At the stroke of midnight on May 1, 1960, bells tolled and trumpets blew as a new state was formed. As guns boomed and a "sudden drizzle" failed to dampen spirits, Jawaharlal Nehru made the 'fulfilment of a long-cherished desire of the people' official. Maharashtra was now a state in its own right, to be led by Chief Minister elect YB Chavan.
"The new state of Maharashtra was inaugurated by Prime Minister Nehru by pressing a button which unveiled a flood-lit map of Maharashtra in deep vermillion at Raj Bhavan at 12 midnight on Saturday" the Free Press Journal reported a few hours later. The front page of the paper was dominated by the formation of the states of Mahahrashtra and Gujarat.
The celebrations in Maharashtra took many forms. While the official event saw top dignitaries enjoy a function (shehnai music, rendition of Marathi devotional songs by Lata Mangeshkar and more), over 25,00 people held a torch light procession taken out by the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti in Mumbai.
"I send my greetings and best wishes to the Government and people of the new state. In our history and political development, Maharashtra is a name to conjure with," added President Rajendra Prasad. At the official function, gold medals with the mudra of Maharashtra, each weighing five tolas were presented to several top dignitaries.
Take a look at the front page of the newspaper: