960. On 26 January 2001, a devastating earthquake occurred near Bhuj, measuring 6.9 on the richter scale and brought massive loss to the city. As many as 50 multistoried buildings collapsed and 752 people died. In February and March 2002, Ahmedabad witnessed communal riots as an outcome of the burning of a train full of Hindu pilgrims at Godhra. History of Ahmedabad has witnessed many such tragedies, along with some superb progress in the domains of education, technology development and business.