Happy Gudi Padwa to all the Maharastrians!
Did you know that there are more than 70,000 Maharashtrians in Tamil Nadu? And I don’t mean the people who have come over here recently for jobs. I mean there have been Maharashtrians who have settled in Chennai and the rest of Tamil Nadu for generations! Believe it or not, they have been here since the 17th Century!
They speak in a very scholarly dialect which is far removed from the Marathi of Mumbai and Pune today. Some 30% of these Marathis live in Chennai and the rest are in the southern districts of Thanjavur, North Arcot, and Dharmapuri. They are descendents of the Maratha kingdom established by a half brother of Shivaji called Venkoji in South India, which was then reeling from the downfall of the Vijayanagar Empire. The Marathas ruled till 1855. On the way, they blended into their adopted culture beautifully so much so that they have left their influence on it. Have you ever had Poli? That’s a Maharashtrian dish which has been adapted here.
And, the famous Saraswati Mahal Library was changed by Serforji to what it is today – one of the foremost storehouses of palm-leaf manuscripts in the country.
Today they celebrate their New Year. Here’s wishing them Happy Gudi Padwa to all my Maharashtrian friends in Chennai and all over India as well!
History source: The Hindu