Growing up, in Mumbai, May 1st was always celebrated as Maharashtra Day, the day my home state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital came into existence. So I thought it is only appropriate that today’s post be all about Maharashtra.
Maharashtra, which means ‘Great State‘ lies in the western part of India with the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chattisgarh to the east, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa to the south and the Arabian Sea to the west. Mumbai, the capital city is the country’s financial capital, though some may debate this claim in recent years and the state is also home to Bollywood!
Maharashtra is one of the wealthiest and the most developed states in India, contributing around a quarter of the country’s industrial output and GDP. This is also the second most populous state in India with almost 10% of India’s population in the state. His probably does not take the migrant population into account, so the actual numbers may be a bit higher. This is also the state with the longest road network in the country and the first train service in India and in fact continental Asia ran between Mumbai and Thane (a Mumbai suburb of sorts) on 16 April 1853. The headquarters of Central Railways, Chatrapti Shivaji Terminus aka CST is the busiest railway station in India, serving as a terminal for both long-distance trains and commuter trains of the Mumbai Suburban Railway.
One of the greatest Maratha warriors is Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who, along with his father Shahaji Bhosle is credited with the establishment of the independent Maratha Empire which defeated the Mughals conquered large territories in northern and central parts of the Indian subcontinent. The Third Anglo-Maratha war (1817–1818) led to the end of the Maratha Empire and East India Company ruled the country in 1819.
The British governed western Maharashtra as part of the Bombay Presidency, which spanned an area from Karachi in Pakistan to northern Deccan. A number of the Maratha states persisted as princely states, retaining autonomy in return for acknowledging British suzerainty. At the beginning of the 20th century, the struggle for independence took shape, led by nationalist extremists like Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and the moderates like Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Pherozeshah Mehta and Dadabhai Naoroji who were all born in this region.
The ultimatum to the British during the Quit India Movement was given in Mumbai, and culminated in the transfer of power and independence in 1947. After India’s independence, the Deccan States, including Kolhapur were integrated into Bombay State, which was created from the former Bombay Presidency in 1950.
In 1956, the States Reorganisation Act reorganised the Indian states along linguistic lines, and Bombay Presidency State was enlarged by the addition of the predominantly Marathi-speaking regions of Marathwada (Aurangabad Division) from erstwhile Hyderabad state and Vidarbha region from the Central Provinces and Berar. The southernmost part of Bombay State was ceded to Mysore. From 1954–1955 the people of Maharashtra strongly protested against bilingual Bombay state and the Mahagujarat Movement was started, seeking a separate Gujarat state.
Due to the mass protests and 105 deaths, by both linguistic groups, the Union government enacted the Bombay Reorganisation Act on 25 April 1960 which came into effect on 01 May 1960 leading to the formation of the states of Maharashtra and Gujrat by dividing the erstwhile Bombay state.