Maharashtra Day – 1st May
Maharashtra Day also known as Maharashtra Din (महाराष्ट्र दिन) is celebrated on 1st May every year to commemorate the formation of the state of Maharashtra. On this day, the modern-day state of Maharashtra was created on a linguistic basis, where Marathi-speaking people reside.
History of Maharashtra
After India’s independence in 1947, India had Mysore, Punjab, Madras, Bombay, Orissa, Bengal, United Provinces, Central Provinces, Assam, Rajasthan, and J&K as states. Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Delhi, Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands were the Union Territories.
The biggest reorganization of India’s internal boundaries occurred in 1956 when an official States Reorganization Act was implemented. This States Reorganization Act divided Kerala from Mysore state, Andhra Pradesh from Madras State, Himachal Pradesh as a Union Territory from Punjab and Tripura, and Manipur as a Union Territory from Assam. It also gave Delhi its current recognition of Union Territory.
The then Bombay though had people speaking various languages like Marathi, Gujarati, Kutchi, and Konkani, which obviously did not work out. So, the Sanyukt Maharashtra Andolan started demanding a separate state. Since 1956, the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement demanded a new state for Marathi speaking community. Similarly, there was the Mahagujarat Movement pressed for a state of Gujarat for Gujarati-speaking people in the Bombay State.
With the enactment of the States Reorganization Act, 1956, a new State of Bombay was formed on 1st May 1956 comprising the Marathi-speaking areas of the erstwhile Bombay State, Vidarbha region of the erstwhile State of Madhya Pradesh, Marathwada region of the erstwhile Hyderabad State, and the erstwhile States of Saurashtra and Kutch.
Subsequently, on 1st May with the enactment of the Bombay Reorganization Act, 1960 the former States of Kutch and Saurashtra were taken out from the State of Bombay to form the new State of Gujarat and the truncated State of Bombay was renamed Maharashtra.
According to the Bombay Reorganization Act, of 1960, the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra were formed on 25th April 1960. However, the act came into effect on 1st May 1960, hence Maharashtra Day is celebrated annually on this day.
The day is celebrated across the state of Maharashtra with parades, political speeches, and ceremonies. There are various private and public events held on this day to celebrate the formation of the state and showcase the culture and tradition of the state. The day is declared a public holiday in Maharashtra, where all schools, offices, companies, and all State and Central Government offices celebrate this day with various programs.
The day coincides with International Labour day when the whole world is busy celebrating May Day. But the people of Maharashtra and Gujarat celebrate this day much bigger way. The Governor of Maharashtra addresses a big gathering in Shivaji Park in Dadar where a grand parade is held every year, along with new projects and schemes announced by the state government. During the parade, several events are held showcasing the culture and traditions of Maharashtra.
Commemorating the special day in the respective districts, a flag is hoisted every year with tributes to the martyrs on this day. In addition to government celebrations, there are various private celebrations across the state to celebrate the formation of the state. Various traditional Lavani performances are held across the state where poems written by Marathi saints are narrated, while processions are held across the state.
All offices in the state remain closed and the sale of alcohol is prohibited on this day. Personalities from various backgrounds such as sports persons, police officials, and doctors are rewarded in recognition of this notable service to the state.
Suggested read: Maharashtra – Culture and Tradition