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Maharashtra Day

Written By Admin on Tuesday, 1 May 2012 | Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Maharashtra Day on May 1 is celebrated in Maharashtra, a state on western coast of India. Maharashtra attained statehood on 1st of May, 1960 when Bombay state was divided into two states, Maharashtra and Gujarat on the basis of different languages, Marathi and Gujarati, under the Saurashtra re-organization act. Maharashtra retained old capital Bombay, which was later renamed Mumbai.

Initially the present states of “Maharashtra and Gujarat” constituted one state by the name of “Bombay”. Marathi and Gujarati speaking people co existed in the same state. However certain problems ensued in this bi lingual state. So it was decided upon in the Bombay Reorganization Committee to divide Bombay into two states and get over the difficulties. Hence the erstwhile Bombay Presidency ceased to exist and two new states of Gujarat and Maharashtra were formed.
Bombay then became the capital of the new state. In independent India, Bombay, the bilingual state, continued as one state consisting of Maharashtra and Gujarat. But this equation of two linguistic units in one state did not work and therefore on 1st May 1960, under the Bombay re-organization Act, Maharashtra and Gujarat were divided into separate states. Maharashtra retained the old capital Bombay. Shiv Sena Government has renamed the capital city Bombay into Mumbai. In Mumbai, the Maharashtra Day celebrations are held at the Shivaji Park in central Mumbai. The governor of the state takes the salute at the ceremonial parade, comprising members of the state reserve police force, Brihanmumbai Commando Force, home guards, civil defence, fire brigade and city police.

Many people had fought in favor of this unified cause. Some had even given up their life while protesting. On Maharashtra Day, these martyrs are remembered and homage is paid to them. Hutatma Smarak, a memorial which was built in honor of the martyrs is attended to by many. On this occasion several distinguished individuals are also honored for their contribution. Illustrious teachers, police officials, sportsmen, doctors are congratulated for their effective roles in their respective fields.

When India became an Independent State in1947, Bombay in Western India, was a separate state with the areas in the existing Maharashtra and Gujarat states. In 1950s Samyukta Maharshtra Samiti (SMS) spearheaded the demand for creation of a separate Marathi speaking state out of the then bilingual State of Bombay. The demand was in line with the pledge, the Indian National Congress had taken for linguistic states prior to Independence. However after the Independence, Nehru adamantly opposed to linguistic states. Though Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka came into formation in 1950, the Central Government was not paying any heed to popular demand for creation of Maharashtra on the same line.

Tired of the adamant attitude of the then Government at the Center, people at last decided to fight against it. The government used force to suppress the demand. More than hundred people were killed when the police opened fire at Flora Fountain in Mumbai. Samyukta Maharshtra Samiti (SMS) achieved its goal when the state, with Mumbai as its capital, was formed on 1st May, 1960, under the Bombay Re-Organization Act. It is to commemorate this tragic incident that Flora Fountain is renamed since then as Hutatma Smarak.

However Goa (then a Portages Colony), Belgaum, Karwar and adjoining areas, part of the Maharashtra State envisioned by the Samiti, were not included in the newly formed state. Even to this day Belgaum district with a majority of Marathi speaking people is an active dispute with a petition by the Maharashtra government pending in Supreme Court.

  • During British Rule, Western part of India under direct British rule part of Bombay Presidency.
  • Year 1937 – The Bombay presidency became a province of British India.
  • Year 1947 – India got independency.  India was formatted in different States based on language speaking by local public.  Most of Princely State (Native State or Indian State – not directly administrated by British, rather by an Indian ruler under form of Indirect Rule)  including the Gujarat States and Deccan states were merged with former Bombay province, which was renamed the State of Bombay.
  • Year 1956 – State of Bombay was expanding to incorporate Marathawada [Marathi speaking region of Hyderabad State] , Vidarbha [Marathi Speaking region of Madhya Pradesh], Saurashtra [Gujarati Speaking region] and Kutch [Gujarati speaking region]. Also some part of State of Bombay moved to some other state like Kannada speaking region moved to Karnataka [Karnataka was created on 1st November 1956 under States Reorganization Act ].  So Only one state is in India where Marathi and Gujarati language was used as local language unlike as other state. So people called “State of Bombay” as “Maha Dwibhashi Rajya (The Great Bilingual State)”.
  • Year 1960 – In between 1959 -60, Marathi and Gujarati desperately tried to get state based on their language. “The Maha Gujarat Movement” was led by Shri Indubhai Yagnik and “Unification of all Marathi speaking region under one state” was demanded by “Samyukta Maharastra Samiti”.  In early 1960, this movement was violated which partitioned “State of Bombay” into States of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
State of Bombay had three chief ministers. Balashaeb Gangadhar Kher was first one followed by Morarji Desai and Yashwantrao Chauhan.

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