Beed

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  Beed
Maharashtra • India
 Beed 
Coordinates:
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District(s)| | Beed
Coordinates: Beed (also Bhir, Bīr and Bid - Marāthi/Hindi ......, Urdū ﺑﻴﮌ) is a town (city as per Indian norms) and administrative headquarters of the district of same name. Located in central Mahārāshtra state, it is the largest urban area in the district with a population of 138,096 according to 2001 census. 2007 calculations put the figures at 153,641 [1]. Nearly 36% of the district's urban population lives in the town alone. It has witnessed roughly 23% population growth during 1991 - 2001. Beed is one of the eight districts falling in the administrative region of Marāthwāda. Its official name is Beed, though; Bhir, Bīr or Bid can also be seen sometimes in official and unofficial documents and seals. Most of the books including Encyclopædia Britannica spell it Bhir.

History

Beed was a part of the 'State of Hyderābād' (Āsaf Jāhi Dynasty) of Nizāms, close allies of the British Empire in India. After independence, the state was annexed to India in September 1948 following a military action, as Mīr Osmān Alī Khan, the last Nizām was reluctant to join the Indian Union. In 1956 the state was divided on linguistic basis and Marāthi dominant region, including Beed, was given to 'Bombay Presidency'. On May 1, 1960 Bombay Presidency was divided again on the same basis and two states Mahārāshtra (Marāthi speaking) and Gujarāt (Gujarāti speaking) were created. Marāthi dominant Beed became part of Mahārāshtra [2, 3]. In August 1982, area of 43 villages from Beed district was given to a newly created Lātūr district. The town was proposed to be renamed as 'Champāvatinagar' in 1990s, which is said to be its old name.

Beed is a historical town but its early history is obscure. Historians speculate on the archaeological remains that the town might have been founded by the Yādava rulers (1173 - 1317) of 'Devagiri' (now Daulatābād). Its first historical mention came in 'Tārīkh-e-Firishta' (Gulshan-e-Ibrāhīmi), compiled in 17th century by a Persian-Indian historian Muhammad Qāsim Firishta (1560 - 1620). Firishta mentions it as 'Beer' (Bīr, Arabic for Well) referring to the arrival of emperor Muhammad Bin Tughluq and his army in the town [4]. There are several historical buildings located in the town including temples, mosques, shrines, gates and a long degenerating wall of an ancient citadel which protects a part of the old town from rare but violent floods of Bendsura River.

Being district headquarters, the town has several district and local administrative offices including district and municipal councils, district and session courts and offices of district collector and superintendent of police. Hospitals, several schools and colleges including professional training colleges are also located in the town.

Historical accounts

Beed is a historical town of possibly medieval origin but few historians have mentioned it as it never became a place of importance. Rulers, almost always, ignored it perhaps because of its unimportant location. The first historical mention of the town came in the Tārīkh-e-Firishta (Gulshan-e-Ibrāhīmi) compiled by Muhammad Qāsim Firishta (1560 - 1620), a 17th century Persian-Indian historian. Famous English translation of this book 'History of The Rise of Mahomedan Power in India' by John Briggs has been published several times in India and abroad. Firishta has given little but valuable information about the town of his time. He has also mentioned the famous Kankāleshwar temple in detail. In 1317 AH (1898), Qāzi Muhammad Qutbullāh, a resident and Qāzi of Beed wrote a detailed history of Beed town (Tārīkh-e-Bīr) in Urdū based on the accounts available at that time. Copy of this book, now can only be found in the State Archives, Library of Sālār Jang Museum and Library of Osmānia University; all in Hyderābād. However, first detailed history of the town 'Risāla Riyazul Abrār' (Garden of the Virtuous) was written by Qāzi Muhammad Fakhruddin in 1152 AH (1776). Qutbullāh has quoted this book in his Tārīkh-e-Bīr and also has referred for the accounts. In 1361 AH (1941) Syed Bāsit Ali, a resident of Beed, who was a student of intermediate in the City College of Hyderabad, wrote a brief history 'Tārīkh-e-Bīr' in Urdū. Its copies can be found in the library of Osmānia University. In recent times Abdul Hamīd Nāthāpūri wrote a history of Beed district (Zilla Beed Kī Tārīkh) in Urdū which is published in 1998 from Mumbai. His book gives accounts of mainly Beed town and is largely based on Qutbullāh's accounts and oral traditions. Historical accounts of the town can also be found in the gazette of Beed district published in 1969 by the Gazetteers Department of Beed district. This Gazette is now out of print but available online at the government of Mahārāshtra website. The Imperial Gazetteer of India, compiled during the British rule also gives some important details of the town and the district.

