What is Maharashtra Day
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
Mumbai/Nagpur: The 53rd
Maharashtra Day celebrations saw events of vastly different hues:
While youths in Mumbai pledged to make the state drug-free,
farmers in Vidarbha observed a "black day" Wednesday.
Over a thousand youths in Mumbai vowed to work for a drug-free
Maharashtra and Mumbai, while hundreds of farmers and widows
observed a fast Wednesday, observing as "black day" the day
Maharashtra was formed after the division of the erstwhile Bombay
state in 1960.
The farmers were protesting the neglect of their community by the
government in Yavatmal, Vidarbha region of eastern Maharashtra.
In Mumbai, Shamsher Khan Pathan, who busted several drug cartels
before he retired as Assistant Commissioner of Police last year,
administered the pledge to youths to shun drugs and eradicate the
menace of drug addiction from the state.
"Several NGOs, rehabilitation centres, hospitals and experts have
agreed to provide guidance, counsel and also subsidised treatment
to the victims of drug abuse," Pathan said on the occasion.
He urged state Home Minister R.R. Patil to take a tough stand
against the drugs mafia, just as he successfully shut down dance
bars and continued the crackdown on gambling dens and illicit
In Yavatmal, several hundred farmers and farm widows staged a
sit-in protest, fasting and marking the day as "black day" in an
effort to highlight their plight before the government.
Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) chief Kishore Tiwari said the
state government failed to protect the farming community, despite
having identified over four million distressed people. He said all
expert panels have recommended provisions for food security,
healthcare and other support to the farmers, but nothing has yet
"As a result of the ongoing agrarian crisis, over 10,000 farmers
have ended their lives since 2005, turning Vidarbha into a
'farmers graveyard'. We want immediate attention to address the
woes of the entire farming community," Tiwari said.