Why Ashaval?

Podcast (5.02 min) | 10 mins read

Why Ashaval?
August 20, 2019 Chaitya Shah


Why Ashaval?

‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ meaning the world is a family is the culture passed on to the world by India. It represents Indian hospitality and values. India and its people are known for their warmth and welcoming nature towards others.

I have no disapproval towards the fact that exploration and expansion to other cultures is progressive in nature; but forgetting our people, values and culture in the process is not quite right.

We feel so overwhelmed by other cultures and traditions that we tend to forget our khandvi while loving to eat Manchurian. This is where the problem lies.

As kids, we were taught about Amdavad as the city founded by Ahmedshah Badshah. True, but not exactly. Let us rewind back in history a little.

A Bhil king named the current city of ‘Amdavad’ after Ashapura Ma, as Ashaval long before Ahmedshah Badshah had found ‘the already established city’. The temple of Ashapura Ma and the bhil tekra are only a few steps away from the walled city built by Ahmedshah Badshah.

I have a strong condemnation towards the word founded. The question remains – how can you find something that was already found before? Astonishing! Isn’t it?

In various texts and books that I have read, I have found that several Jain Derasars and Jain learning centres had been established long before the invasion and foundation of the apparent establishment of the city of Ahmedabad by AhmedshahBadshah.

The town of Ashaval, with its sizeable Jain community, was absorbed into the new city of Ahmedabad as mentioned in Ahmedabad – From Royal City to Mega City by Achyout Yagnik and Suchitra Sheth and Ahmedabad – A Society in Transition (1818- 1914) by Kunjlata Shah.

Ahmedshah Badshah might have built a walled city but it cannot be claimed that he ‘founded’ the whole city. Think about this in modern times, there is an already flourishing society of bungalows and you come in and buy one plot. You then build a wall around the plot and name it as your villa. This in no context means that you have founded the whole society. You cannot claim to own the society. This is exactly what had happened.

Before Ahmedabad, there was a thriving city of Ashaval. The problem is that none of the history books mentions this directly. Therefore, it is rooted in our thought and in our textbooks as well. This is where history needs to be modified.

Maybe there was another name for the city before Ashaval but according to what we as amdavadi’s have, these records must also be taught.

The walled city of Ahmedabad was a small part of the larger region of Ashaval. This walled city of Ahmedabad was founded by Ahmedshah Badshah, but what about the expansion beyond this walled city in the last 70 years?

Logically, the walled city can be regarded as the sub-region but the main region is still to be called Ashaval. What about these other regions and the exteriors that are also a part of the current Amdavad city?

The whole city’s name is and does not have to be called Ahmedabad or Ahmadabad (apart from the walled city), it should be called Ashaval as the larger area was originally called Ashaval.

London is called London by all; be it Jews, Christians, British or Asians. The pronunciation might change but not the word. Ahmedabad or should I say Amdavad or Ahmadabad Airport or railway station is a difficult task to explain to others. How would a resident of Amdavad city mention to someone living elsewhere about where he stays? That still remains as a big question. According to Google, the city is called Ahmedabad but the Municipality (Amdavad Municipal Corporation) calls the city as Amdavad.

Can we not rename it as Ashaval? I would like to hear your view about this via DM @adiaryofacurator on Instagram.

Paris has the Eiffel Tower; London has Big Ben, Mumbai has the Gateway of India. What does our city, Amdavad have? Have you ever thought of it?

In this, Amdavad’s first fine arts based souvenir created by artist Harshil Patel, we wish to pay tribute to the people, important monuments and culture of the first World Heritage City of India, Amdavad(in gujarati) as Ashaval pic. launching on 22nd August 2019

Photos and Text © Chaitya Dhanvi Shah