Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti

Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti (Marathi:संयुक्त महाराष्ट्र समिति) was an organisation 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.

Hutatma Chowk (Martyr's crossroads),Mumbai

The organisation was founded on February 6, 1956, under the leadership of Keshavrao Jedhe in Pune. Prominent activists of Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti were Acharya Atre, Prabodhankar Thackeray, Senapati Bapat and Shahir Shaikh among others. Acharya Atre criticised Jawaharlal Nehru, Morarji Desai (then chief minister of Bombay) and S.K. Patil (a prominent MP from Mumbai city) through his fire brand editorials in ‘Maratha’.

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 “Martyr’s Crossroads” in their memory. It is estimated that in all, 105 people met their death in violence related to the movement.

The Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti achieved its 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. However Goa (then a Portuguese colony), Belgaum, Karwar and adjoining areas, which were also part of the Maharashtra envisioned by the Samiti, were not included in Maharashtra state. Belgaum district, which has a majority Marathi population is still an active dispute and Maharashtra government has filed a petition in Supreme Court.

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