History | Culture | Festival
Human existence around present day Nagpur city can be traced back 3000 years to 8th century BC. Mehir burial sites at Drugdhamna (near Mhada colony) indicate megalithic culture existed around Nagpur and is still followed in present times. The first reference to
the name Nagpur is found in a 10th century copper-plate inscription discovered at Devali in the neighbouring Wardha district. The inscription is a record of grant of a village situated in the visaya (district) of Nagpura-Nandivardhana during time of Rastrakuta king Krsna III in the Saka year 862 (940 CE). Towards the end of third century King Vindhyasakti is known to have ruled the Nagpur region. In the 4th century Vakataka Dynasty ruled over the Nagpur region and surrounding areas and had good relations with the Gupta Empire. The Vakataka king Prithvisena I moved his capital to Nagardhan (ancient name Nandivardhana), located at 28 kilometers (17 mi) from Nagpur. After the Vakatakas, the region came under the rule of the Hindu kingdoms of the Badami Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, and finally the Yadavas. In AD 1296 Allauddin Khilji invaded the Yadava Kingdom after capturing Deogiri, after which the Tughlaq Dynasty came to power in 1317. In the 17th century, the Mughal Empire conquered the region; however, regional administration was carried out by the Gond kingdom of Deogarh-Nagpur in the Chhindwara district of the modern-day state of Madhya Pradesh.
Recent history ascribes the founding of Nagpur to Bakht Buland, a prince of the kingdom of Deogarh-Nagpur. The next Raja of Deogarh was Chand Sultan, who resided principally in the country below the hills, fixing his capital at Nagpur which he made a walled town. On Chand Sultan's death in 1739, Wali Shah, an illegitimate son of Bakht Buland, usurped the throne and Chand Sultan's widow invoked the aid of the Maratha leader Raghuji Bhonsle of Berar in the interest of her sons Akbar Shah and Burhan Shah. The usurper was put to death and the rightful heirs placed on the throne. After 1743, a series of Maratha rulers came to power, starting with Raghoji Bhonsle, who conquered the territories of Deogarh, Chanda and Chhattisgarh by 1751.
In 1803 Raghoji II joined the Peshwas against the British in the Second Anglo-Maratha War, but the British prevailed. After Raghoji II's death in 1816, his son Parsaji was deposed and murdered by Mudhoji II. Despite the fact that he had entered into a treaty with the British in the same year, Mudhoji joined the Peshwa in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1817 against the British, but suffered a defeat at Sitabuldi in present-day Nagpur city. The fierce battle was a turning point as it laid the foundations of the downfall of the Bhonsles and paved the way for the British acquisition of Nagpur city. Mudhoji was deposed after a temporary restoration to the throne, after which the British placed Raghoji III the grandchild of Raghoji II, on the throne. During the rule of Raghoji III (which lasted till 1840), the region was administered by a British resident. In 1853, the British took control of Nagpur after Raghoji III died without leaving an heir.
Central Provinces and Berar, 1903. Princely states are shown in yellow.
From 1853 to 1861, the Nagpur Province (which consisted of the present Nagpur region, Chhindwara, and Chhatisgarh) became part of the Central Provinces and Berar and came under the administration of a commissioner under the British central government, with Nagpur as its capital. Berar was added in 1903. Tata group started the country's first textile mill at Nagpur, formally known as Central India Spinning and Weaving Company Ltd. The company was popularly known as "Empress Mills" as it was inaugurated on 1 January 1877, the day queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.
The Non-cooperation movement was launched in the Nagpur session of 1920. The city witnessed a Hindu–Muslim riot in 1923 which had profound impact on K. B. Hedgewar, who in 1925 founded the RSS, a Hindu nationalist organization in Nagpur with an idea of creating a Hindu nation. After the 1927 Nagpur riots RSS gained further popularity in Nagpur and the organization grew nationwide.
After Indian Independence in 1947, Central Provinces and Berar became a province of India, and in 1950 became the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, again with Nagpur as its capital. However when the Indian states were reorganized along linguistic lines in 1956, the Nagpur region and Berar were transferred to Bombay state, which in 1960 was split between the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. At a formal public ceremony on October 14, 1956 in Nagpur B. R. Ambedkar along with his supporters converted to Buddhism starting Dalit Buddhist movement which is still active. In 1994, the city witnessed its most violent day in modern times in form of Gowari stampede deaths.
Nagpur completed 300 years of establishment in the year 2002. A big celebration was organized to mark the event.
The city contains people from other Indian states as well as people belonging to the world's major faiths, and yet is
known for staying calm during communal conflicts in India. Nagpur plays host to cultural events throughout the year. Cultural and literary societies in Nagpur include Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh (for development of Marathi), Vidarbha Rashtrabhasha Prachar Samiti (promotion and spreading Hindi) and Vidarbha Hindi Sahitya Sammelan (for promoting Hindi). Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, the conference on Marathi Literature were held twice in Nagpur city. The South Central Cultural Centre also sponsors cultural events in Nagpur city, such as the Orange City Craft Mela and Folk Dance Festival, Vidarbhawhich is noted for its numerous folk-dances. Newspapers are published from Nagpur in Marathi, English and Hindi. In addition, the Government of Maharashtra organizes a week long Kalidas Festival, a series of music and dance performances, by national level artists.
Festivals bring with it a new life. Nagpur is a city, which has people of different religious belief. As such the Nagpur festivals witnesses a complete harmony among the people of various religions who forget their religious differences and join hands to participate in the festivals. The festivals of Nagpur bring an absolute happiness in the life of the people there.
Hindu Festivals of Nagpur:
The Hindus of Nagpur celebrate a large number of festivals throughout the year. The New Year of the Hindus starts on the first day of Chaitra. This festival at Nagpur are celebrated by setting up a bamboo pole having silver or brass pot at the top of it and a new cloth piece is fastened to it. It is considered to be an auspicious day for starting off a new thing. Ram Navami is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur on the 9th day of the same month to celebrate the birthday of Lord Rama. Hanuman Jayanti is held in Nagpur on a full moon day of Chaitra month to celebrate Lord Hanuman's birth anniversary. Lord Krishna's birth anniversary is celebrated in the month of Sravana. Another very important festival in Nagpur is the Ganesh Chaturthi, which witnesses a number of cultural performances to mark the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha. The people also carry out Dussehra with extreme merriment for a continuous period of nine days. This celebration marks the victory of good over evil. The festival of Diwali takes place after the completion of 20 days of the Dusshera festival. People illuminate their house with candles and lights. Children burn crackers. People distribute sweets among relatives. Holi is another festival in Nagpur which witnesses people smearing colors on one another.
Muslim and Christian Festivals in Nagpur:
Muharram is the major festival of the Muslims of Nagpur. Besides the other Muslim festivals of Nagpur are Id-ul-Fitr or Ramzan Id, Bakr Id (Id-ul-Azha or Id-ul-Zoha). The Christian community of Nagpur celebrates the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ on 25th December every year with extreme devotion. They go to the church on this day to offer their prayers.
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