Fiftieth Anniversary of the Foundation of the Maharashtra State Celebrated

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From Sources: Eugene Moodubelle
Bellevision Media Network


Mumbai, 2 May 2010: The States of Maharashtra celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation on 1st May 2010. It was on 1st May 1960 that the two states-Maharashtra and Gujarat were established after bifurcating the single bi-lingual Bombay State. On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of  the foundation of the Maharashtra State, political leaders from all major political parties paid respect at the Hutatma Chowk (Martyr’s Square) in memory of the members of the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti who died at a police firing during a peaceful demonstration in 1960. The Samiti had demanded the unification of all Marathi-speaking regions under one state. Various programmes were held in different parts of the state in general and Mumbai in particular to mark the fiftieth year of the foundation of the State of Maharashtra.

Early in the morning, at 7 am, Governor K Sankaranarayanan, accompanied by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and council of ministers, offered  floral tributes to the martyrs of ’Samyukta Maharashtra Movement at Hutatma Chowk (Flora Fountain).  Later, the Governor greeted citizens and unfurled the National Flag at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai to mark the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the foundation of the state. After inspecting the  ceremonial parade, the Governor  delivered  the Maharashtra Day message to the people on this occasion. He also inaugurated an exhibition, organised by the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations on the theme of ’’Maharashtra’s Progress during the last 50 years’’ at the  Shivaji Park.

Several political parties and organisations also held various events on this occasion. While the ruling coalition-Congress and NCP parties had their official celebration of the golden Jubilee of the foundation of the State of Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena led by Balasaheb Thackeray and his son Udhav Thackeray and the Maharshtra Nava Nirman Sena (MNS) led by Raj Thackeray have been trying to woo the Marathi Manoos by celebrating this occasion in their own unique way in order to score higher points in the eyes of the Marathi speaking people. 

While the Shiv Sena roped in Lata Mangeshkar to sing patriotic songs in a musical concert at the Bandra-Kurla Complex on the evening of 1st May 2010, the MNS organised a programme at the Andheri Sports Complex in the evening of 30th April 2010 to honour 25 eminent Maharastrians including cricketers, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Ajit Wadekar and others besides other important personalities such as historian Babasaheb Purandhare and vocalist Kishori Amonkar.

A cultural programme, `Swarna Maharashtra’ (Golden Maharashtra) was organised at Girgaum Chowpatty that was based on historical, cultural and social heritage of Maharashtra.

It was exactly 50 years ago on 1st May 1960 that the two states were created-Maharashtra and Gujarat out of the greater Bombay State on the basis of two languages, Marathi and Gujarathi respectively. Thus, it was proper to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the creation of these two states. However, it is unfortunate that the different political parties have thought it fit to celebrate this significant day in their own way as the party show rather than celebrating as a combined event to show solidarity with the people who had sacrificed themselves irrespective of their party affiliation, religion or region. It was a general common people’s movement that had led to the creation of these two states.

When the states were reorgnaised in 1956, the Central Government had decided to constitute Bombay State as the bilingual state incorporating the regions inhabited by Marathi and Gujarathi  speaking population. The Marathi speaking people were shocked when attempts were being made to separate Bombay (Mumbai) from Maharasshtra. As most of the Congress leaders in Maharashtra were toeing the line of the Central government led by Jawaharlal Nehru, the common people decided to stand up and fight for their own rights.

When Jawaharlal Nehru made an announcement that Mumbai would be kept separate from Mharashtra and would be ruled from Delhi on 16th January 1956, the people of Mumbai rose in protest. The then chief minister of the Bombay State, Moraraji Desai ordered the police to shoot-at-sight that led to the death of  a young boy  named Bandu Gokhale, who was just coming out of a night school. This tragic incident led the common people to take to street in protest and the birth of the Samyuktha Maharashtra Movement.

The movement for the creation of  a separate state for the Maharashtrians was led by  five prominent personalities who came to be known as ‘Pancha pandavas’ who founded the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti on 6th February 1956 in Pune that spearheaded the movement . These leaders were: S.A Dange, the Communist leader, S.M. Joshi, the Socialist leader,  Acharya P.K. Atre, the journalist and play write, Prabhodankar Thackeray, father of Balashaeb Thackeray and Lalji Pendse.

Though these above leaders provided the intellectual and moral leadership, it was the ordinary Mumbaikars and mill workers who provided the muscle and strength to the movement. During the movement for the bifurcation of the state, 105 persons lost their lives and out of these martyrs 23 were non-Marathi speaking people.


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Comments on this Article
Victor D Souza, Moodubelle / Doha Sun, May-2-2010, 6:03
Best wishes to all People living in Maharashtra, Happy Maharashtra Day.
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