Foundation and name

History of foundation of the town is not known. According to legend, Beed was an inhabited place in the period of Pāndavas and Kurus as 'Durgāvati'. Its name was subsequently changed to 'Bālni'. Champāvati, who was sister of Vikramāditya, after capturing it renamed as Champāvatinagar. After that the town fell to Cālukya (Chalukya), Rāshtrkuta and Yādava dynasties before felling to the Muslim rule. However, some scholars say that it was possibly founded by the Yādava rulers of Devagiri (now Daulatābād). The history of Beed town mentions that Muhammad Bin Tughluq named it 'Bīr' (Arabic 'Well') after building a fort and several wells in and around the town [3, 6, 8]. Until recent times, wells were abundant in the town. Because of modern facilities of water supply they became less important and subsequently most of them were filled. It is unclear that as to how the present name Beed came into use. There are at least two different traditions. The first tradition says that since the district is situated at the foot of Bālāghāt Range as if it is in a hole, it was named as 'Bil' (Marāthi for hole) which in course of time corrupted to 'Bid'. According to the second tradition a 'Yavana' ruler of ancient India, named it 'Bhir' (Persian for Water) after finding water at a very low depth [3] and Bhir might have become Beed in course of time. The first tradition seems to be untrue, because with no angle, the entire district can be called a 'hole'. Only north eastern part of the district is at lower heights and who can call 10,615 km² of land mass 'a hole' just because of slightly lower heights? Furthermore, Bil (hole) in Marāthi is spoken for a deep and narrow hole not for a slight depression. The second tradition appears to have some distortion. The word 'Yavana' in early Indian literature meant a Greek or any foreigner. At a much later date it was frequently applied to the Muslim invaders of India [9]. It is quite possible that Muhammad bin Tughluq may have been referred in this tradition as Yavana ruler. Muslims invaded and ruled the Deccan for a long period and almost all Muslim invaders had Persian as their court language. It seems that Bīr was eventually pronounced 'Bhir' in the Indian languages and the people mistakenly took this Arabic word as Persian for the court language of the invaders was Persian. Until recent times after independence, the town was called 'Bīr' and 'Bhir' in the official documents [10].

Historical events

According to legend, when Rāvana, demon king of 'Lanka' (Sri Lanka), abducted Sītā (wife of Hindū deity Rāma) and was taking her to Lanka, 'Jatayu' (eagle) tried to stop him. Rāvana cut its wings and wounded Jatayu fell on the ground. When Rāma reached there in search of his beloved wife, Jatayu told him the whole story and died. The place where he died is said to be in Beed town and a temple is standing at the place, which is; according to scholars, possibly built by Yādavas of Devagiri [3]. Another legend also narrates that Beed was called Durgāvati in the period of Pāndavas and Kurus who fought a devastating war of 'Mahābhārata'.

