From HT Archives: Maharashtra and Gujarat born anew as states of Union | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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From HT Archives: Maharashtra and Gujarat born anew as states of Union

By, Bombay
May 04, 2024 05:54 AM IST

Maharashtra and Gujarat were born on May 1, 1960. Nehru inaugurated Maharashtra with a neon sign map ceremony in Bombay. Gujarat's formal inauguration followed.

The states of Maharashtra and Gujarat were born at midnight on May 1, 1960. Jawaharlal Nehru switched on a colourful neon-sign map of Maharashtra at the Raj Bhavan in Bombay at a special ceremony to mark the occasion. The formal inauguration of Gujarat will take place in the afternoon.

Ravishankar Vyas announces the inauguration of the separate state of Gujarat at Gandhi Asharm in Ahmedabad on May 1, 1960. Then chief minister of Bombay State Morarji Desai and Jivraj Mehta are also seen. Mehta was appointed the first chief minister of Gujarat. (Getty Images)
Ravishankar Vyas announces the inauguration of the separate state of Gujarat at Gandhi Asharm in Ahmedabad on May 1, 1960. Then chief minister of Bombay State Morarji Desai and Jivraj Mehta are also seen. Mehta was appointed the first chief minister of Gujarat. (Getty Images)

Temple and church bells, whistles from the ships anchored in the bay, sirens of the mills and factories in the city, strains of shehnai and the blowing of the tutaris (Maharashtrian trumpets) announced the event.

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Earlier in the night, speaking at two mammoth rallies — at Shivaji Park and Chowpatty — Nehru wished well the two new states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, both successors of the old Bombay State.

While joining in the rejoicings of the people of Maharashtra he reminded them of their new great responsibilities. No fewer than one million people heard him at the Shivaji Park meeting while about 500,000 people were present at Chowpatty.

Nehru said Maharashtra and Gujarat had been neighbours for hundreds of years. Both of them had to remember that they had been together. He hoped that they would continue to remain friendly.

Speaking about Bombay city, Nehru said it was the capital of Maharashtra but it had also to be remembered that it was the western capital of India and it had always been referred to as the first city of India, a great cosmopolitan city.

Referring to the Vidarbha area of Maharashtra, he said while there were rejoicings all over there was sadness in some parts. It was their duty to remove their fears and suspicions and take them along with them. He appealed to the people of Vidarbha to put an end to all their troubles although they were sad.

Nehru said the people should take a pledge to sweat and toil in order to build the nation, strengthen it and protect it.

In a reference to the Chinese occupation of some of the border areas, he said the primary concern of the people for some time past was how to keep the united India free. “We are still on the same boat,” he added.

Shivaji Park had started filling since the afternoon and by 5.30pm wave after wave of people, singing and dancing in the traditional Maharashtrian style, occurred in from all sides. The multistoried buildings around the park had their terraces packed with people. The Prime Minister drove in an open car from Raj Bhavan exchanging the greetings from the multitude. Yashwantrao Chavan, who earlier led a colourful procession coming from Victoria Gardens, was present to receive him.

In the background of the flower-bedecked dais was Shivaji’s Raj Mudra done in a large size, with changes in the inscription suiting the occasion. In the centre was the large laman diva (traditional oil lamp) and encircling it was a Sanskrit verse inscribed on the gold mohar issued in the time of Shivaji. “May Maharashtra grow like the crescent of the first day,” it said.

Welcoming Nehru and requesting him to bless the new state, Chavan said it was a memorable day. He requested him to bless the state not merely because he was the Prime Minister but because he was an unquestioned leader of humanity, a leader of the people and one who had stood for the greatest human values. He had requested him to bless the state so that Maharashtra could do its duty to its utmost.

Chavan also referred to Indira Gandhi’s help during her term as Congress president to bring the new state into existence. The Chowpatty rally became very colourful as the lights went up in a large number of country craft in the bay which had been decorated with flags.

In his speech at Shivaji Park, Nehru appealed to the people of Maharashtra to be alive to the need to keen India united.

“Samyukta Maharashtra can hold its own only in Samyukta Bharat,” the Prime Minister said. Nehru said when the country became free it was believed that only two or three problems remained to be solved — Pondicherry and Goa. The problem of Pondicherry was no longer there and the Prime Minister was confident that a solution would be found soon to the Goa issue.

“But today a new problem has been created on India’s northern border. An attempt is being made to take away a part of Samyukta Bharat. We have to meet this challenge and defend our country,” Nehru said. “Indian democracy faces a challenge today. The world is watching how we meet it. Let us pledge ourselves to work hard in co-operation to build a prosperous nation.”

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