Pune's Pride - Before 19 th Century

Chhatrapati Shree Shivaji Maharaj (1630-1680)
The Great Maratha King, Pune and entire Maharashtra ever saw. Established Swaraj in Maharashtra. Shivaji was the son of Shahaji a mere Jaghirdar in the state of Bijapur. He dared to revolt against the mighty Mughals in order to liberate his motherland from the Mohammedans. To fight against the army of horses, elephants, camels and trooper of lakhs, He organized the local tribes and developed the pattern of flank attacks. His courtliness could be seen with his techniques and tribal support, he made the mighty Mughals recoil. During the numerous expeditions in his life, he had many close encounters with death. His great escape from Agra when he was arrested by Aurangzeb was an example of his unmatched audacity. On June 6 th, 1674 Shivaji was coronated as Chhatrapati Shivaji on Raigad after the establishment of  Maratha Power was established.

Thorale Bajirao (1700-1740)
Next Great Maratha just below Shivaji Maharaj. It was his dream to extend the Maratha empire to North India. By this time, Pune had regained its status as capital of Maratha Kingdom from Rajgad. In 1734, Bajirao captured the Malwa territory in the north, and in 1739, his brother Chimnaji drove out the Portuguese from almost all their possessions in the northern Western Ghats. Bajirao died in 1740 and left three sons behind him. It was Bajirao who built the 'Shanivarwada', the residence and ruling place for the Peshwas.

Nanasaheb Peshwe (1721-1761)
Son of Thorale Bajirao, Creator of Parvati Temple and Saras Baug. Succeeded Bajirao as Peshwa in 1740. He was ambitious and a multifaceted person. Nanasaheb encouraged agriculture, protected the villagers and brought about a marked improvement in the state of the territory.

Madhavrao Peshwe (1745-1772)
One of the three sons of Nanasaheb Peshwe and Gopikaabi, got the Peshwa throne after Vishwasrao died at Panipat.

Nana Phadnis (1742-1800)
Was a Phadnis in Madhavrao's era. Described the Panipat scene in his small autobiography.


19 th Century

Gopal Ganesh Agarkar (1856-1895)
Great Social Reformer. First Editor of "Kesari". Established 'New English School', with Vishnu Shastri Chiplunkar and Tilak.

Krishnashastri Chiplunkar (1824-1878)
A Learned and a Wise Professor. Professor of 'Pune Pathshala' and Principal of Training College. Excellent in Translation.

Vishnushastri Chiplunkar (1850-1882)
Originator of Modern Marathi Literature. Was ahead of the rest in establishing Kesari Maratha Sanstha, Chitrashala, Kitabkhana, Aryabhushan Press, New English School etc.

Vasudev Balwant Phadke (1845-1883)
A charismatic leader who was enraged when he saw the level of exploitation farmers were suffering. became the leader of a brave group : Ramoshi after failing to get any help from the self-satisfied middle class. A Series of successful raids on British treasury were led by him to feed the hungry during the famines which recurred in the 1860s. Someone was bribed by the British to betray him, he was arrested and hanged under the charge of "high treason".

Jyotiba Phule (1827-1890)
Great Social Worker who worked for the up upliftment of the down trodden and women.

Lokhitwadi (1823-1892)
Gopal Hari Deshmukh was popularly known as 'Lokhitwadi'. A Social worker who started his career as a Translator and got retired as a Sessions Judge. Brought about public awakening by 'Prabhakar' and 'Shatpatre'.

Mahadev Govind Ranade (1840-1901)
Born in Niphad on January 18, 1842 Mahadev Govind Ranade was from a strictly orthodox Chitapavan Brahmin family. He was commonly known as 'Justice Ranade'. He enrolled in the Elphinstone institute at the age fourteen. He was in the first batch of students to join the Bombay University. Has also been the teacher of Economics, History and Literature. However, he preferred a career in law.  In his career as a judge spanning over thirty years' in which he worked firmly towards the reform of social evils such as child marriage, the seclusion of women and tried to introduce the remarriage of widows. He was one of the first members of the Prarthana Samaj which was founded in 1867. His judgeship prohibited Ranade from actively entering politics. He died in Pune on January 16, 1901. His writings continued to inspire other leaders of Western India, notably Gokhale and Gandhi.


20 th Century

Pralhad Keshav Atre (1898-1969)
A renowned litterateur has a massive contribution to Marathi literature. His oratorical skills mesmerised the audience, outstanding literary style, humour.
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Vasudev Shastri Abhyankar (1863-1942)
A Sanskrit Pandit. Had a great knowledge of Grammar, Advyet Vedant, Dharm Shastra, Yog Shastra etc.

Chandrashekhar Agashe (1889-1965)
Great Industrialist of Maharashtra in Sugar Industry. Great donor for the Educational and Cultural organisations. Brahma Maharashtra College of Commerce, Maratha Chamber of Commerce etc. are result of his contribution.

Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915)
Founder of 'Bharat Sevak Samaj'. Professor in Fergusson College. Supporter of Women Freedom and Racial Discrimination.

