History of The City36,330 views
The Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project is an initiative by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to develop the Sabarmati riverfront in the city of Ahmedabad, India. It is being developed by the Sabarmati River Front Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) that was established in May 1997 with a seed capital of 10 million (US$182,000) and was charged with the responsibility of developing the approximately 10.4km stretch along the river in the city. The project has encountered several delays due to concerns regarding water level, flooding, rehabilitation of displaced slum dwellers and met with severe opposition from activists involved with slum rehabilitation. However, the process of obtaining land for the development, through clearance and reclamation has been substantially completed. It is also the largest slum displacing project of the city till date.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the area around Ahmedabad has been inhabited since the 11th century, when it was known as Ashapalli or Ashaval. At that time, Karandev I, the Solanki ruler of Anhilwara (modern Patan), waged a successful war against the Bhil king of Ashaval, and established a city called Karnavati located at the present time area of Maninagar close to the river Sabarmati. Solanki rule lasted until the 13th century, when Gujarat came under the control of the Vaghela dynasty of Dholka and Karnavati was conquered by the Sultanate of Delhi. In 1411, the rule of the Muzaffarid dynasty was established in Gujarat. According to legend, Sultan Ahmed Shah, while camping on the banks of the River Sabarmati, saw a hare chasing a dog. Impressed by this act of bravery, the Sultan, who had been looking for a place to build his new capital, decided to locate the capital at this forest area close by to Karnavati right on the river bank and christened it Ahmedabad. The incident is popularly described in a one liner saying “Jab kutte pe sassa aaya, tab Badshah ne shaher basaya”. When the hare chased the dog, seeing that act of bravery then the Emperor built the City.
In 1487, Mahmud Begada, the grandson of Ahmed Shah, fortified the city with an outer wall 10 km (6 miles) in circumference and consisting of twelve gates, 189 bastions and over 6,000 battlements. Ahmedabad was ruled by the Muzaffarid dynasty until 1573 when Gujarat was conquered by the Mughal emperor Akbar. During the Mughal reign, Ahmedabad became one of the Empire’s thriving centres of trade, mainly in textiles, which were exported to as far as Europe. The Mughal ruler Shahjahan spent the prime of his life in the city, sponsoring the construction of the Moti Shahi Mahal in Shahibaug. During a drought, the Deccan Famine of 1630-32 affected the city, as did famines in 1650 and 1686. Ahmedabad remained the provincial headquarter of the Mughals until 1758, when Mughals surrendered the city to the Marathas. During Maratha governance, the city lost some of its past glory, and was at the center of contention between two Maratha clansâ€”The Peshwa of Poona and the Gaekwad of Baroda. The British East India Company took over the city in 1818 as a part of the conquest of India. A military cantonment was established in 1824 and a municipal government in 1858. In 1864, a railway link between Ahmedabad and Mumbai (then Bombay) was established by the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway (BB&CI), making Ahmedabad an important junction in the traffic and trade between northern and southern India. Large numbers of people migrated from rural areas to work in textile mills, establishing a robust industry.
The Sabarmati Ashram, home of Mahatma Gandhi
The Indian independence movement developed strong roots in the city when, in 1915, Mahatma Gandhi established two ashrams â€” the Kochrab Ashram near Paldi in 1915 and the Satyagraha Ashram (now Sabarmati Ashram) on the banks of the Sabarmati in 1917 â€” that would become centers of intense nationalist activities. During the mass protests against the Rowlatt Act in 1919, textile workers burned down 51 government buildings across the city in protest at a British attempt to extend wartime regulations after the First World War. In the 1920s, textile workers and teachers went on strike, demanding civil rights and better pay and working conditions. In 1930, Gandhi initiated the Salt Satyagraha from Ahmedabad by embarking from his ashram on the famous Dandi Salt March. The city administration and economic institutions were rendered functionless by the large masses of people who took to the streets in peaceful protests in the early 1930s, and again in 1942 during the Quit India movement. Following independence and the partition of India in 1947, the city was scarred by intense communal violence that broke out between Hindus and Muslims.
The skyline of Ahmedabad filled with smoke as buildings and shops are set on fire during the Gujarat riots
Ahmedabad became the capital of the new state of Gujarat after the bifurcation of the State of Bombay on 1 May 1960. During that period, a large number of educational and research institutions were founded in the city, making it a major center of higher education, science and technology. Ahmedabad’s economic base was diversified with the establishment of heavy and chemical industries in its vicinity around the same period. But the growth in the next two decades was punctuated by political events in and around the city. In 1974, Ahmedabad occupied the centre stage in national politics with the launch of the Nav Nirman agitation â€” a protest against a 20% hike in the hostel food fees at the L.D. College of Engineering that snowballed into a mass agitation against general corruption to remove Chimanbhai Patel, then-chief minister of Gujarat. In the 1980s, a reservation policy was introduced in the country, which led to anti-reservation protests in 1981 and 1985. The protests witnessed violent clashes between people belonging to various castes. On 26 January 2001 a devastating earthquake struck the city, centred near Bhuj, measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale. As many as 50 multistory buildings collapsed, killing 752 people and devastating the city’s infrastructure. The following year, Gurajat violence between Hindus and Muslims spread to Ahmedabad, paralysing the city for more than a month. The crisis resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,044 people across the state. The displacement of thousands of Muslims led to the erection of refugee camps around the city. On 26 July 2008 a series of seventeen bomb blasts rocked the city, killing and injuring several people.
In recent years, the effects of liberalization of the Indian economy has energized the city’s economy towards tertiary sector activities like commerce, communication, construction activities. The city has witnessed the establishment of scientific and service industries, the expansion of the information technology sector, and significant improvements in transportation and communications. Ahmedabad’s population is growing, which has resulted in a construction and housing boom.