PLACES

ASHTI

Situated in Mohol taluka, 15 miles to the south-west of Madha, Ashti has a population of 5,738 souls as per the Census of 1971. It is a railway station on the narrow gauge Barshi-Pandharpur line of the Central Railway. It has a post office. The primary school conducted by the Zilla Parishad and a high school known as Ashti High School conducted by the Jain Gurukul at Satara cater to the educational needs of the town populace. Medical facilities are provided by the private medical practitioners. Wells form the main source of water-supply.

The village acquired a special interest as the scene of the battle fought on 20th February 1818 between the troops of the Peshwa Bajirao commanded by Bapu Gokhale and the English forces under the command of General Smith in which the Maratha forces were defeated and their commandant Bapu Gokhale killed. This is considered to be the last battle between the Marathas and the English, the result of which led to the occupation of the Maratha kingdom by the English. The battle was entirely a cavalry action, Marathas under the command of Bapu Gokhale having eight to ten thousand horse and General Smith, two regiments of cavalry, a squadron of the 22nd Dragoons, 1,200 auxiliary horse, and 2,500 infantry. The loss on the Maratha side was about 200 killed including the general Bapu Gokhale who is said to have fought very bravely unto his last while the British loss was fourteen Europeans and five native cavalry killed and wounded. Twelve elephants, fifty-seven camels and many palanquins fell into the hands of the British.

The local population celebrates the death anniversary of Bapu Gokhale, the Maratha hero of the war, described earlier. The samadhi of Bapu Gokhale is said to have been submerged under the tank completed in 1881 and could be seen during the summer when water dries up and is said to have been covered by refuse.

The old Gazetteer of Sholapur District, 1884, has given the following information about the tank:-

"Asta has a large lake which, when full, has an area of about four square miles and a capacity of 1,499,470,085 cubic feet of water. The lake has been formed by throwing across the Asta stream, a feeder of the Bhima, an earthen dam 12,709 feet long with a greatest height of 57.75 feet. Two canals are led from the dam, a left bank canal 11 miles long, discharging thirty cubic feet a second and commanding 12,258 arable acres, and a right bank canal ten miles long, discharging ten cubic feet a second and commanding 5,624 arable acres. The plans of the work were prepared in 1869 and the lake finished on the 31st of July 1881 at a cost of Rs. 3,34,990. Part of the work was done as famine relief till November 1877, the greatest number of famine labourers employed on any one day being 19,949."

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