Maharashtra Day: Significance, History, Struggle and more of May 1

The sacrifice of 106 people, who were killed by the police during their protest, made it possible to form a Marathi-speaking state which is known as Maharashtra today

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When the world celebrates International Labour Day on May 1, Maharashtra is engrossed in remembering its creation day. The formation of Maharashtra, a lingual division of the Bombay State, was achieved after a long struggle. In order to understand the struggle behind the formation of Maharashtra, learning its history is essential.  


History

Before Independence, the British government ruled the western coast of India under the Bombay Presidency which included the Bombay and Sindh Province. However, after getting Independence in the year 1947, the Bombay province became the part of India and Sindh was inducted in Pakistan. In the year 1950, the territory which was retained became the state of Bombay or Bombay state.


States Reorganisation Committee

After the States Reorganisation Act of 1956 was implemented which defines the boundaries of states within India on the basis of languages, the Bombay state witnessed a major expansion with the merger of several states including Kutch states, Marathi-speaking Marathwada and Vidarbha region, and others.

The States Reorganisation committee had earlier suggested a bilingual state for Maharashtra and Gujarat with Bombay as its capital. However, the central government under the Prime Ministership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was in favour of making Bombay (currently Mumbai) as a city-state.


Sanyukta Maharashtra Movement

Along with this, former Bombay state had people speaking several languages including Konkani, Marathi, Gujarati, and Kutchi. However, with Sanyukta Maharashtra Movement and the organisation’s struggle for almost five years, the Bombay state was divided into Maharashtra and Gujarat in 1960. Moreover, Bombay city also became a part of Maharashtra.

Sanyukta Maharashtra Samiti was an organisation formed in 1956 which demanded the formation of a separate Marathi-speaking state along with the merger of Bombay city, under the leadership of Keshavrao Jedhe. Many notable freedom fighters and social reformers participated in the struggle against the Congress government including Acharya Atre, Prabodhankar Thackeray, and others.

In free India, almost 106 people were killed by police during their protest. After which, the new Marathi-speaking state called 'Maharashtra' came into being on May 1, 1960, as per the Bombay Reorganisation Act passed by the central government.


What Happens on May 1

Every year, there is a parade organised at Shivaji Park in order to commemorate the formation of the state of Maharashtra. Several officials participate in the celebration including the state Governor and members of the police force. It is a public holiday in the state. Schools, colleges, banks, government and private offices remain closed on this day. 

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