Rains in many parts of the state failed to dampen the nationalistic spirit as Maharashtra celebrated 75th Independence Day with patriotic fervour and colour with an overall theme of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, here on Sunday.
Governor Bhgat Singh Koshyari hoisted the National Tricolour at an official function in Pune while Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray did the honours at Mantralaya and at his official residence ‘Varsha’ in Mumbai.
Bombay High Court Chief Justice Dipankar Datta hoisted the flag at the court premises with Thackeray and other judges present on the occasion.
While Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar attended the Governor’s function in Pune, of which he is also the Guardian Minister, other Guardian Ministers performed the flag-hoisting ceremonies in their respective districts.
At most events in view of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, attendance was scaled down to the minimum comprising elected representatives, officials, freedom-fighters, corona warriors and physically-challenged persons.
Many people especially the youth took part in the celebrations and more were encouraged to join the I-Day flag hoisting ceremonies online or vide local cable TV broadcasts in view of the pandemic threats.
The official functions were restricted to the division, districts and taluka levels, with the flag-hoisting carried out at all government and semi-government, and major buildings illuminated with the dazzling tricolour lights of saffron-white-green since Saturday evening.
The Congress, Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, Bharatiya Janata Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, and others commemorated the event with various functions at the party-level in Mumbai and other parts.
The Aam Aadmi Party celebrated in a unique manner by conducting a march with the biggest tricolour — 50-feet long and 6-feet wide, and the world’s biggest ‘Honesty Cap’ 50-feet long and 10-feet tall — from Bandra to Juhu led by National Spokesperson Preeti Sharma-Menon and Mumbai Working President Ruben Mascarenhas.
In Mumbai, the Mantralaya, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation headquarters, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Western Railway Building, the BSE, CSMIA (Mumbai Airport) and other important buildings were gaily decorated or illuminated.
Central Railway General Manager Anil Kumar Lahoti and WR General Manager Alok Kansal, Konkan Railway Chairman Sanjay Gupta hoisted the tricolour at their respective headquarters, addressed the railway personnel and exchanged greetings with them.
The JNPT celebrated the event with Deputy Chairman Unmesh S. Wagh hoisting the tricolour and singing the National Anthem with many staffers joining.
Social and green activities like blood-donation camps and tree plantation drives were taken up various organisations like Mumbai Ultra and Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai and others in different parts of the state with enthusiastic participation of the locals.
At the micro-levels, small flag-hoisting functions were organized in housing complexes, societies, slum areas, in the vicinity of some temples, mosques and churches, schools, colleges, private companies, etc, with limited participation.
Despite minimal traffic on roads, many street-vendors cheerfully attempted to sell small flags, tri-colour pins and lapels, balloons, pens, masks and other articles of daily use at street corners or junctions.
Several restaurants and eateries offered a patriotic flavour by dishing out special offerings or sweetmeats in the tricolour, giving a culinary twist to the festive spirits.