Pune has a glorious and rich past, with rulers from several dynasties heading the city since its origin. Pune ascended to fame mainly during the rule of Marathas, Peshwas and Britishers. The modern Pune now boasts of a citizen elected governing body, under Maharashtra State Government.
However, it would be interesting to know how the existence of Pune came into the picture and how the rulers from different empires contributed to the history of Pune.
First Traces of Existence
The history of Pune can be traced to 5th century when Kasba Peth was constructed. Kasba Peth is now considered the oldest locality of Pune and situated in the heart of the city. However, it is unknown who built Kasba Peth.
Early and Medieval (Pre-Maratha Era)
Around 8th century, copper plates dated 858 A.D. and 868 A.D. were discovered, indicating that Pune was ruled by the Rashtrakutas dynasty and known as Punakka (Holy Region). This royal dynasty originated from Karantaka but spread its reign to Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh for almost two centuries.
The Yadav Empire of Deogiri took over the power of Pune in their hands somewhere in 9th century and continued their supremacy till 1327.
It is not clear about the subsequent rulers after the Yadavas, but regional Muslim Nizamshahi sultans are also believed to have established their rule over Pune for a considerable period of time till 16th century.
Though Pune was under the Nizamshahi, it was looked after by Maloji Bhosale who was appointed by Mughals as the jagirdar (recipient of a feudal estate) of Pune in the year 1595. After his death, his son Shahaji Bhosale inherited the administration of Pune. But Shahaji's political and career interests took him to a different road and he left the governance of Pune as well as care of his son Shivaji Bhosale (to be later known as Chhatrapati Shivaji) with Dadaji Kondadev.
Pune ultimately rose to immense prominence in Indian history with the rise of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the founder and leader of Maratha Empire. He fought against the Mughals and captured Pune to make it one of major ruling territories of Maratha Empire. But during his successful climb to power, Aurangzeb, the great Mughal warrior managed to defeat him, imprison him and regain the control of Pune. Shivaji escaped and rose to his previous glory again, only to recapture Pune.
There was a brief period of instability between late 16th century and early 17th century, with the power of Pune shuffling between the Mughals and the Marathas amidst the deaths of Shivaji in 1680 and Aurangzeb in 1707.
After the death of Aurangzeb, Pune was brought under the sovereignty of Peshwas who were earlier the prime ministers in Maratha Empire. Bajirao Peshwa I was the first ruler of Pune from Peshwa dynasty. But subsequently Peshwas headed towards decline, owing to continuous defeats in the Battle of Panipat and Battle of Poona.
The Peshwa dynasty finally came to an end with their defeat at the hands of the Britishers during the Battle of Khadki in 1817. The last Peshwa ruler Bajiroa Peshwa II fled the battleground and Pune was brought under Bombay Presidency by the Britishers. They established Pune Municipality in 1858.
Post Independence Era (1947 till present)
After Indian gained independence in 1947, Pune became an independent city. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has held the charge of Pune since 1950. The PMC elections are held every year to select the corporators of administration, headed by a mayor. The voting is done by general public from the candidates of state political parties. The executive powers of PMC lie with the municipal commissioner who is an Indian Administrative Officer (IAS), appointed by the state government of Maharashtra. While the mayor of Pune acts as the representative of Pune and has restricted duties. The Pune police works under Home Ministry and is responsible for maintaining law and order in the city.