Maharashtra Mela, Tar Rashtra Mele;
Marathyavina, Rashtragada Na Chale;
Khara Veer Vairi, Paradhinatecha;
Maharashtra Aadhar, Yaa Bharatacha .
( If Maharashtra dies, so will die the nation. India can not move forward without Maharashtra. A true brave is one, who fights against domination. Maharashtra is the foundation of Mother India. )
On May 1, 2010, when Maharashtra completed 50 years( 1960 – 2010 ) as a Marathi speaking unilingual state with Mumbai as her capital, I am forced to sit and ponder over the 50 years of the existence of Samyukta ( United ) Maharashtra. I am amused at some of the ironies. People who were the villains of Samyukta Maharashtra are being idolised now. And people who were the heroes of this movement are relegated and systematically sidelined. They are virtually unsung and their kith and kin are living an ignominious life of neglect and poverty. They are deliberately eliminated from the pantheon and the ace villains and haters of Maharashtra have been anointed as new Gods. Let us have a look at the 5 villains first :
1 – Jawahar Lal Nehru : He was the Prime Minister of India at that time. On January 16, 1956 he announced that Bombay will be kept separate from Maharashtra and will be made a Union Territory. . In Principle, Nehru was opposed to the formation of linguistic states. He believed that the sub-nationality of a linguistic state could, in future, be detrimental to the unity and integrity of the nascent nation. But he eventually acquiesced to the formation of Telugu speaking Andhra Pradesh and Kannada speaking Karnataka ( It was known as Mysore then ) but he vehemently opposed the formation of Marathi speaking Maharashtra. To rub salt to the wounds, he came to Bombay ( now Mumbai ), and announced that even if a Marathi speaking province will come into existence some day, it will be without Bombay. He, without the approval of the his cabinet, unilaterally announced that Bombay will be a Union Territory. He further specified that “ as per logic, natural justice and tradition, Bombay doesn’t belong to Maharashtra.” When agitation spread and went beyond control of the Congress, Nehru, along with Sardar Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramaiyya, headed a committee, which was formed to solve the imbroglio. This committee also decided that Bombay has to be a Union Territory. Congress today doesn’t want to remember this heinous act of its leaders and infamous comments of Nehru and tries to obliterate it from public memory. There are many roads and institutions in Mumbai and Maharashtra bearing the name of the first prime minister of independent India. But names of the leaders of Samyukta Maharashtra have been left behind.
2 – Sadoba Kanhoji Patil : He was one of the tallest Congress leaders of this region and was opposed to Samyukta Maharashtra and was in favour of a bilingual state. On November 20, 1955 he addressed a rally at Chowpati and thundered, “ Marathi people have no brains. They can’t be the rulers. They are envious of others and can’t tolerate other people’s progress. As long as sun and moon shine in the sky, Bombay won’t be part of a Marathi speaking state, even if it is formed.” He added , “ if Vidarbha becomes a separate province, Maharashtra wont become widow ”. It is strange, today no Congress leader remembers this infamous statement. In fact they feign ignorance.
3 – Yashvant Rao Chavan : He became first Chief Minister of Maharashtra. He vehemently opposed the formation of united Maharashtra but shamelessly accepted the post. He had gumption to say during the movement, that if I have to make a choice between Maharashtra and Jawahar Lal Nehru, I would prefer Jawahar Lal Nehru. It is sad and against natural justice that he is considered the architect of modern Maharashtra and an important landmark like Mumbai – Pune Expressway is named after him.
4 – Indian National Congress : Dar Commission and Nehru Committee were appointed by the centre to look into the demand of Samyukta Maharashtra. They gave their verdict against Maharashtra. Ruling Congress Party also passed a resolution against the demand of a Marathi speaking province and opined, “ 30 years ago Congress had passed a resolution for linguistic states but language cannot and should not be the only criteria for the formation of a state. Linguistic states can create division and can encourage fissiparous, separatist and secessionist tendencies. If a dominant linguistic group start attacking a linguistic minority, then the unity and integrity of the nation will be jeopardised”. This resolution, which was passed at the annual Congress session without protest, illustrates the mindset of the ruling party. Alas, it is also forgotten and the Congress is the ruling party now.
