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Jai Maharashtra !…May 1,2010…Maharashtra celebrates it’s Golden Year

Jai Maharashtra !…..May 1 ,1960…Maharashtra was born….a little over two years in August 1962,I was born…makes me younger than Maharashtra !….Just last year in January 2009,my daughter,was the State Goalkeeper for the u-14 State Girls Football Team and at the Nationals in Chennai,we created history by coming Runners-Up….we landed in Mumbai chanting Jai Maharashtra !  

A few interesting historic facts that led to the State of Maharashtra being created

  • It was way back in 1906 that Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak mooted the State of Maharashtra
  • In 1955,the Government of India had planned to form three states…Samyukta Maharashtra(incl Vidarbha and Marathwada),Maha Gujarat(incl Kutch and Saurashtra) and Bombay
  • Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti was fighting to create Maharashtra that included Bombay too
  • On November 20,1955,the Congress had a rally at Girgaum Chowpatty Beach where the Bombay Congress President,supported by the Bombay Province CM,Morarji Desai declared that Maharashtra will not get Bombay for the next 5000 years!…they were pelted with stones that many mill workers had carried in their tiffin boxes! 
  • The very next day,November 21,1955,the protests continued led by the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti Movement and this turned further violent…15 demonstrators were  killed in police firing at Flora Fountain,in Bombay…this Fountain was built in 1964 in honour of Flora,the Roman Goddess of Abundance….in 1961 it was renamed Hutatma Chowk or Martyrs Square to honour all those who sacrificed their lives for the creation of the State of Maharashtra…this bloody incident led to Morarji Desai being replaced by Y B Chavan as the CM   
  • Our then PM, Jawaharlal Nehru has announced in January 1956 over All India Radio that Mumbai will be made a Union Territory …this led to widescale protests in Bombay…many were killed in police firing…On June 3,1956,Nehru declared Bombay as a Union Territory and refused to make it the capital of a Maharastra State 
  • The protests continued for four years led by the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti Movement and on April 21,1960,the Lok Sabha approved the division of  bigger bilingual state of Bombay  
  • On May 1,1960,two states were born out of Bombay…Mahrashtra and Gujarat
  • Bombay became the Capital of Maharashtra and the price that was paid for it by Maharashtra to Gujarat was Rs 56 crs and 300 Villages !

Bombay has since been renamed Mumbai

Ironically there is a growing cry to demerge Mumbai from Maharashtra so that this glorious cosmopolitan and bustling city,which is the financial capital of India is governed  effectively and headed by a professional CEO….Mumbai is simply bursting…with infrastructure woefully inadequate to serve the over 15 million and growing influx that have made it their home…this glorious city is being rampantly raped and destroyed by vested interests that have created a vicious stranglehold over the development of this great metropolis….their bullying strength comes from the nexus that exists between those in power,those who are the underbelly and those who run the city’s civil organisations and those who are supposed to maintain Law and Order…the ordinary citizen is at the wrong end of the stick and the quality of Life for most sucks !…..Yet the city is a great temptress…seducing the many who see it as a City of great opportunities  

If you had taken an aerial view of Mumbai in the 1960s 1970s and even 1980s you would have seen it dotted with Textile Mills….these were the lifeline for many in the city….then 1980s saw the decline as domestic and international competition to cotton came from man-made fibres and the going got tough for most mills to survive….Having known quite a few textile mill owners,I can certify that while Mill Workers became a desperate,desolate,frustrated,disillusioned and helpless lot fighting a hopeless cause,the mill owners never really suffered in their lifestyles….Mahesh Manjrekar has poignantly captured this tragedy of Mumbai in his latest film ‘City of Gold’…Go see it if you want a sense and feel of true Mumbai suffering…..and now Mill Owners are reaping the benefit of soaring Real Estate Prices after lobbying to get the DCO Rules 1991 diluted to the more liberal 2001 Rules   

Yet…despite all the warning signs and the growing misgivings….I Love Mumbai !….It’s a strong emotional umbilical cord …..born and brought up in it…it’s shielded,supported,showered opportunities and sheltered me…it’s alive and thriving…it’s vibrant and colourful…the pace may be hectic…but the choice to sidestep it, whenever you want, is yours

And I don’t have to be born into a Maharashtrain Family to be called a ‘Marathi Manoos’!   

Jai Mumbai ! Jai Maharashtra ! Jai India !        


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