History of Solapur
It has been said that Solapur came into existence with the arrival of Agasthya, the first Aryan who crossed Vindhya Mountains and settled on the banks of Godavari. Other sages also followed him and established their hermitages in various regions of the South. Various dynasties like Andhrabhratyas, Chalukyas, Rashtrkutas, Devagiri Yadavas and Bahamins ruled Solapur in different time periods. While, the Hindu Chalukyas and Devagiri Yadavas ruled the city in early centuries, it became a part of the Bahmani and Bijapur kingdoms later. The city was also ruled by Maratha Peshwa. The most part of the Solapur fort was constructed in the possession of Adilshah of Ahemdnagar.
Evolution of the name ‘Solapur’It is believed that Solapur is derived from two words; ‘Sola’, which means sixteen and ‘pur’, which means village. It was considered that Solapur city was spread over sixteen villages including Ahmedur, Aadilpur, Fatehpur, Chapaldev, Kalaijapur, Jamarwadi, Khadarpur, Muhammadpur, Khandervkiwadi, Sandalpur, Ranapur, Shaikpur, Solapur, Sonapur, Vaidakwadi, and Sonalagi.
However, recent researches do not support this argument. According to the inscriptions of Shivayogi Shri Siddheshwar, the town was called Sonnalage and then came to be pronounced as Sonnalagi. The city was known as Sonnalagi till the period of Yadavas. According to the Sanskrit description of sake (year) 1238, which was found at Kamati in Mohol, the town was called as Sonalipur. But the inscriptions found in Solapur fort says that the town’s earlier name was Sanalpur and another inscription on the well in the fort states that the city was called as Sandalpur. The city got the name ‘Sandalpur’ during the period of Muslim. Later British rulers changed the pronunciation as ‘Sholapur’ and hence the name of the district.
History of Shri SiddharameshwarHistory of Solapur is not completed without mentioning Shri Siddharameshwar, who was a historical figure of the 12th century. Shri Sidharam was a great saint, who preached the teachings of Shri Basaweshwara. A young girl, who was inspired by the teachings of Shri Sidharam, wanted to marry him. But, he denied her request and gave permission to marry his Yogadanda.
People in Solapur celebrated the same marriage function every year for three days on Bhogi, Sankrat and Kinkrant. This festival, which is known as Gadda Jatra, falls around January 14th every year and lasts for fifteen days during this period. Sidharama, who is considered as one of the six prophets of Lingayat religion, was a great contributor to this religion. He entombed himself alive at Solapur.
History of freedom struggle in SolapurSolapur has a unique and important place in the history of Indian freedom struggle. The citizens of Solapur tasted the freedom before independence, though only for three days from 9 to 11 May 1930.
Let us brief the history like this. When Gandhiji was arrested in May 1930, protests were held throughout India against British rule. The masses conducted large-scale rallies and protests, in which many were killed in police shootouts. This had an agitated reaction and the furious mob attacked the police stations. Looking at the chaotic situation, the Congress Party leaders had to take the responsibility of maintaining the law, order and security of citizens. Senior leader Tulsidas Jadhav along with other congressmen took this responsibility for three days from 9 to 11 May 1930. Tourists today can see a statue of Shri Tulsidas Jadhav, which was built in February 2009, at Mechanic Chowk.
Solapur Municipal Council is also an important historical place, as it is the first municipal council of India to hoist national flag on any government building in 1930. Mallappa Warad, a very close associate of Lokmanya Tilak, one of the ten members of ‘Chamber of Merchants’ under Queen Victoria and one of the first ones to bring the farming tractor in India, established the municipal co-operation building. He wished to use the building for some public purpose and thus the building was made the municipal council.
Freedom fighters of Solapur, being inspired by Dhandi March of Mahatma Gandhi, decided to hoist the national flag on the Solapur Municipal Council building. Shri Annasaheb Bhopatkar, a senior freedom fighter of Pune, hoisted the national flag on April 5, 1930, on the Municipal Council building. This was the first time such an event occurred throughout the country and so irritated British rulers declared martial law at Solapur. They arrested many leaders like Mallappa Dhanshetti, Kurban Hussain, kisan Sarda and Jagnnath Shinde as well as many innocent citizens on false and trumped-up charges. These freedom fighters were sentenced to death on January 12, 1930. We can see the statues of these freedom fighters installed in the heart of the city as a mark of respect. The location is now recognized as “Hutatma Chowk” or “The City of Hutatmas”.
Birth of Solapur DistrictThe Solapur district was previously part of Pune, Ahmednagar and Satara districts. Though Solapur became the sub-district of Ahmednagar in 1838 joining the sub-divisions including Barshi, Madha, Mohol, Karmala, Hippargi, Indi and Muddebihal, it was abolished in 1864. In 1871, the Solapur, Barshi, Mohol, Madha and Karmala sub-divisions and two sub-divisions of Satara district; Sangola and Pandharpur were joined to form Solapur district in 1871. Malshiras Sub-division was also attached to this district in 1875. Solapur was merged to Mumbai State, when it was reorganized in 1956. The full -fledged Solapur district was formed in Maharashtra state in 1960.
Today, Solapur is one of the main business center in Maharashtra is famous for its cotton mills, power loon, handloom and Bidi industries. It is the biggest corporation in Maharashtra.