Senior Marathi Journalist
The Samyukta Maharashtra movement to create a Marathi language state with Mumbai as its capital was at its height, giving expression for the first time to Marathi identity and pride. By 1960, more than a hundred people had died in the clashes and there was a strong anti-Congress mood, strengthened by the 1959 dismissal of the Kerala government—the first Communist government in India. Although the Leftists were deeply involved in the movement, Samyukta Maharashtra included people of all types, including Keshav Thackeray, Bal Thackeray’s father. When Maharashtra was created, it was a moment of great pride across the state; Mumbai returned to being cosmopolitan and Congress came back into favour. But over time, many Marathi speakers felt they had not benefited, which led to the creation of the Shiv Sena.