Early history of the town is obscure until it came under Tughluq rule. If the town was founded in Yādava era then possibly it happened in Singhana's (1210 - 47) period, when Yādava dynasty reached its height. He may have built the town and Kankāleshwar temple as well. Beed came under Muslim rule for the first time in 1317 when Qutb-ud-Dīn Mubārak Shāh (1316 - 20), the last Khiljī, captured Devagiri and Yādava dynasty was annexed to Khiljī dynasty. Beed remained under Khiljīs until 1320 when Ghiyās-ud-Dīn Tughluq (1320 - 25) took over. In 1327 Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325-51) made Daulatābād his capital. Tughluq and his army camped in the town in 1341 (AH 742 Islamic calendar) while on the journey back to Daulatābād from Warangal. The emperor lost one of his teeth here, which he ordered to be buried with much ceremony and a tomb was constructed at the place [4]. The tomb is still present in the village 'Karjhani' about 12 km south of the town. Jūna Khan one of the governors of Tughluq dynasty is said to be resided in Beed for quite some time and introduced many reforms for the welfare of the ruled. He diverted the course of Bendsura from west to east by constructing a protection wall around the town. Before his time there was no such protection for the town and it was situated on the eastern bank of the river. After that the population was largely shifted to the western part [8]. In 1347 Beed came under Bahmanī rule when Hasan Gangū (1347 - 58), founder of Bahmanī dynasty, rebelled against Tughluq rule and ascended throne of Daulatābād as Alā-ud-Dīn Bahman Shāh. Muhammad Tughluq acted vigorously and came to Deccan to subdue the rebels. He recaptured the province of Daulatābād, of which, Beed was a part. Hasan Gangū and other insurgents fled to Bīdar and Gulbarga. Before the matter is fully settled a rebel broke in Gujarāt and the sultan approached to Gujarāt appointing Imād-ul-Mulk as governor in Deccan. Meanwhile Hasan Gangū attacked Daulatābād and marched towards Beed and captured it. After that the town remained under Bahmanī rule and is said to flourish under Fīrūz Shāh Bahmanī's (1397 - 1422) rule. During the reign of Hūmayūn Shāh Bahmanī (1451 - 61), famous as 'Zālim' (cruel), his brother Hasan Shāh rebelled and came to Beed. A Jāgirdār (feudatory) of Beed, Habībullah Shāh was his supporter. Hūmayūn Shāh sent an army and after a fierce fighting in the grounds of Kankāleshwar temple, the rebels were defeated. Habībullah Shah was killed and captured Hasan Shah was taken to the capital and was put before a hungry lion [8]. After the decline of Bahmanī dynasty the town fell to Nizām Shāhi rulers of Ahmadnagar. Several wars were fought in Beed between Nizām Shāhi and Ādil Shāhi rulers of Bījāpūr to take the control of Beed. In 1598 Mughals captured Beed from Chānd Bībī of Ahmadnagar. A year later Nihang Khan retook it but soon it fell again to Mughals. Mughal army camped here for some time. During the reign of Jahāngīr (1569 - 1627), Jān Sipār Khan was administering Beed town. He constructed Jāma Masjid of Beed in 1036 AH (1622 - 23). Aurangzeb (1658 - 1707), appointed Hāji Sadar Shāh in Beed as Nāib-e-Subadār (assistant of governor). Sadar Shāh did some good changes and constructions in the town. He built Eid Gāh (place of Eid prayer 1702) and a new habitation on the heights in the eastern part as 'Ghāzī Pura' (now Islam Pura 1704). The remains of it are still visible. He also constructed a small citadel (1704) inside the old large citadel which was worn out after standing for several hundred years, from Tughluq period. {A stone plate in Persian script at the main entry of Jāma Masjid sets the year of construction of citadel by Hāji Sadar Shah in the year 1115 AH (1704)}. In his period economy of the town also flourished. Chhāgal (water container made of leather), Gupti (hidden sword in wooden stick) etc made in Beed were popular in the region [8]. Beed was quite a beautiful town during Bahmanī and Mughal. 'Tārīkh-e-Bīr' mentions many gardens and amenities of these periods. Until 1960s there were two well maintained gardens in the town. In 1724 Nizām-ul-Mulk Āsaf Jāh founded Āsaf Jāhi dynasty, seizing Deccan against the rule of Mughal emperor Muhammad Shāh (1719 - 48). All the seven rulers of this dynasty were called Nizāms. In Nizāms' era no major addition or construction was done to the citadel because the old building was serving the purpose and the citadels were losing importance with the advent of modern fighting techniques. Marāthā ruler of Gwalior, Mahādji Scindia (1761 - 94) was defeated and severely injured and was missing in the third war of Pānipat in 1761. His wife, who is said to be from Beed, went to a Muslim Sūfi of Beed Mansūr Shāh and told him to prey for the return of Mahādji. After return to Gwalior Mahādji called Mansūr Shāh to Gwalior but he refused and sent his son Habīb Shāh instead. Mahādji remained thankful to Mansūr Shah for all his life. His shrine is in eastern Beed. Reign of sixth Nizām Mahbūb Ali Khan (1869 - 1911) proved eventful in the history of Beed. Rebels, great famine and floods happened in his reign. Jāgirdārs were replaced by Awwal Taluqdārs (Collectors) in his reign and Jīvanji Ratanji came as the first collector of Beed in 1865. Districts were created and Beed district was formally settled in 1883 [11]. He constructed one habitation and market 'Mahbūb Gunj' (now Hirālāl Chowk) on the eastern bank of Bendsura, remains of that can still be seen. After a very scarce rainfall in three successive years 1897 - 99, great famine occurred in Beed in 1900. Thousands of cattle and Hundreds of humans died of starvation and thousands migrated to the neighbouring parts of the country. The census in 1901 reported remarkable decrease of 150,464 in the population of Beed district [11]. Mir Osmān Ali Khan's (1911 - 48) came after his father's death. Kotwālis, Police Stations, Schools, Hospitals and Dispensaries were built during his period [12]. Nizāms were allies of the British Empire in India. During the countrywide tussle for the independence, in 19th and 20th centuries they tried to suppress the feelings of nationalism which were spreading due to nationwide movements. Nationalists in the state of Hyderābād did not like Nizām's friendship with the oppressor British. Beed was the first place in Marāthwāda region where freedom struggle started in 1818 [13]. In 1818 during the rule of Nizām Sikandar Jāh (1803 - 29) a rebel broke out in Beed under the leadership of Dharmājī Pratāp Rāo. Nizām sent the Risāla of Navāb Murtazā Yār Jang under the command of British Lieutenant John Sutherland. The rebel leader and his bother were captured and a long run rebellion movement in Beed came to an end [13, 14]. Another rebel broke in 1858 and all the rebels were captured. After that many small incidents of defiance happened against British rule but all were suppressed by force. A major rebel broke under the leadership of Bābā Sāhab alias Rāo Sāhab in 1898. The important leaders of this movement were Brahmins of Beed and the Brahmin officials in police and judiciary also supported the movement. They wanted to establish Brahmin rule after the success of rebel and started collecting money for arms by looting and donations in different parts of the district. But after a short fight the rebels were captured and the movement came to an end. But the feelings of defiance could not be suppressed and different movements under the leadership of Swami Rāmānand Teerth and Govind Bhāi Shroff continued in Marāthwāda and the state. After independence, Mir Osmān Ali Khan, the last Nizām, was reluctant to join the Indian Union. Finally, on September 12, 1948 a military action 'Operation Polo' was launched and the state was easily captured within six days as Nizām's army resisted little. Although Operation Polo caused relatively few casualties, the following communal carnage was all the more terrible. Beed was one of the eight worst hit districts in the state. After calm down, a team visited the town on behalf of Indian government and sent a report to the centre. According to official, Pandit Sundarlal Report, 27,000 - 40,000 Muslims were killed throughout the state. Horrible crimes of abduction and rape of women and girls, loot, arson, desecration of mosques, forcible conversions and seizure of houses and lands were mentioned in the report [10]. Some unofficial reports, however, puts the figure of killings up to 50,000 and some even to a few hundred thousand [15]. A plebiscite was held shortly after the military action in which the population voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining the Indian Union. Some Muslims during and after 1948 fled to Pākistān. The town has witnessed communal strife several times in modern India. In 1949 'Bendsura Project' was launched to provide drinking and irrigation water supply to the town and nearby villages. It was completed in 1956. In 1952 Beed Nagar Pālika (Municipal Council) was established under the undivided Hyderabad State. In 1962, a year after the creation of Mahārāshtra State, Beed Zilla Parīshad (District Council) came into being after dissolving all the local bodies [3].

