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Punyashlok Devi Ahilyabai Holkar is Epitome of women’s Potential capability – Sarsanghchalak Ji

This year is the 300th birth anniversary of Punyashlok Devi Ahilyabai Holkar. For us, her personality is an ideal even in the present situation. Unfortunately, she got widowhood at a young age. Despite being a single woman, she did not just take care of a bigger state but made it bigger; not just extended the boundaries but governed it with the principles of Suraj. She has been the ideal of what a ruler should be. Punyashlok is the prefix used for her name. Punyashlok is a ruler who frees his/her people from all types of paucities and miseries. This is how a ruler is free from all the debt of his/her people by fulfilling his/her duties.
In reality, Devi Ahilyabai was one of the visionary ideal leaders of those days. She established industries to create employment opportunities, and laid the foundations of those industries so strong, that the textile industry of Maheshwar thrives even today, providing livelihoods for many.
She took care of everyone, especially the once who were the most vulnerable and marginalised. She reformed the tax system of her state to make it people-friendly and looked after the farmers. Her state was a model of good-governance in every sense of the term. She was always concerned about her people like a mother does, owing to this, she would have been known as Devi Ahilyabai. I am saying this with firm belief because, since childhood, we have been hearing her name as Devi Ahilyabai Holkar, not just Ahilyabai Holkar. She is the biggest symbol of women’s potential capabilities.
Today, we talk about empowerment of women. But, Ahilyabai has set ideal for all of us to emulate through her life by showing how capable our women are and what and how can they do everything.
Her work is special in many ways. She ruled her state skillfully. She had friendly relations with all rulers during her period. All the rulers of her neighbouring states considered her as a Devi. There was so much reverence and respect for her among the contemporary rulers. She was known for her strategic expertise (Samar-niti) to avoid any attack on her state. Raghoba Dada had come with a big army but she overcame this crisis without any conflict. This is why she was a skillful administrator, an excellent ruler, strategist and a great statesman in diplomatic duties. She took care of not only her state but also the whole country.
To strengthen the edifice of our culture, she built mandirs across the country. Despite being a ruler she never considered herself to be a ruler. She used to say, “Shri Shankar Krupe Karun – means governing state with the blessings of Bhagwan Shiv”. At many places, she built Mandirs, ghats on rivers and Dharmshalas. She did this work across Bharat. She worked on religious pilgrimages and trade routes so that people of Bharat, like earlier, could easily reach Dharmik places and also do their business without any hindrance.
Integration should be intact and enduring. She did all the visionary work and most importantly, she did it for her Dharmik faith. She did all these works using her resources.
Despite being a ruler, she lived a simple life. So, we have a picture of Punyashlok Devi Ahilyabai in front of us — a woman ruler, an ideal woman who took care of her state, protected the state, worked for the unity and integrity of the country, a woman who ensured social harmony, a woman, who believed in simplicity. As she is an ideal for us even in the present situation, it is a matter of great joy that this year efforts to remember her will go on throughout the country. I conclude here by wishing all the best for this great endeavor.