5 – Morarji Desai : Though he was the ring leader and epicentre of anti Marathi forces, I personally place him at a lower echelon. He was a Gujarati, so he was not supposed to champion a predominantly Marathi cause. I would just like to quote his speech as the last Chief Minister of bilingual Maharashtra at Chowpati on the November 20, 1955, “ Not only today, but as long as Congress is there, Bombay is not going to be a part of a Marathi speaking Maharashtra. I won’t see it happening for the coming 5000 years. We are not going to be cowed down by your protests ”. Morarji was a righteous and megalomaniac to the core. Later on he rose to become the 4th Prime Minister of India. He gave shoot at sight order and thus 105 people got killed near Flora Fountain, now known as Hutatma Chowk.
Congress is ruling Maharashtra today and on this occasion of golden jubilee day, they are celebrating the formation of the unilingual Marathi state, which their forefathers ruthlessly crushed and vehemently opposed once. They are trying to eulogize their rule and are trying to cover up misdeeds of their leaders.
True heroes of Samyukta Maharashtra movements have been sidelined. S. M. Joshi, Senapati Bapat, Acharya Prahlad Keshav Atre, Prabodhankar Thackeray and Sripad Amrut Dange have been relegated to lower echelons. New age Marathis and the internet edition youngsters are oblivious of their sacrifices and heroic deeds. In Mumbai, there are some roads which are named after them, but that’s all. How many people today know that C. D. Deshmukh resigned from the central cabinet for the cause of Samyukta Maharashtra. My Mararthi is not fluent but I have cassettes of Achaya Atre’s speeches and I listen them whenever time permits. I wonder, how many facebook generation Marathis are even aware of him? But the fault lies at the door of Congress leaders. According to them members of Gandhi-Nehru families are the only true paragons of virtues and all others are lesser mortals. So they have the first right over India. C. D. Deshmukh, who resigned from the union cabinet for Samyukta Maharashtra is a lesser mortal today and a sycophant of Nehru , like Y. V. Chavan is hailed as the architect and creator of modern Maharashta. It is sin that iconic Mumbai – Pune expressway is named after him. Bandra – Worli Sea link bears Rajiv Gandhi’s name and not the names of any of the leaders of Samyukta Maharashtra movement . The name was suggested by another sycophant, Sharad Pawar. He is hailed today as Maratha strongman by his factotum and he considers Y. V. Chavan his guru and mentor. He wanted to name this bridge after Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress simply acquiesced to the request.
The battle for Samyukta Maharashtra was won not by the Congress but by above mentioned leaders and by the common people of all hue and colour. Mill workers had a large part to play in the agitation. 105 people were killed by the Congress government headed by Morarji Desai. Those warriors are relegated to just one corner of this city, known as Hutatma Chowk. Out of 105 martyrs, who laid their lives for Samyukta Maharashtra Movement, 23 were non Marathis. Out of these 23, North Indians were 5, South Indians 3, Punjabis, Gujaratis and Marwaris 2 each, Sindhis 1 and others 8. Today they are just names and if Congress continues to rule this state, they will simply fade away from the memory of the people. 10 lakh Marathi speaking diaspora lives out of Maharashtra. I shudder, how many of the younger generation know all these facts or are bothered about the facts.
Maharashtra completes 50 years of its existence. But the real dreams are yet to be accomplished. Belgam and Karwar are yet to be part of Maharashtra. Farmers are committing suicide, industries are moving out of the province, mills are closed, Marathi manoos are reeling under poverty and neglect. Congress rules Maharashtra and the centre with impunity. Local parties are busy in their narrow, sectarian and myopic games of one-upmanship. No one has time for Maharashtra.
I can only pray and hope for my karma bhoomi, the state of Maharashtra, that it should attain all the glory and success, which the leaders of Samyukta Maharashtra Movement envisioned for her. This Maharashtra belongs to Shivaji Maharaj. This is pious land of great saints like Dnaneshwar, Tukaram and Ramdas. It is not meant for being a subservient entity. I am sure, I will see the rise of this great land in my life time – YACHI DEHI, YACHI DOLA ( with this very body, with these very eyes )
Bahu asot sundar sampanna ki maha,
Priya amucha ek Maharashtra desh ha.
( Very beautiful, prosperous and great is our beloved land, known as Maharashtra. )
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