Historical buildings

Kankāleshwar Temple

It is perhaps the oldest and the most beautiful building in the town. Historians are not sure about the construction period of this temple. The architectural style suggests that it might have been constructed during Yādava period [3], most probably during the reign of Singhana (1210 - 47), who also founded Devagiri (Daulatābād). The design of this temple has some close similarities to the temples at the famous caves of Ellora. Situated in the middle of a small lake in the eastern part of the town, the temple is built with black stone and is carved with excellent human and divine figures. A fair is held in the grounds of temple during Mahāshivrātri.

Jāma Masjid (Mosque)

Built during the period of Mughal emperor Jahāngīr (1605 - 27) by his official in Beed Jān Sipār Khan in 1036 AH (1622), it is one of the largest mosques in Beed. Situated in the centre of the town at Quila (citadel) it has three huge domes and four minarets [6].

Khandobā Temple

It is situated on the eastern hills. Built in Hemadpanti style, it is often regarded as the symbol of town. Two symmetrical, octagonal dīpmāl (towers of light) rising 21.33 meters (70 feet) are standing in front of the temple. Towers have carved figures of humans and animals, now most of them defaced. There are two stories about the construction of this temple. One says that it was built by Sultānji Nimbālkar a Jāgirdār of Nizām era. The other says that it was built by Mahādji Scindia. Tārīkh-e-Bīr (History of Beed) mentions it with Nimbālkar [3].

Shahinshāh Wali Shrine

Shahinshāh Wali was a Sūfi of 14th century. He came to Beed during the rule of Muhammad Tughluq. His shrine and surrounding areas were built in different periods from 1385 - 1840. The details can be seen in the history of Beed. It is situated on the eastern elevations. Each year an Urs (fair) is held here on 2nd of Rabi' Al-Awwal, third month of Islamic calendar [6].

Mansūr Shāh Shrine

Mansūr Shāh was 18th century Sūfi of Suharwardy clan of Sūfis. He is said to be a Dharma Gūrū (spiritual teacher) of Mahādji Scindia. His shrine is in the eastern part of Beed near Khandeshwari temple. Dome of the shrine is made of marble [6].

Khazāna Well

This historic and famous well is situated about 6 km south of the town. It was constructed in 991 AH (1582) by Salābat Khan, a Jāgirdār f Beed in the period of Murtazā Nizām Shāh of Ahmadnagar. It is said that the water level in this well remains unchanged even in droughts [6]. Salābat Khan also constructed Kāranja (fountains) and a garden in the centre of the town. Tower of Kāranja is still standing in a poor condition.

