On this day the state of Maharashtra attained statehood. Maharashtra is one of the largest states in India, both in terms of population and area. Its booming capital Mumbai, makes it not only one of the most important states, economically, but also a major gateway for overseas visitors.
When India became an Independent State in1947, Bombay in Western India, was a separate state with the areas in the existing Maharashtra and Gujarat states. In 1950s Samyukta Maharshtra Samiti (SMS) spearheaded the demand for creation of a separate Marathi speaking state out of the then bilingual State of Bombay. The demand was in line with the pledge, the Indian National Congress had taken for linguistic states prior to Independence. However after the Independence, Nehru adamantly opposed to linguistic states. Though Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka came into formation in 1950, the Central Government was not paying any heed to popular demand for creation of Maharashtra on the same line.
Tired of the adamant attitude of the then Government at the Center, people at last decided to fight against it. The government used force to suppress the demand. More than hundred people were killed when the police opened fire at Flora Fountain in Mumbai. Samyukta Maharshtra Samiti (SMS) achieved its goal when the state, with Mumbai as its capital, was formed on 1st May, 1960, under the Bombay Re-Organization Act. It is to commemorate this tragic incident that Flora Fountain is renamed since then as Hutatma Smarak.
However Goa (then a Portages Colony), Belgaum, Karwar and adjoining areas, part of the Maharashtra State envisioned by the Samiti, were not included in the newly formed state. Even to this day Belgaum district with a majority of Marathi speaking people is an active dispute with a petition by the Maharashtra government pending in Supreme Court.
In Mumbai, the Maharashtra Day celebrations are held at the Shivaji Park in central Mumbai. The governor of the state takes salute from an impressive parade at the ceremony. The armed services lining the parade route include members from State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), Brihanmumbai Commando Force, Home Guards, Civil Defense, Fire Brigade and City Police. Along with the state capital, the guardian ministers of respective districts hoist the Tri-Colour at the district headquarters early in the morning to commemorate the Day and pay tributes to the martyrs. On this occasion several distinguished individuals are also honored for their contribution. Illustrious teachers, police officials, sportsmen, doctors are congratulated for their effective roles in their respective fields.
Every year the Government of Maharashtra issues a notification declaring 1 May to be a public holiday to be celebrated as Maharashtra Day.
Every year a parade is held at Shivaji Park where the Governor of Maharashtra makes a speech.
Liquor sales are prohibited on this day across Maharashtra.