D. G. Kelkar (1896-1990)
Devoted his entire life to build Kelkar Museum from scratch to crest with his tireless enthusiasm and efforts. Honoured with Padmashree and PunyaBhushan.
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Dhondo Keshav Karve (1858-1962)
Promoter of Women Education and Widow Remarriage. Established 'Nathiabai Damodar Takarsi' University for Women. Appointed as Mathematics professor in Fergusson College after Tilak resigned.

Ram Ganesh Gadkari (1885-1919)
A Great Poet, Dramatist and Humourist. Wrote poetry by the nickname of 'Govindagraj'. Worked in 'Gyan Prakash' for some time and then was a teacher in New English School.

Chota Gandharva (1918-1997)
Renowned and a Favourite Actor of the Marathi Theater. 'Nagnath Gore' was the real name. Initially played Feminine roles in 'Bal Mohan' Natak Mandali. President of 'Balgandharva Rasik Mandal' & 'Bharat Gayan Samaj'.

Bhimsen Joshi (4/2/1922)
The internationally acclaimed vocalist who traversed though Bijapur, Pune and finally to Gwalior in search of a guru who could get him to the particulars of Khayal-Gayaki. Till Sawai Gandharva taught him the essentials of Khayal-Gayaki. His rivals admit, there is no other vocalist today can be compared with Panditji.
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N. G. Chapekar (1869-1968)
His writings reflected the then prevailing society. Editor of 'Maharashtra Sahitya Patrika' and also the president of this organisation.

C. V. Joshi (1892-1963)
Well known humourist. First Comic Write up 'Chintamanrao' was published in the Fergusson Magazine. 'Chinamrao Gundyabhau' was a gem of his work. 'Jatakatil Nivdak Gosti', 'Buddha Sampradaya', 'Shikwan' etc were some of his books on serious topics.

R. N. Dandekar (17/3/1909)
Internationally acclaimed Sanskrit Pandit. Professor in Fergusson during 1932 and 1950. Secretary of Bhandarkar Institute for many years. Awarded Padmabhushan by Govt. of India in 1962.

Jayantrao Tilak (12/10/1921)
Served as Editor of 'Daily Kesari' for many years. Rajya Sabha M.P. Responsible for the transformation of 'Kesari' into a Daily Newspaper in 1962. Active participation in 'Sanyukta Maharashtra' and 'Goa Mukti Andloan'. Involvement with Tilak Maharashtra Vidhyapeeth, Deccan Education Society, Pune Unniversity, Vasant Vyakhayanmala etc.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920)
"Swaraj Is My Birthright And I Shall Have It". Editor of "Kesari". Entered 'Kesari Maratha' with Agarkar in 1881. Gave priority to the Political problems then the Social problems and wrote accordingly and agitated against the British. Had been in jail in 1897 and 1908 to 1914. Sharpened the Independence Movement by starting the 'Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav' and 'Shiv Jayanti'.

Chitra Naik (15/7/1918)
Co-coordinator and Advisor of various Government and Semi Government Educational Institutes. Awarded 'Padmashree' by the government and in the year 1989 was the first to get 'Karma Veer Bahurao Patil Samaj Seva' award.

P. L. Deshpande (1919-2000)
Purushottam Laxman Deshpande the name which brings a smile to the face of any Marathi reader. P. L. Deshpande was joyful personality of Maharashtra. Every member craves to recount one P. L. joke or a scene from his plays, one-man shows, films, books or whatever. He is an integrated part of Marathi Literature.
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Jayant Narlikar (19/7/1938)
Internationally known Scientist. Professor of Astronomy at the Tata Institute Of Fundamental Research for 12 years. Many Honours and Awards for various Scientific inventions and discoveries. Received 'Padmabhushan' in 1965, 'Rashtrabhushan' in 1981 and 'Nehru Fellowship' during 1973-75. Recently got the 'Indira Gandhi Puraskar' for making Technology popular.

Raja Paranjpe (1910-1979)
Ace actor and Movie Director. Originally an Organ Player. Later entered into movies after being with Bhalji Pendharkar. Flourished the Film Industry with G. D. Madgulkar and Sudhir Phadke. 'Jagachya Pathiwar', 'Pedgaonche Shahne', 'Lakhachi Goshta' etc had a lions share of Raja Paranjpe in their success.

Narayan Sitaram Phadke (1894-1978)
Popular Novelist and a promoter of Art. Professor of Philosophy in New Poona College in 1916. Worked in 'Kesari Maratha' for some time as a Sub Editor. Then was a Professor of Philosophy and Psychology for nearly 25 years in 'Sita Ram College'. His first Novel was 'Allaha Ho Akbar'. Wrote about 150 books which included 74 Novels (Daulat, Jadugaar, Uddhar, etc..), 27 Story Collections, 9 Character Writings, 22 Reviews, 7 Plays, 'Maje Jeevan:Ek Kadambari', etc. He was at the peak of his writings during 1925-1960. Editor of 'Ratnakar', 'Zhankar' and 'Anjali'. Headed the 'Marathi Sahitya Sammelan' in the year 1940. Was also awarded with 'Padmabhushan' by the government.

