Importance of 1st May in Maharashtra History
The importance of 1st May in Maharashtra history is highlighted by celebration of State Day known as Maharashtra Diwas which referred as Maharashtra Din, too. On this day in 1960 state of Maharashtra was formed and came into being. It is a state holiday. The state was formed by division of the Bombay State and commemorated by parades, political speeches , ceremonies, public and private events which celebrate the traditions and history of Maharashtra.
The state of Maharashtra was formed on the basis of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956 which defined boundaries for the states in India according to language spoken in the area. But in the Bombay State different languages like Marathi, Gujarati, Kutchi and Konkani were spoken, while some Marathi speaking area was in then Mysore (Now Karnataka) state. The Sanyukta Maharashtra Samiti spearheaded the movement to divide the Bombay State into two states; one where people primarily spoke Marathi and Konkani and other where people primarily spoke Gujarati and Kutchhi. Hence, the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat were formed as the outcome of this movement. The Bombay Reorganisation Act, 1960 was enacted by the Parliament of India on 25 April 1960 which came into effect on 1 May 1960 which is celebrated every year.
During the Sanyukta Maharashtra Samiti agitation, total 105 people were martyred towards the cause of formation Maharashtra state, especially at the Flora Fountain ( Today called Hutatma Chowk or Martyr’s Crossroad) in the city of Mumbai in January 1960 and various part of the state in police firing and other causes related to agitation. The Sanyukta Maharashtra Andolan or United Maharashtra Movement agitation was led by Keshavrao Jedhe. The agitation especially demanded inclusion of city of Mumbai as the state capital with other Marathi majority areas which are part of state today. The Centre wanted to detach the then Bombay city from Maharashtra and make it into a separate city-state which was unacceptable to the Marathi people. This movement gained prominence when the then Finance Minister in the central cabinet under Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, Mr. C. D. Deshmukh, a Maharashtrian, resigned to support the United Maharashtra Movement. Eventually, the proposal for the formation of Maharashtra was put forward and approved in the Lok Sabha and after passing of resolution, the state of Maharashtra with capital at Mumbai came into existence on May 1st 1960.
Since then, the 1st May is celebrated as Maharashtra Diwas whereby functions are held at the Shivaji Park, Mumbai each year which is attended by the governor, chief minister and other ministers, armed force officials, police, and the general public. Maharashtra Diwas is marked by the parade, hoisting of the national flag, and paying respect to the martyrs of Sanyukta Maharashtra Andolan across the state.