Miraj

Miraj

[meer-ahj]

Although unrelated, "Miraj" can also refer to the Islamic tradition according Muhammad's ascent to heaven. See: Isra and Mi'raj.Also unrelated "Miraj" represents a category of optical illusions that occur in the desert in Romanian

Miraj (Marathi: मिरज) is a town in southern Maharashtra, India. The history of the town dates back to the early 10th century, and the town is known for its rich tradition of Hindustani classical music as well as a reputation for religious harmony. It served as a major station and Jagir for Adilshah of Bijapur.It was the capital of erstwhile princely state Miraj Senior. It is one of the leading medical centres in India.

History

At the turn of first millennium, Miraj passed on to the Silaharas of Kolhapur when that house declared independence towards the close of the tenth century Jattiga II (C. 1000-1020 A.D.) the 4th ruler of this dynasty has been mentioned by his son Narasimha (C. 1050 to 1075 A..D.) his Miraj plates dated Saka 980 or A.D. 1058'. He was succeeded by Gonka who has been described in the same plates as the conqueror of Karahata (Karhad), Mairinja Miraj and Konkan. But the Hotur inscription of 1037 A.D. records that Panhala, the capital city of Silahara Jattiga II was conquered by Cavan-rasa, the general of Chalukya Jayasirhha II. The Miraj plates of 1024 A.D. reveal that Jayasimha II issued the grant when he was in his victorious camp near Kolhapur. This goes to establish that Panhala was captured before 1024 A.D. either at the end of Jattiga's reign or in the beginning of his son Gonka's.It seems that the Silaharas were allowed to retain their territory. There is no doubt that Gonka submitted to Chalukya power but the fact that he is described as the conqueror of Konkan may mean that either he was appointed as the administrator or was allowed to penetrate beyond his territory. In 1216 A.D. Miraj along with other territories of Kolhapiir Silaharas fell to the onslaught of the Yadavas who retained their hold up to A.D. 1318 when it passed on to the Bahamanis. We have it on the authority of the Tazkirat-ul-Mulk that Hasan, the founder of the Bahamani dynasty was in the employ of one Saikh Muhammad Junaidi at Gangi near Miraj where he found a treasure with which he raised an army, marched on Miraj and captured the fort after defeating and imprisoning one Rani Durgavati who was its subhedar. In view of his first victory the name of the town was changed to Mubarakabad at the wishes of Saikh Muhammad. This event took place in 748 Hijri or A.D. 1347.

Fortress

It is not known who built the Miraj fortress. Some say that it was built by one of the Bahamani Sultans; but this view is untenable as the fort was in existence even before the establishment of the Bahamani dynasty. Bahamam Sultans may have only carried some repairs. The first mention of Miraj in Ferista occurs in the account of the revolt of Bahadur Gilani in A.D. 1494, which was quelled by Sultan Muhammad II (1452-1515). The Sultan had received a complaint from his counterpart in Gujarat and wanted to punish him. He invested the fort which was surrendered by its governor Buna Naik after some resistance. He was honourably received by the Sultan. The troops of Bahadur Gilani were given the alternative of either joining his own or leaving the fort. It is said that nearly 2,000 cavalry left the fort and joined Bahadur Gilani. Those of whom preferred to enter Sultan's service were accepted and rewarded suitably. Whether this leniency shown towards the troops was an indication of the nobility of character of the Sultan or was the result of the growing weakness in the Sultanate following Gavan's death may he best left to the imagination of the reader. Be that as it may, the importance of Miraj as a base of operations for the expeditions against South Konkan and Goa was clearly envisaged by the Bahamani kings and there are not a few references to the place being used as a camping ground for the purpose.

