While the whole world celebrates May 1 as International Labour day; for people in Maharashtra, May 1 is celebrated as 'Maharashtra Day'. The day is significant for Maharashtra as it was on May 1 when the state was formed, 58 years ago.
The States Reorganisation Act, 1956, defined boundaries for states within India on the basis of languages. The Bombay State formed under this act had people speaking various languages like Marathi, Gujarati, Kutchi and Konkani. But having two linguistic units in one state didn't seem to work.
That is when, the Sanyukt Maharashtra Andolan began and demanded a separate state. The Sanyukt Maharashtra Andolan continued till 1960 and in the same year, the Bombay Reorganization Act was passed by India's Parliament to divide the multilingual state Bombay into Gujarat and Maharashtra. The legislation came into effect on May 1, 1960.
The Maharashtra Day, thus, is special as it established the identity of the state with its Marathi-speaking community. Every year May 1 is observed as a public holiday. On this day, educational institutes, banks, government offices and several establishments remain shut.
To celebrate the day, a parade is held and the governor of Maharashtra addresses people gathered at the Shivaji Park in Dadar to commemorate the day. But, owing to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, the celebrations will not take place. For once, the streets will be empty…