Maharashtra Day is observed on May 1 every year to celebrate the existence of the state. The state is celebrating its 61st foundation day today. On May 1, 1960, the state of Bombay was divided into two - Gujarat and Maharashtra - under the Bombay Reorganization Act. The act came in after years of protests and demand for a separate state.
The demand for a separate state for Marathi-speaking people began in 1940. Samyukta Mahasabha Organisation was formed in present-day Mumbai for the statehood movement.
Before the formation of Maharashtra, the entire region of Maharashtra and Gujarat was known as the state of Bombay and included people speaking four major languages including Marathi, Kutchi, Gujarati, and Konkani. When the Bombay Reorganization Act came into effect on May 1, 1960, the erstwhile Bombay state was divided into two states - Gujarat and Maharashtra. The division of the states was done based on the language that people spoke. Those speaking Kutchi and Gujarati, became a part of Gujarat while those who spoke Marathi and Konkani became a part of Maharashtra. Along with Maharastra Day, Gujarat Day is also celebrated on May 1.
However, amid the COVID pandemic, Maharashtra Day is being celebrated without any big events taking place to mark the foundation day. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray hoisted the national flag at Mantralaya, the administrative headquarters of the state in south Mumbai. He paid floral tributes to the portraits of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Maratha king's mother Jijamata and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Earlier, he visited Hutatma Chowk in south Mumbai and placed a wreath at the memorial to pay respects to 105 martyrs, who laid down their lives for a unified Maharashtra.
Last year too, the Maharashtra Day event at Shivaji Park was cancelled due to the nationwide lockdown that was imposed to curtail the coronavirus.