Historic Gates

The town had several gates and a small fort in the past [6]. Now only four are remaining and are in poor condition. Only one out of several is found in the eastern part in Mahbūb Gunj (now Hirālāl Chowk).

Geography

Bid is located at [1]. It has an average elevation of 530 metres (1738 feet).

Topography and climate

Beed is situated on the Deccan Plateau, on the banks of 'Bendsura' (also called Bindūsara), a sub-tributary of Godāvari, originating in the hills of Bālāghāt, 30 km south-west of the town near the village of Wāghira. Bendsura divides the town into smaller eastern and larger western parts. Bālāghāt Range stretches very close, up to 10 km south of the town making terrain; mainly in the eastern part, undulating. Soil is coarse and rocky largely consisting of basalt. Thin layers of fertile black soil are also seen in the northern part and in the south at the western bank of Bendsura. The town has semi-arid, hot and dry climate. Summers are long, ranging up to five months from mid February to June. Average temperatures in summer fall between 31o C - 40o C (1997 average). However, it may reach higher than 400 C in searching summer. Winters are short with temperatures ranging within 12o C - 20o C. Rains are scarce and occur only during the Monsoon from mid June to September with the average annual rainfall of 666 mm [2].

Bendsura is a rapid and seasonal river. Aiming irrigation and drinking water supply to the town, a reservoir 'Bendsura Project' (capacity 7.106 mm3) was constructed on the river in 1955 near the village Pāli, about 10 km south of the town [5]. At some places in the town, river is narrow and looks like a stream. Little vegetation, undulating terrain and considerable slope of the river many times causes violent floods when it rains heavy. It has repeatedly caused substantial loss of property and life in the history of the town, most recently on July 23, 1989 [6]. Beed falls under Seismic Hazard Zone-III in India according to the new seismic hazard map updated in the year 2000 by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) [7]. Before this update, the town was under Zone-I.

Demographics

As of 2001 India census[2], Bid had a population of 138,091. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Bid has an average literacy rate of 72%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 78% and female literacy of 66%. 14% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Beed District as a whole: [16] 1. Sex Ratio = 922 females per thousand males (in urban area) 3. Infant mortality rate = 71 4. Maternal mortality rate = 1 5. Birth rate = 15.9 6. Death rate = 3

Even this small town is an evidence of India's religious and cultural diversity. 8.3 km² of land is home for Hindū, Muslim, Buddhist, Jain, Christian and Sikh communities. A calculated Hindu population in the town comprises around 40% - 41%. 12,307 Hindus were living in the town in 1901, which was 69.64% of the then population [12]. This proportion was reduced after a large conversion of Dalits to Buddhist religion and Christianity. Moreover, Jain population was also considered as Hindu at that time. Nearly 25% of population in Beed comprises Muslims [17, 18]. 4,993 Muslims were living in the town in 1901 which was 28.25% of the then population [12]. Calculated Muslim population in Beed as per 2001 census reaches 34522. Percentage of Dalit (Scheduled Casts & Scheduled Tribes) population in the district is 14.13% (SC 13.01% - ST 1.12%) in the 2001 census [2]. Calculated Dalit population in the town as per 2001 census is 19512. By religion, nearly all Dalits are Buddhist; however, some still follow Hindu customs. A Buddhist temple is located at Māli Chowk area. According to Crusade Watch there were 662 Christians living in the town in the year 2000 which was 0.5% of the then population [19]. In 1901 only 68 Christians were living in the town and most of them were native [12].

Rev.Charles Sonawane

Is serving as a Pastor since, 1981,in A.G ministry,i.e Assemblies of God Church,Beed.Recently the new Church construction has been completed.Now the number of Christians has increased from 662 to nearly 1500, in the town.Roman Catholic (Saint Ann's) churches are located in the town. A missionary Saint Ann's school has a reputation of elite with excellent infrastructure. Jain community (both Svetāmbar and Digambar Jain) also has presence with the temples of both communities. Digambar Jain temple is located in Jūna Bāzār, almost entirely Muslim area. Sikhs are perhaps the smallest religious entity in the town but have their Gurdwara which is said to be built in 1895 [6]. Urdū (Deccani accent) is a mother tongue for Muslims. Hindus and Dalits speak Marāthi. Other communities use Marāthi and Hindi as a mode of communication. Officially Marāthi, Hindi and English languages are in use.

