Maharashtra Day or Maharashtra Diwas is an annual festival observed in the state of Maharashtra. Celebrated every year on the 1st of May, the day marks the formation of the state of Maharashtra. Political speeches and parades celebrating the culture and tradition of Maharashtra constitute an important part of the day.
Maharashtra Din 2020
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A brief history of Maharashtra Diwas
The States Reorganisation Act, 1956 demarcated each Indian state on the basis of languages. However, in the erstwhile Bombay, different languages were spoken, including Marathi, Gujarati, Kutchi and Konkani. This is when the Sanyukta Maharashtra Samiti started a movement demanding a separate state.
The organisation wanted Bombay to be divided into two parts—one that would comprise Marathi- and Konkani-speaking people and another that would primarily have Gujarati- and Kutchhi-speaking people.
Parallelly, another movement called Mahagujarat Movement started. The latter’s demand was to have a separate state for all the Gujarati-speaking people. These movements were marred with frequent clashed between the two groups demanding a separate state for their community. Finally, peace was restored with the introduction of Bombay Reorganization Act.
As a result of this movement or andolan, the state of Maharashtra and Gujarat were formed according to the Bombay Reorganisation Act, 1960. The legislation came into effect on 1 May 1960, the same day as the International Worker’s Day.
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How is Maharashtra Day celebrated?
Each year, the Government of Maharashtra has considered 1 May as a public holiday to commemorate the birth of the state. Most educational institutions like schools, colleges, offices remain closed on this special day. The day begins with a parade at Shivaji Park, Dadar. The Governor of the state along with the state reserve police, home guards, Mumbai Police, BMC Force, traffic police, among others take part in the parade. Several events are held showcasing the culture and traditions of Maharashtra.
A flag is hoisted at the respective district headquarters in the presence of dignitaries as they commemorate the day with tributes to martyrs on this day. Personalities from various backgrounds such as sportspersons, police officials, and doctors are rewarded in recognition of this notable service to the state.
Celebrations by the people of Maharashtra, on this Maharashtra Diwas, celebrate the day with traditional Lavani performances – narration of poems written by Marathi saints, while processions are held across the state. The State government and several private companies take the opportunity to inaugurate and launch new projects and schemes on Maharashtra Day. Incidentally, this day is also celebrated as the International Labour Day across the world, which is being observed since the 19th century.
Maharashtra Diwas or Maharashtra Din signifies the victory celebration for a Marathi political movement based on linguistics. The vocal mobilisation of the late 1950s and the early 1960s has left a deep-rooted impact on the people of Maharashtra and its culture and traditions.
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The freedom struggle from the British was an integral part of the history of India and even more so was the struggle towards the forming of states for an effective administration of independent India. On 1 May 1960, the existing state of Maharashtra was formed after its division with Gujarat. Originally known as Bombay State was divided into Maharashtra and Gujarat based on languages after marking boundaries under the State Reorganisation Act 1956.
This day is also popularly referred to as Maharashtra Diwas or Maharashtra Din by the Marathi speaking people of the state. The original Bombay State had people speaking several languages such as Marathi, Gujarati, Konkani and Kutchi. However, having two linguistic units in a single state was not feasible.
History of Maharashtra Diwas
This is when the Sanyukta Maharashtra Samiti was formed to make the movement successful, which strived to divide the Bombay State into two separate states, where one spoke Gujarati prominently and Kutchi, while the other state’s people spoke Marathi and Konkani. This is how Maharashtra attained its statehood in India.
The Sanyukta Maharashtra Samiti began the movement with peaceful agitations from the city of Belgaum (presently part of Karnataka), comprising of men and women across castes and communities. The United Maharashtra Movement or Sanyukta Maharashtra Samiti demanded that for a unified Maharashtra, Bombay would be part of the state.
After much struggle and agitations, the Sanyukta Maharashtra Samiti witnessed victory when the proposal for the formation of Maharashtra was put forward and approved in the Lok Sabha. With the resolution being passed in the house, the state of Maharashtra along with Bombay (presently Mumbai) as its capital.
How is Maharashtra Day Celebrated?
Every year parades are held at Shivaji Park where the Governor addresses the crowd. Schools, colleges, and offices in Maharashtra are closed Various cultural events and programmes celebrating the culture and tradition of Maharashtra are organised in various places. Traditional “lavani” performances and Marathi poetry recitals are also common on this day.
Liquor sales are prohibited, excluding foreigners, on this day.