Bombay 1740 to present.

Nanasaheb succeeded Bajirao as Peshwa in 1740. He had two brothers, Raghunathrao, who later betrayed the Marathas and joined hands with the British, and Janardan, who died in his early youth.

Nanasaheb was ambitious and a multifaceted person.In 1741, when his uncle Chimnaji died, he returned from the northern districts and spent nearly a year improving the civil administration of Pune. The period between 1741 and 1745 was of comparative calm in the Deccan. Nanasaheb encouraged agriculture, protected the villagers and brought about a marked improvement in the state of the territory.

The scene changed in 1751, when the Mughals, supported by the French, advanced towards Pune, totally destroying every village in their way. The Marathas fought with great determination, and nothing but the French artillery saved them from total defeat. In 1754, Raghunathrao, Nanasaheb’s brother started on an expedition to conquer Gujarat, the state north of Bombay. In 1756, Nanasaheb marched south to attack Karnatak. In the meantime, news spread that the war had broken out between the English and the French, in Europe.

In 1756, the fall of the formidable navy formed by Shivaji gave British their chance to regain importance in the region. The navy was headed by Kanhoji Angre and its destruction was a cruical blow to Maratha sea power. It was a sad outcome of neglect of navy by Marathas which turned out to be a horrible mistake. Marathas never regained control of the sea after that.

In 1761, the Marathas were defeated at the third Battle of Panipat against Ahmadshah Abdali , a great warrior from Afganistan. Marathas were fighting to save Delhi Sultanat and consequently their power in the north. NajibUddowla was the person responsible for calling Abdali. 14th January, 1761 was the D-Day. This was a cruical blow to the rising Maratha power from which they never recovered. They lost more than 100,000 men and dozens of important Sardars in the battle. Nanasaheb Peshwe ( Balaji Bajirao ) lost his brother, Sadashivrao ( After whom the Sadashiv Peth in Pune is named ), and also his first son, Vishwasrao, in this battle. This news shattered Balaji Bajirao, who died shortly afterwards, in the temple on Parvati hill in Pune. The Maratha power was at the zenith of its glory during Balaji Bajirao’s (also called Nana Saheb Peshwa) reign. It never fully recovered from the crushing defeat at Panipat.

‘Thorale’ Madhaorao Peshwa – 1761 to 1772

Madhavrao, his second son then took over, but had to constantly face administrative disputes with his uncle, Raghunathrao. Despite of this, he achieved many remarkable victories and restored the shattred Maratha kingdom to a large extent. His outstanding achievements included defeat of Nizam (Hyderabad), Hyder (Karnataka) and Bhosle of Nagpur. He also had to fight wars with Raghunathrao whose greed for power never waned. Ultimately, Madhavrao took Raghunathrao prisoner in 1768; the same year when the Nizam attacked Pune.He was eventually defeated. Madhavrao, also called ‘Thorale’or Greatest Madhavrao, is entitled to special praise for supporting the poor and for his sense of justice. Ramshastri Prabhune, the chief justice, has become a legend for his work. The people who rose to power in his rule were Mahadji Shinde, Nana Phadnis and Haribhau Phadke who became the key figures in the power structure after his death. He took ill in 1771 and died in 1772 at an early age of 27, causing yet another blow to recovering Maratha power.

Narayanrao Peshwa – 1772 to 1773

Narayanrao, Balaji Bajirao’s third son succeeded the throne at Shaniwarwada as the next Peshwa. He neither had the courage to take any bold decisions nor administrative skills and soon became very unpopular among the people. In 1773, Raghunathrao, who had been imprisoned by Madhavrao, in a room in the palace in Pune, escaped with the help of the Gardi people . Narayanrao was murdered at the Shaniwar wada , owing to a conspiracy by Anandibai, Raghunathrao’s wife.