Culture

Culture, though not typical, is predominantly Mahārāshtrian. Customs are followed religiously in marriages and other functions. Family, customs and religion still holds importance in the society. Food is largely vegetarian, but spicy non-vegetarian food is also popular. Several restaurants, Dhābas and roadside food shops offer non-vegetarian food. Chicken is perhaps the most popular non-vegetarian food in all sects of society, except Jain who claim to be pure vegetarian community. Achār (pickle), 'pāpad' (poppadom) and spices are part of a common high chilli diet. New generation; especially males, wear western outfits. Shalwār Khamīs is popular in young girls. Married women wear Sāris (a long piece of colourful fabric) and bodice. Traditional outfits are popular, if any, only in elderly. Diwāli, Holi, Dasehra, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adhā and Buddha Jayanti are major festivals. New housing constructions are mainly concrete based, but in poor, mud-and-mortar houses with metal sheet roofs are common.

There are no amenities in the town except cinema halls and a small, little maintained garden. Few years back there were seven cinema halls, now four are remaining; of which 'Ashoka' is the oldest. Two parks were maintained until 1969 by the municipal council [3]. One small but well maintained garden including a small zoo was situated at the eastern bank of Bendsura. A massive flood on July 23, 1989 wiped it off leaving no traces. A small garden cum zoo is recently been constructed in Khās Bāgh area and needs much improvements. In 2006 Union minister for agriculture Sharad Pawār inaugurated a cultural hall.

Transport

The town is accessible only by road. National highway # 211 from Ahmadābād to Hyderābād passes through the town. Mahārāshtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) a state owned public transport company provides bus access to the major towns in Mahārāshtra and neighbouring states. Some private travel agencies also have services to the major cities of the state. Nearest domestic airport is Aurangābād (133 km); nearest international airports are Mumbai (418 km) and Pune (250 km). Nearest railway stations are Parli Vaijnāth (120 km), Aurangābād (133 km) and Ahmadnagar (145 km). Auto rickshaw is the only mode of public transport inside town. Roads inside the town are of average width and below average quality. Railway line access is probably the most awaited thing for the people of town.

Economy

The town has a backward economy and the growth is almost zero. In 1997 Sarma committee has listed Beed as one of the 100 most backward districts in India [20]. After this listing the government of India and the government of Mahārāshtra declared tax holiday and concessions to lure the investors in the district [21]. Without proper arrangement of water supply and transport facility, this declaration resulted nothing. Economic backwardness is attributed to the lack of natural resources, frequent droughts, lack of good transport facilities and corruption [17]. Economy entirely depends on monsoon dependant agriculture, service sector and small businesses. Beed is one of the poorest districts of Mahārāshtra with Per capita GDP of Rs 15,303 (about $347) which is lower than the Mahārāshtra State average GDP Rs 17,079 (around $385) [17, 22]. There are some small scale industries of ginning, PVC and plastic pipes, wood cutting and local based soft drink. Business sector comprises small and medium scale retail and wholesale businesses of daily needs, textile and automobiles. Small business includes roadside shops and vendors of vegetables, spices, food and snacks, cloths and toys etc. Beed has a good wholesale market of cloths and small vendors from neighbouring towns and districts approach here for purchase.

Education

English, Marāthi and Urdū are the mediums of education. Many schools and colleges have very good infrastructure and facilities. Primary education is managed by the Zilla Parīshad (district council), headquarters in Beed. All the secondary schools and junior colleges are affiliated to 'Mahārāshtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education' in Pune. One Engineering College, one Agricultural Engineering college, two diploma Engineering Colleges (one is state run), one Homoeopathic Medical College, one Diploma Pharmacy College and one Industrial Training Institute are offering professional education in the town. Other colleges offer arts, science, commerce and vocational faculties up to post graduation level. All the colleges are affiliated to 'Dr. Bābāsāheb Ambedkar Marāthwāda University, Aurangābād. Beed district has 68.48% total literacy which is lower than the state average but higher than national average. 80.69% males and only 55.38% females are literate. Beed town has the highest 84.15% literacy rate in the urban areas of the district according to 2001 census [2].

Health

Under its health policy, State runs a 300 bed hospital (District Hospital) in the town with some modern facilities like Computed Tomography Scan (CT scan). Hospital receives monthly average 18000 patients and performs 250 HIV tests monthly [23]. Various private clinics and hospitals and a state run veterinary hospital are also providing services. One Homoeopathic hospital is running with 'Sonājirāo Kshirsāgar Homoeopathic Medical College'. No facilities are available in super specialities like Neurology, Oncology etc. Beed was in headlines throughout the world in August 1994 for the outbreak of Bubonic Plague. To some researchers, though, the disease detected here resembled Plague but could not be substantiated as per WHO criteria [24].

