“If Vidarbha is hived off, we will have no funds from day one to run the new State. The region’s share is burdened by a deficit and Monopoly Cotton Purchase Scheme, Employment Guarantee Scheme and such activity will immediately cease since we would not have money to pay salaries”
– Dr. Shrikant Jichkar, Economist
“We had already passed the resolution in favour of smaller states, including a separate state of Vidarbha.”
– Devendra Fadnavis , CM Maharashtra
“Maharashtra and Mumbai??? Why not? Mumbai has always fancied itself as an independent entity, anyway. This game has countless possibilities.”
- Shobha De, Writer
Humourist P.L. Deshpande wrote interesting article called “ Mumbaikar, Punekar ka Nagpurkar?” describing idiosyncrasies of Maharashtrians living in cities of Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.
For Nagpurkars, favourite subject is backwardness of Vidharbha and separate state of Vidharbha with Nagpur as capital.
Punekar love to think themselves as custodians of Marathi culture and prefer United Maharashtra.
Mumbaikars live in world of their own, some wish to stay with Maharashtra, some want separate Bombay and some just don’t care as long as they have chawl to live, vada pav to eat and local & BEST to travel.
So what is the future of state of Maharashtra? Answer lies in history of Maharashtra.
During 17th and 18th century, lot of things happened which were to shape future of Maharashtra. Had they not happened, history of Maharashtra would have been different.
British got city of Bombay as dowry from Portuguese and took decision to develop it. It was money of capitalists (British, Gujrathis (both Hindu and Parsi) & Marwadis) and blood & sweat of migrants (mostly Maharshtrians from Konkan) that created Bombay.
Shahji Bhosale was noble in court of Sultan Adilshah of Bijapur, his son Shivaji, had other plans- serving Sultan was not one of them. He started his career from city of Pune and built Maratha Empire after fighting with Adil Shah, Portuguese and Mughals.
Few decades later a Brahmin, Balaji Bhat, from Konkan region crossed Shayadri Mountains and reached Pune. He started his career working as clerk in Maratha Army and later rose to become Peshwa (prime minister) of Maratha Empire, which was then ruled by Shivaji’s grandson Shahu. Balaji’s sons, Baji and Chimnaji, along with their team of warriors consisting of Holkars, Shindes, Pawars etc. were responsible for rapid expansion of Maratha Empire with Pune as capital.
One of the warriors, Raghuji Bhosale believed in Drang nach Osten.
To east of Maratha Empire was Gondwana- kingdom of Gond tribals. Their king Bakth Bulund Shah was impressed by city of Delhi (capital of Mughals) and wanted to build something similar for his kingdom. The site chosen was area around Nag River. The city was named after the river- Nagpur. After his death, his successors started fighting amongst themselves for the throne. Raghuji Bhosale took advantage of situation and annexed Gondwana along with Nagpur. Raghuji made Nagpur capital of his part of Maratha Kingdom.
During British rule province of CP & Berar was created with Nagpur as capital. Berar, a part of Nizam of Hyderabad’s kingdom, under princess of Berar Duru Shevar (wife of Nizam). British annexed it.
So post independence when demand was made of state of Maharashtra, situation was fluid. It could have resulted in separate Vidharbha and rest of Maharashtra or united Maharashtra (consisting of Vidharbha, Konkan, parts of Nizam’s kingdom called Marathwada, West Maharashtra and city of Mumbai) or Maharshtra without Mumbai or Maharashtra without Mumbai and Vidharbha.
One decision of Morarji Desai, Chief Minister of Bombay, sealed fate of Maharashtra and Mumbai. Morarji was against giving Mumbai to Maharashtra. He ordered security forces to fire on protestors who were demanding Mumbai to be made part of Maharashtra-105 protestors died. This event united Maharashtrians and now nothing could stop formation of united Maharashtra with Mumbai as capital.
On 1st May 1960 state was Maharashtra was formed with Mumbai as capital and Nagpur as 2nd capital. Much water has flowed under the bridge since then, so going back to pre 1960 situation looks unlikely.