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History

There have been Maharashtrians in the Rochester area since at least 1960. In those early years, they were here as mostly graduate students at the University of Rochester. Sometimes, there would be a few Maharashtrian couples spending one or two years in Rochester. In the late sixties, immigration to the US opened up. As a result, over the next twenty years, a large number of Maharashtrian families made Rochester their home. These families often celebrated Diwali, Sankrant, Holi and other festivals in their homes and occasionally in some community hall. The Kanitkars celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi at their home for two years with community help. They suggested that there should be 'Sarvajanik Ganapati' celebration. So, for the first time in 1979, the Rochester Maharashtrians celebrated 'Sarvajanik Ganapati'. This also marked the beginning of elections of 'The Committee' by voice vote. The Committee began to organize annual picnic, bowling party and celebrations for Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali for the Maharashtrian community in Rochester. At the end of the last century, 'The Committee' became Marathi Mandal of Rochester. Now every one knows Marathi Mandal and eagerly looks forward to its programs.

- By Prof. Balwant Karlekar