Sports

Cricket is undisputedly, the most popular game in the town. There are many small clubs playing cricket. State level soccer competitions held in the recent times have also fuelled love for Soccer and few Soccer clubs have also been emerged. There is a medium size District Stadium in the town with a good shopping complex but poor sports facilities. National level Kabaddi and Kho-Kho competitions and state level volleyball competitions were held in the stadium in late 90s.

Media and communication

About a dozen Marāthi and one Urdū daily (Tameer) are published from the town. Zunjār Netā, Lok Prashn, Champāvati Patr, and Beed Reporter are major Marāthi dailies. Local and regional news, crime stories and articles on local issues and politics are common features of the dailies. More than a dozen Marāthi, Urdū, Hindi and English dailies including national dailies publishing from different cities of India also have penetration. No magazines are published in the town, but all the major national magazines do have readers. In 1961 there were only 51 working telephone connections in Beed exchange. Today Bhārat Sanchār Nigam Limited (BSNL), a state owned telephone service provider, has more than 15000 customers. It has also introduced broadband internet lines. In 2004 district's first mobile service was started in the town by 'Idea'. After that BSNL, Airtel, Hutch, BPL, Tata Indicom and Reliance also jumped. In 1982 the then Prime Minister Indira Gāndhi kept the foundation stone of terrestrial television relay centre, situated on eastern hills. Only 'Doordarshan' was available at that time. In early 1990s satellite channels and cable operators started the business. Some enthusiasts have started a local cable channel 'Beed News'. It provides local news coverage and plays movies rest of the time. All India Radio Beed, at FM 102.9 MHz [25], broadcasts news, film and folk music, programmes of 'Vividh Bhārti' and programmes based on agriculture and health education.

Issues and challenges in the 21st century

(Beed District as a whole) [16] 1. Population below poverty line = 32.4% 2. Literacy = 68.48% 3. Literate females = 55.38% 4. Girls marrying below 18 years = 59.4% 5. Estimated coverage of safe drinking water (habitations) = 66.1% 6. Villages not connected by paved roads = 52.82%

Beed has a long history as a neglected and backward area. Industrial and economic backwardness, lack of good transport facility, electricity and literacy were the issues in 1960s and they are the same even today [17, 26]. Many elections have been fought with the issue of railway line facility. In the recent times the list of issues has gone up with shortage of drinking water supply and electricity, frequent droughts, failing crops and suicide of farmers, unemployment, corruption and increasing crimes [17]. Beed also records highest power theft in Mahārāshtra. Nearly 60% power supplied to the district is stolen before it can reach to the consumers who pay for it. Further, unpaid electricity bills runs to almost Rs 4540 million (about $103 M) [27]. Social and environmental issues are no different than that of the whole country. Human's rights (especially women's and children's), child labour, poverty, rising HIV infections, religious strife, human trafficking and sexual abuse are some major social issues of concern in Beed. District ranks 143rd in literacy in India based on IndianNgos.com research and analysis of 586 districts throughout India [28, 29]. On Human Development Index (HDI), using UNDP method, Beed ranks 18th out of 30 districts in the State of Mahārāshtra, with 0.47 HDI. It is 7th poorest district in the state with Human Poverty Index (HPI) of 21.21 [22]. Deforestation, desertification, frequent droughts, shrinking water reservoirs and extreme shortages of drinking water, especially in rural areas are major issues which needs urgent attention. Beed district has only 2.47% forest area, that too of lower quality, according to the official statistics [2].

Further reading

1. Gazette of Beed district (1969) - Gazetteers department - Bhir (Beed) - Out of print but available online at www.maharashtra.gov.in/english/gazetteer/Beed/home.html 2. Official website of Beed district - [1] 3. Tārīkh-e-Bīr (History of Beed in Urdū): Qāzi, M. Q. Bīri: Published: 1317 AH (coincides 1898) 4. Zilla Beed Kī Tārīkh (History of Beed District in Urdū) - Nāthāpūri, Abdul Hamīd - 1998. Asian Printing Press, Gulshan Colony, Jogeshwari (W) Mumbai. 5. The Imperial Gazetteer of India. New edition, published under the authority of His Majesty's secretary of state for India in council. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1908-1931. [2] 6. From the Sundarlal Report: Frontline (from the publishers of The Hindū), Volume 18, Issue 05, March 3 - 16, 2001 (Retrieved on 2007-03-07) www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1805/18051140.htm 7. Noorani, A. G.: Of a Massacre Untold, Frontline (from the publishers of The Hindū), Volume 18, Issue 05, March 3 - 16, 2001 (Retrieved on 2007-03-07) www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1805/18051130.htm

Notes

1. Official website of Beed district 2. [www.maharashtra.gov.in/english/gazetteer/Beed/places_bhir_town.html The Gazetteers Department - Bhir] 3. Samuel, O. P.: India's Top 300 cities/towns. Manorama Yearbook 2007 (ISSN 0542-5778) page 712

