During the British rule, portions of western coast of India were ruled by the Bombay Presidency. After Indian independence in 1947, many former princely states including Gujarat and Deccan states were merged into the Bombay province to form the State of Bombay. On 1956, the state of Bombay was further expanded to incorporate Marathi speaking Marathwada region of the Hyderabad state, the Vidarbha region of southern Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarati speaking Surashtra and Kutch.
Meanwhile, there was a movement to create two separate states Gujarat and Maharashtra based on the two languages spoken -- Gujarati and Marathi. Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti spearheaded the demand for the separate Marathi speaking state.
In early 1960, these demonstrators were fired upon by the police at Flora Fountain in the capital city of Mumbai (Bombay). Flora Fountain was subsequently renamed Hutatma Chowk in the memory of 105 people who died in this cause over time. Morarji Desai was the chief minister of the state of Bombay and he gave the order to fire on the demonstrators. A monument was created next to the Flora Fountain to remembers these martyrs. Maharashtra state was formed on May 1st, 1960 with Mumbai as its capital.