Disintegration of the Empire

The Bahamani empire disintegrated due to a succession of weak rulers who could not put down the turbulence of the powerful provincial governors. Thus in 1490 the governors of Ahmadnagar, Golconda, Bijapur etc., declared their independence and on the fall of the Bahainani dynasty, Miraj passed into the hands of Bijapuri Sultans. All Adil Sah was kept there under surveillance during the later years of the reign of Ibrahim Adil Sab, his father, and on the death of the latter it was turned into a point d' appui in the operations undertaken to possess the throne. The garrison took part afterwards, in the revolt of Ismail against Brahim Adil Sah III. At this time Sivaji was fast rising into prominence and had carved out a separate principality at the cost of the Muslim dynasties that were gradually waning in power and losing hold over their dominions. His growing power was felt by the Mughals and the Bijapuris who relentlessly tried to suppress him though without any success. Within 18 day's of Afzal Khan's (Bijapuri sardar) death at Pratapgad, Panhala, the capital of the western Adil Sahi district was taken hy Annaji Datto through negotiations on 28rh November, 1659. Panhala and tlie surrounding district of Kolhapur, Vasantgad, Khelna, Rangna and other minor forts quickly capitulated. While yet Sivaji was camping at Kolhapur be sent Netaji Palkar to besiege Miraj fort. In January 1660 Chh. Shivaji Maharaj arrived in person to press the siege which had continued for two to three months, when news of Siddi Johar and Fazal Khan invading his territories urgently called him to Panhalgad. Under these circumstances Sivaji had to give up the siege and make arrangement to meet the challenge posed by the Bijapuri Sardars. In the regnal period of Samhhaji, Maratha generals Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav had chosen the tort of Miraj as a safe custody for their families while they were engaged in carrying on a guerilla warfare against the invading hordes of Aurangzeb, the Moghal Emperor. With the fall of Bijapur in 1687 Miraj passed into the hands of the Moghals and remained so until it was captured by Sahu on 3 October 1739 in a personally led campaign lasting for two years. Thus the remnant of the old Moghal power almost bordering on the Maratha capital was wiped once for and all. It was one of the many pockets of the Moghals which threatened the Maratha dominions, the others being Rayagad, Gopalgad, Govindgad, etc. In 1761 the fort of Miraj with some thimus was assigned by Peshva Madhavrav to Govidarav Patwardhan for the maintenance of troops. The forefathers of Miraj, the Patwardhan sardars made their names in compagins that the Peshawas led against Haider & Tipu Masore.

Modern history

Miraj came under the rule of Peshwas. The Patwardhan dynasty ruled the state as a principality until March 8, 1948.Prior to 1948 it was capital of princly state of Miraj Senior. It was one of the full powered princely states of British India, under the southern division of the Bombay Presidency, forming part of the southern Mahratta Jagirs, and later the Deccan States Agency. The State of Miraj was founded before 1750 and was the former capital of the pre-British Patwardhan teritorry that extended between the rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra. In 1820, the Patwardhan territory was divided between a Senior and Junior branch. The territory of both branches was widely scattered among other native states and British districts.

The rulers, of the Patwardhan dynasty, used the title of Raja, and were of the same clan that ruled nearby Budhgaon, Jamkhandi, Tasgaon, Kurindwad, Madavpur (Kurundwad Junior) and Wadi. Raja Govind Rao Patwardhan, 1st Ruler of Miraj, began as a commandant of the body of horse, distinguished himself in several expeditions against the Nizam of Hyderabad and Hyder Ali of Mysore, established the Maratha ascendancy in southern India and pushed the Maratha conquests to the frontier of Mysore.

Miraj Senior measured 339 square miles in area. According to the 1901 census, the population was 81,467. In 1901, the state enjoyed revenue estimated at £23,000-, and paid £800 in tribute to the British Raj. The Raja resided in the town of Miraj (population 18,425 in 1901), which was a junction on the Southern Mahratta Railway.

Miraj Senior acceded to the Dominion of India on March 8 1948 and is currently a part of Maharashtra state.Miraj is also famous for its musicians, and doctors.

Noted Personalities from Miraj

Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, Pt Bhatkhande and Heerabai Badodekar are famous artists from miraj.

Bal Gandharva made his debut performance at HansPrabha Theatre in Miraj the same place has been reconstructed and named after him.

Interesting facts

Miraj is also one of the very important junctions on the Central Railway. Until recently, it was the only junction to have all three rail gauges - broad gauge, narrow gauge and metre gauge.

One special thing to be added- it has a very high doctor to man ratio (2 medical and a Homeopathic medical college and more than a hundred private clinics and hospitals). Hence it is jokingly called a 3 D city. Dust, Donkeys N Doctors. Miraj's fame lies in its large number of hospitals and a medium sized string instrument industry. Miraj is famous for its religious harmony even though it had large number of Muslims. It hardly had any religious riot. Even today both Hindus and Muslims in large numbers pray together at its Khvaja Samsuddin Mira Saheb dargah. Urus is celebrated there every year.

The Ganesh Chaturthi Festival is very popular here and more than 10,000 people participate in the Ganpati Visarjan Miravnuk. Many big "Swagat Kamani" are erected for the occasion. Navratri Festival is also famous.

Religious places of historic importance

1)Shree Maidan Datta Mandir (130 yrs old)

2) Santa Venabai Math (350 yrs old )

3) Ganpati Mandir - Sanglikar Mala. (300 YRS Old )

4) Dargah Hazrat Khwaja Shamna Mira Khwaja Mohammed Mira (700 yrs old)

5) Ambabai Temple, Brahmanpuri (250 yrs old)

6) Annabuva devalay 100 years old

7) Rosary Church Near Railway Station { 102 Years old}

External links

References

The district gazettier of Sangli, 1960 freely available on the net.

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