References

  • World Gazetteer (Retrieved on 2007-03-04)
  • Official website of Beed district (Retrieved on 2007-03-04)
  • Gazette of Beed district (Retrieved on 2007-02-27)
  • Firishta, Muhammad Qāsim: 'History of The Rise of The Mahomedan Power in India' Translation from the Persian text by John Briggs: Longman, London 1829. Volume I, Page 424. Digitised by Google, can be retrieved at www.books.google.com
  • Gazette of Beed district (Retrieved on 2007-02-26): www.maharashtra.gov.in/english/gazetteer/Beed/agri_irrigations.html
  • Zilla Beed Kī Tārīkh (History of Beed District in Urdū) - Nāthāpūri, Abdul Hamīd - 1998. Asian Printing Press, Gulshan Colony, Jogeshwari (W) Mumbai.
  • Amateur Seismic Centre - Pune (Retrieved on 2007-03-04).
www.asc-india.org/seismi/seis-maharashtra.htm
  • Tārīkh-e-Bīr (History of Beed in Urdū): Qāzi, M. Q. Bīri: Published: 1317 AH (1898) page 90
  • "Yavana." Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica 2007 Ultimate Reference Suite. (2007).
  • From the Sundarlal Report: Frontline (from the publishers of The Hindū), Volume 18, Issue 05, March 3 - 16, 2001 (Retrieved on 2007-03-07) www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1805/18051140.htm
  • The Imperial Gazetteer of India. New edition, published under the authority of His Majesty's secretary of state for India in council. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1908-1931. Pages 114, 117, Volume 8. Retrieved on 2007/04/06. http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/gazetteer
  • Gazette of Beed district (retrieved on 2007-04-06) http://www.maharashtra.gov.in/english/gazetteer/Beed/medical_history.html
  • Rizvi, S. M. Jawwad: 'Riyāsat-e-Hyderābād Mein Jad-o-Jahde Āzādi 1800 - 1900 (Freedom Struggle in the State of Hyderābād), Bureau for Promotion of Urdū Language, Ministry of Human Resource Development. 1992. Page 79
  • Gazette of Beed district (retrieved on 2007-04-06) http://www.maharashtra.gov.in/english/gazetteer/Beed/his_modern_period.html
  • Noorani, A. G.: Of a Massacre Untold, Frontline (from the publishers of The Hindū), Volume 18, Issue 05, March 3 - 16, 2001 (Retrieved on 2007-03-07) www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1805/18051130.htm
  • Empower Poor.Com (Retrieved on 2007) www.empowerpoor.com/districtdetail.asp?district=46
  • Srinivasan, S.: Marāthwāda profile (Retrieved on 2007-02-26): www.rediff.com/election/2004/oct/06maha1.htm
  • Justice Sachar, Rajinder: Social, Economic, and Educational status of the Muslim community of India, A Report. Prime Minister's High Level Committee, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India. November, 2006. Page 32
  • Crusade Watch (Retrieved on 2007-02-26): www.crusadewatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=568&Itemid=27
  • Empower poor (Retrieved on 2007-02-27): www.empowerpoor.org/backgrounder.asp?report=19
  • Government of Mahārāshtra website www.mah.nic.in/beed_district/dicothe.html
  • Kamdar, S. / Basak, A.: Beyond the Human Development Index, Preliminary Notes on Deprivation and Inequality. (Retrieved on 2007-02-27): www.mu.ac.in/economics/File60_Sangitawp1.pdf
  • Official website of Beed district (Retrieved on 2007-02-26): http://beed.nic.in/htmldocs/health.htm
  • Deodhar/ Yemul/ Banerjee: Plague that never was: A review of the alleged Plague outbreaks in India in 1994. Journal of Public Health Policy, Vol. 19, No. 2 (1998)
  • Davies, Alan G.: Radio Stations in Mahārāshtra - India. (Retrieved on 2007-03-04): www.asiawaves.net/india/maharashtra-radio.htm
  • Gazette of Beed district - (Retrieved on 2007-02-26): www.maharashtra.gov.in/english/gazetteer/Beed/ind_intro.html
  • Ramachandran, Anupama: Beed Records Highest Power Theft. NDTV.com - 2007-03-06. (Retrieved on 2007-03-09) www.ndtv.com/morenews/showmorestory.asp?category=National&id=101803
  • IndianNGOs.com (Retrieved on 2007-03-01): www.indianngos.com/districts.beed_about.htm
  • IndianNGOs.com (Retrieved on 2007-03-02): www.indianngos.com/issue/education/districts/beed.htm

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