Pune is a city which whose diverse nature is nurturing to all sorts of different industries, from art and culture to heritage and social movements. The city has given birth to several successful Punekars who changed the world and can never be forgotten; the list is too vast to cover in just one time but to name a few…
Mahatma Jyotiba Phule
Considered as one of the most important figures of the Social Reform Movement in Maharashtra, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule was an activist known for his efforts to eradicate untouchability, the caste system and discrimination against women. Being from a lower caste himself, and having faced injustice, he began the movement against the caste system. He and his wife, Savitribai Phule were the pioneers of women’s education in India. They opened the first school for girls in India back in 1848, and started a home for upper caste widows as well as new-born infants to prevent female infanticide.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Better known as “The Father of the Indian Unrest” by the British, Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the first leader of the Indian Independence Movement. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1890. He was known for publishing inflammatory articles in his paper Kesari against the British. He also encouraged the Swadeshi movement and the Boycott movement, in which foreign goods were boycotted and promoted usage of natively produced goods. Before his political career, he was a teacher and organized the Deccan Education Society along with his friends and established Fergusson College in 1885 where he taught mathematics.
Gopal Krishna Gokhale
A rival of Tilak, Gokhale, a senior leader in the Indian National Congress, believed in reform more than independence. He believed this could best be achieved by working with the existing British government institutions. He also founded the Servants of India Society which promoted the expansion of Indian education. He is also known to mentor Mahatma Gandhi in his former years in South Africa.
Shantanurao Laxmanrao Kirloskar was an Indian businessman who had found financial success even in the pre-independence era. He was one of the first Indians to graduate from MIT in Cambridge and instrumental behind the rapid growth of Kirloskar Group. He created a an empire that has seen one of the highest growth rates in Indian history and till date stands as one of India’s largest engineering conglomerates.
Pu La Deshpande
A Marathi writer and humorist, an accomplished film and stage actor, music composer, singer and orator, Pu La Deshpande was one of Maharashtra’s beloved personalities. He was most loved for his plays and writings that are deeply rooted in the Marathi language. He worked for Doordarshan for some time and was the first person to interview the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru on Indian Television.
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