‘Sawai’ Madhaorao Peshwa – 1774 to 1795

Raghunathrao was proclaimed the next peshwa, although he was not heir to the title. Narayanrao’s widow gave birth to a son, Sawai Madhavrao, who was legally the next peshwa. Raghunathrao tried to maintain his kingdom by signing treaties with the English , and relied on them for manpower in exchange for money and territory. However his plans did not succeed. Raghoba was displaced from power by a clever plot by the 12 Maratha sardar’s ” Barambhainche karasthaan” ( Plot by 12 people ) including Nana, Holkar, Phadke Shinde . Sawai Madhavrao was then declared the next Peshwa. As he was only one year old at that time, Nana Phadnis became the main administrator with Phadke,Shinde,Holkar taking care of Military duties. These people handled the Peshwai well and with great unity till the premature death of Sawai Madhaorao in 1795. They defeated the rising British Power in 1784, near Pune and halted their advancements, temporarily. Sawai Madhaorao’s death was the last blow to the Maratha empire and all the unity among its leaders vanished after his death causing a downfall of Peshwai in a short time.

‘Second’ Bajirao Peshwa – 1795 to 1802

Raghunathrao died in 1782, leaving behind him, two sons; Bajirao, who in 1817 confronted the British at the Battle of Kirkee, in Pune; and the younger, Chimnaji Appa. Bajirao became the next Peshwa after Madhaorao’s death. Nana was still the administrator and the Peshwai remained in stable condition till his death owing to his superb administrative skills. Nana died in 1800 and Pune fell into the hands of the Sindia’s ( Shinde) ; the former chiefs of Nana’s army. They remained in power for a short while and in 1802, Bajirao reestablished himself in Pune, by signing the treaty of Bassein with the British. This essentially ended Peshwai , establishing British supremacy in the region. The capturing of the Ahmednagar fort in 1803, proved British supremacy in the Deccan. In 1804, General Wellesly proclaimed the Deccan in a state of chaos, established military rule and the Peshwas remained rulers for name’s sake.

The British Raj – 1818 to 1947

Towards the end of 1805 Sir James Mackintosh, the Chief Justice of Bombay (1804-1811), came from Bombay to visit Colonel Close, the Resident at Pune. The Residency on the ‘Sangam'(confluence of the Mula and Mutha rivers) Mackintosh describes as a set of bungalows, fitted conveniently and luxuriously. Pune city had its principal streets paved with stone, and was reckoned one of the best built native towns in India. The Peshwa’s residence, that is the Shaniwar wada, added to Pune’s glory. Between 1805 and 1811, under Colonel Close and for a short while under Mr. Russel, affairs went smoothly in Pune.

In 1811, Mr. Russel was succeeded by Lord Mountstuart Elphinstone. Bajirao was very disloyal to the British, and in November of 1817, he declared war against them. This battle was fought at Kirkee, that is the Cantonment area, in the east of Pune. The Peshwa fled and the power of the country passed from the Peshwas to the British by 1819. The rest of the nineteenth century witnessed a few minor uprisings in and around Pune, but the British established their supremacy. As the Maratha’s were the key power in India at this time, their fall clearly marked the begining of British Rule in India.

The first step towards establishing a municipal government in the city of Pune, was taken in 1856, when the Pune Municipality came into existence under the Act of 1850. The fact that Pune is not recognized as a major tourist center, is probably because it cannot boast of outstanding artistic specimens of architecture, like those of Delhi or Agra. Yet, it is rich in its associations with the past.

In the early 20th century, the whole of India was in revolt against the British; yearning for freedom. Mahatma Gandhi launched his movement of nonviolence, and people participated by the thousands in the ‘Chale Jao’ (‘go away’) struggle. Paradoxically, Pune witnessed violence when the Chaphekar brothers killed a British police officer by the name of Mr. Rand. On one hand, as the violence overrode the city, improvements were made in the education of women and the abolition of child labor. Independence was attained in 1947, but that was not the end of violence.

Modern Maharashtra – 1947 to Present

At Indian Independence in 1947, western Maharashtra and present-day Gujarat were joined as Bombay state. The eastern districts were then part of Hyderabad State, but were later added to Bombay in 1956. The present state was formed in 1960 when the Marathi and Gujarati linguistic areas of former Bombay state were separated. Bombay city became the capital of the new state.

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