Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Samyukta Maharashtra Movement


A study of Samyukta Maharashtra movement reveals this familiar general pattern. The rise and growth of the Samyukta Maharshtra movement must be studied not merely in the general context of the countrywide agitation for linguistic States but also in the particular context of the society and politics in Maharashtra.


The problem of recognizing the states and demarcating their boundaries after setting conflicting claims considerable anxiety to the government of India and the congress party after the achievement of independence. It was a legacy of the pre-independence period during which the congress committed itself to the idea of redrawing the map of India mainly on the linguistic basis. After the achievement of freedom, various linguistic groups demanded the redemption of the old pledge.

Historical Background

At no time in the history of India, all the regions, which now constitute the state of Maharashtra, were politically one. They were ruled for centuries by different dynasties till shivaji succeeded in out an independent kingdom for the Marathas in 1674. Despite Aurangazeb’s did to destroy then after Shivsji death in 1680, the Marathas continued to dominate politics in India.

Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti

Samyukta Maharashtra samiti was on organization that spearheaded the demand, in the 1950s, for the creation of a separate Marathi-speaking state out of the (then bilingual) state of Bombay in western India. The organization was founded on February 6, 1956, under the leadership of Keshavrav jedhe in Pune. Prominent activist if Samyukta mahatashtra samiti were Acharya Atre, Prabodhankar thakeray, Senapati Bapat and Shahir AmarShaikh among others.

The Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti was achieving his goal on May 1, 1960 when the state of Bombay was partitioned into the Marathi-speaking State of Maharashtra and the Gujarati-speaking State of Gujarat.

In early 1960, demonstrators were fired upon by the police at Flora Fountain in the capital city of Mumbai (Bombay). Flora Fountain was subsequently renamed Hutatma chowk or “Marty’s Crossroads” in their memory. It is estimated that in all, 105 people met their death in violence related to the movement.

Details of Samyukta Maharashtra Movement

The socio-economic conditions have also considerably influenced the course of the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement. Barring the industrially advanced Bombay-Poona region, the rest of Maharashtra is even now industrially as underdeveloped as several other states in India. Nearly 70 per cent of its people living in rural areas depend on agriculture for their livelihood. As the percentage of net irrigated areas to the cultivated areas is extremely low and the rainfall irregular, scanty and undependable, agriculture in Maharashtra has invariably been affected by the vagaries of the monsoon. During British rule, major irrigation schemes were undertaken only in the Deccan. As the storage sites for construction of dams on the rivers in Gujarat were to be located in the former princely states, which were not eager to co-operate, Gujarat had to wait till independence for the implementation of major and minor irrigation schemes (Patel, cultivated by their tenants. It was not, therefore, surprising that the twin targets of the anti-Brahmin movement, which gathered strength in the twenties and the thirties, were the non-Marathi-speaking Shetaji (a rich person) and the Marathi-speaking Bhataji (a Brahmin priest).

Another important feature of Maharashtra’s economy is its pathetic dependence on the Bombay Metropolitan region. It accounts for 75 per cent the industrial activity in Maharashtra and nearly 65 percent of factory workers in the state. It is because of Greater Bombay that Maharashatra appears to be India’s most urbanished and industrially advanced state. But excluding Greater Bombay, even now, it is not merely as backward as less industrialized parts of the country.

A separate State of the Marathi-speaking Brahmins was possible. By raising the spectre of the Maratha caste-cluster’s hegemony, the Gujarati-speaking leaders who opposed Samyukta Maharashtra often urged the Marathi speaking Brahmins to give up their demand. Though a majority of the letter refused to be frightened by this nightmare not a negligible section of Brahmins did feel assured by the presence of the Gujarati-speaking.

None of the Maharashtra contingent was ever regarded as a member of congress high command in the Nehru era. The absence of the Marathi-speaking leaders in the decision –making group of the congress led to the belief that Maharashtra was lagging behind and had a secondary position in an Indian politics. Not only congressmen but also by non-congress leader demanded the fact that Maharashtra congress leader were occupying back seats. What was even more significant that several leaders and leading intellectuals of Maharashtra often gave vent to this feeling during the post-independence period when the congress high command persisted in refusing to concede the demand for Samyukta Maharashtra.

Unlike the powerful movements for the creation of separate provinces of Bihar, Orisa, Andhra and Karnataka, the campaign for the Samyukta Maharashtra was relatively of recent origin. Congress leaders from Maharashtra did not evince any interest in the early attempts made by the Samyukta Maharashtra. Sabha in 1940 to mobilize public opinion for the unification of Maharashtra. They believed that the creation of linguistic provinces was a secondary question, which could be tackled after independence.

Battle for Bombay

The battle for Bombay had four distinct phases. During the first phase (1946 to 17 November 1955) under the leadership of the Samyukta Maharashtra Parishad.the supporters of Samyukta Maharashtra tried to bargain with their opponents by giving certain guarantees and by agreeing to provide safe-guard to protect their legitimate interest (Dec. 1954; letter to Thakurdas) but the Bombay citizens’ committee led by Purshottamdas Thakurdas was quit adamant and reiterated its demand for a separate city-state of Bombay.


tHe_NeW_cYnIc said...

Hey this is me Nikita. Interesting blog...I m blogrolling you.

vivek jadhav said...

कोणीतरी आजही संयुक्त महाराष्ट्राबद्दल बोलतय,लिहीतय हे बघुन आनंद वाटला.
आभारी आहे. माझाही ब्लॉग आहे.

Sanjay Mahale said...

Great to see blogs on Sanyukta Maharashtra chalwal. We have also blog on खान्देशातील संयुक्त महाराष्ट्र चळवळ साथी बी सी महाले