Maharashtra was one of the major cities during the British period. The modern history of Maharashtra is very glorious and has seen many revolts and reforms.
From Indian nationalists such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vasudev Balwant Phadke, social reformers such as Jyotibha Phule and Bhaurau Patil to Scottish missionary John Wilson, all played an important role in the framing up of modern schools and colleges during the British colonial era.
At the beginning of the 17th century, the East India Company controlled Bombay(now Mumbai) and used it as one of their main trading posts. The Company slowly expanded areas under its rule. With the defeat of Peshwa Bajirao II in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, the triumph of Maharashtra was completed in 1818.
The British ruled India for more than a century and brought huge changes in every aspect of life for the people of the Maharashtra region. Maharashtra was under the direct influence of British rule, first under East India Company and then under the British Crown form 1858.
During this period, Maharashtra was divided into the Bombay presidency, Berar, Central provinces, Hyderabad state, and numerous princely states such as Kolhapur and Miraj..
Standardization of Marathi Language
Through the effort of the Christian missionary William Carey, the British Raj saw the standardization of Marathi Grammar. William Carey published the first Marathi dictionary in Devanagari script.
In 1831, Captain James Thomas Molesworth and Major Thomas Candy compiled the most comprehensive Marathi-English dictionary, which is still in print nearly after two centuries.
James Thomas Molesworth also worked on the standardization of Marathi. For this task, he used Brahmins of Pune. He adopted the Sanskrit-dominated dialect spoke by Brahmins in the city as the standard dialect for Marathi.
Architecture in Maharashtra – Gateway of India
In the early 20th-century, Gateway of India was built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. It combines British, Hindu temple, and Indo-Islamic architectural styles.
Social Reforms in Maharashtra
The people of Maharashtra played an important role in the social and religious reform movement as well as the nationalist movement of the late 19th and 20th centuries.
During the 19th-century, Marathi leaders founded notable civil society bodies including the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, the Prarthana Samaj, the Arya Mahila Samaj, and the Satya Shodhak Samaj.
During the famine of 1875-76, the Sarvajanik Sabha took an active part in the relief efforts. It is considered as the forerunner of the Indian National Congress(INC) established in 1885.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, the most prominent personalities of Indian Nationalism were Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Both were from Pune and were on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Tilak used Shivaji and Ganesha worship to forge a collective Maharashtrian identity for the Marathi people.
The Marathi social reformers of the colonial era include Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, his wife Savitribai Phule, Justice Ranade, feminist Tarabai Shinde, Dhondo Keshav Karve, Vitthal Ramji Shinde, and Pandita Ramabai.
At the beginning of the 20th -century, the non-Brahmin Hindu castes of Maharashtra started organizing with the blessings of Shahu of Kolhapur. Under the leadership of Keshavrao Jedhe and Baburao Javalkar, the campaign took off in the early 1920s. Both belonged to the non-brahmin party.
Their early goal was to capture the Ganpati and Shiv Jayanti festival from the domination of Brahmins. The party’s aim combined nationalism with anti-casteism.
With the merge of the non-Brahmin party with the Congress party in the 1930s by Jedhe, Congress changed into a more broadly based party but also a Maratha-dominated party.
Reforms by B. R. Ambedkar
B. R. Ambedkar was another notable Marathi social reformer. He led the campaign for the rights of Dalits. He disagreed with mainstream leaders like Gandhi on issues including untouchability, the partition of India, and the government system.
Ambedkar initiated the Dalit Buddhist movement. He created a new school of Buddhism called Navayana.
B. R. Ambedkar was the first Law and Justice Minister. He played an important role in writing the constitution of India. He is considered the Father of the Indian Constitution.
Marathi Leaders in National Movement
In 1942, the Quit India movement was started in Mumbai, which resulted in the transfer of power and independence of India in 1947.
Leaders from Maharashtra like Raosaheb and Achutrao Patwardhan, Yeshwantrao Chavan, Shreedhar Mahadev Joshi, Nanasaheb Gore, Swami Ramanand Bharti, Nana Patil, V. S. Page, Dhulappa Navale, Dhondiram Mali, Vasant Patil, Aruna Asif Ali, Ashfaqulla Khan, and many others.
Industrialism in Maharashtra
Originally, the British used India as a source of raw materials for the factories of England. By the end of the 19th-century, the modern manufacturing industry was developing in the city of Mumbai.
The main product was cotton and the bulk of the workforce in these cotton mills was from Western Maharashtra, especially from the coastal Konkan region.
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