V. V. Pendse (1916-1983)
Founder and Co-ordinator of 'Gyan Probhidini'. 'Gyan Probodhini' was established in 1962. Wrote some inspirational books like 'Rashtra Drohe Vivekanand', 'Bhagini Nivedeta', etc.

N. K. Firodia (1910-1997)
Great work in the field of Vehicle Industry for nearly half a century. Practiced as an Advocate for some time. Participation in Freedom Fight and also had been imprisoned for the same. Provided Guidance to 'Modern Foundry and Machine Works', 'Kinetic Engineering Ltd.', 'Kinetic Honda Motor Ltd.' etc. Also has given lots of funds o various organistion hence contributed towards social service.

Rahul Bajaj (10/6/1938)
Ace Industrialist in the production of Auto Rickshaws and Scooters. Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Auto Ltd. (Akurdi). Great contribution in the development of Bajaj Tempo, Bajaj Electricals, Hind Limps etc.

Balgandharva (1888-1967)
Full name Narayan Shripad Rajhansa. Senior most and the best actor who played female roles in theater. Played the roles of Sharda, Shakuntala, Subhadra, Indira, Sindhu etc. during 1905-1910 in Kirloskar Sangeet Mandali. Learnt the intricacies of singings from Govindrao Tembe and Bhaskarbua Bakale. Due to his soft voice and easy going female roles received the honours like 'Balgandharva' and 'NataSamrat'. Tembe, Bodas and Balgandharva together established 'Gandharva Natak Mandali' in 1913. Was the Chairman of the 24th Natya Sammelan' in 1929 which was held in Pune. Government awarded him with 'Padmabhushan' and constructed 'Balgandharva Ranjmandir' after his name honouring this 'NataSamrat'.

Chandu Borde (21/7/1933)
Renowned All-Rounder in the game of Cricket. Expertise in Batting, Bowling and Fielding. Excellent performance in Ranji Trophi where he was the captain of Maharashtra team. Brilliant Batting performance against West Indies in 1958. His highest score was of 177 against Pakistan in 1961. 55 wickets in test matches. Specialised as a Goggle Bowler. 3061 runs in 55 test Matches. In which he had 5 centuries and 18 half centuries. Has been several times in the selection committee. was the captain of the Indian Cricket Team in1964 against Australia at Brisbane. This was the only match when he headed the team.

Joytsana Bhole (11/5/1914-2001)
A noted exponent of the Hindustani classical music of the Agra Gharana. Born in 1914, she begun her career in singing in the early 1930s, and would be remembered for her immense contribution to the traditional Marathi Bhav Geet. She was also one of the first women to perform on stage when she acted in the Marathi play 'Andhlyachi Shala' with 'Keshavrao Date'. Some of her evergreen songs are 'Tu majhi ani tujha mi zari' and 'Manoramana Madhusudana'. Was awarded 'VishnuDas Bhave Purasakar' in 1980. She is remembered for her roles in plays like Bhanumati in 'Kul Wadhu', 'Radha Mai', 'Bhumi Kanya Sita' and movies like 'Kuber'.

Sharad Talwalkar
Sharad Talwalkar an extremely talented and versatile actor ruled the Marathi Film Industry and Theatre for many years. His childhood liking towards plays grew up with him till he along with acting started directing plays in his S. P. college. He had performed in more than 180 Marathi films.
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G. D. Madgulkar (1919-1977)
The great Poet, Lyricist, Screenplay-Dialogue writer who became popular amongst the young and the old  especially by his composition of the 'Geeta Ramayan'. By one or other way his name is attached with almost 150 movies. Also acted in a few. Was awarded 'Padmashree', was the chairman of the 'Natya Sammelan' and 'Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan' and also was a M.L.A.

Raghuveer (Jadugar - Magician) (1924-1984)
Bhopale was the surname of this Famous Magician from Pune. Inspired from a Magician called Rana who performed Rajasthani Magic in a show held in his School. By his dedication and efforts mastered the art of Magic and Hypnotism and performed hundreds of shows not only in India but also in Japan, England etc. In 1960 started Magic classes in 'Pravasi Jadugar' - a place which he built for himself. Wrote his experiences in two books named 'Pravasi Jadugar' and 'Me Pahilela Russia'.

Ramabai Pandita (1858-1922)
Born in Karnataka Pandita Ramabai a social reformer and a champion for the emancipation of women. Dongare was her surname prior to marriage.  As a Sanskrit Scholar she acquired a great reputation. She translated the Bible into Marathi, which was her mother tongue. Sanskrit scholars at Calcutta University who were deeply impressed with her knowledge and ability conferred on her the titles of 'Saraswati' and 'Pandita'. She was baptized in England. She was determined that becoming a Christian should not be interpreted as a denial of her Indian culture and roots. In 1882, for the cause of women's education Ramabai established the Arya Mahila Samaj. This led to her founding Sharada Sadan in 1889, this school bloomed into the umbrella organization which came to be known as PANDITA RAMABAI MUKTI MISSION. She died on April 5th 1922.

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