Maharashtra

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Context of Maharashtra

Maharashtra (; Marathi: [məhaɾaːʂʈɾə] (listen), abbr. MH or Maha) is a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau. Maharashtra is the second-most populous state in India and the second-most populous country subdivision globally. Spread over 307,713 km2 (118,809 sq mi), Maharashtra is the third-largest state by area in India. It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, the Indian states of Karnataka and Goa to the south, Telangana to the southeast and Chhattisgarh to the east, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to the north, and the Indian union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the northwest.

For ease of administration, the state is divided into 6 divisions an...Read more

Maharashtra (; Marathi: [məhaɾaːʂʈɾə] (listen), abbr. MH or Maha) is a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau. Maharashtra is the second-most populous state in India and the second-most populous country subdivision globally. Spread over 307,713 km2 (118,809 sq mi), Maharashtra is the third-largest state by area in India. It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, the Indian states of Karnataka and Goa to the south, Telangana to the southeast and Chhattisgarh to the east, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to the north, and the Indian union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the northwest.

For ease of administration, the state is divided into 6 divisions and 36 districts, with the state capital being Mumbai, the most populous urban area in India, and Nagpur serving as the winter capital, which also hosts the winter session of the state legislature. Godavari and Krishna are the two major rivers in the state. Forests cover 16.47 per cent of the state's geographical area. The state is home to six UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), The Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai and The Western Ghats, a heritage site made up of 39 individual properties of which 4 are in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra is the single largest contributor to India's Economy with a share of 14 per cent in all-India nominal GDP. The economy of Maharashtra is the largest in India, with a gross state domestic product (GSDP) of 35.27 trillion (US$440 billion) and GSDP per capita of 242,247 (US$3,000). The service sector dominates the state's economy, accounting for 69.3 per cent of the value of the output of the country. Although agriculture accounts for 12 per cent of the state GDP, it employs nearly half the population of the state.

Maharashtra is one of the most industrialised states in India. The state's capital, Mumbai, is India's financial and commercial capital. India's largest stock exchange Bombay Stock Exchange, the oldest in Asia, is located in the city, as is National Stock Exchange, which is the second largest stock exchange in India and one of world's largest derivatives exchanges. The state has played a significant role in the country's social and political life and is widely considered a leader in terms of agricultural and industrial production, trade and transport, and education. Maharashtra is the ninth-highest ranking among Indian states in the human development index.

The region that encompasses the state has a history going back many millennia. Prior to Indian independence, notable dynasties and entities that ruled the region include in a chronological order, the Asmakas, the Mauryas, the Satavahanas, the Western Satraps, the Abhiras, the Vakatakas, the Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Western Chalukyas, the Seuna Yadavas, the Khaljis, the Tughlaqs, the Bahamanis, the Deccan sultanates, the Mughals, the Maratha Empire founded by Shivaji, and the British. Ruins, monuments, tombs, forts, and places of worship left by these rulers are dotted around the state. At the time of the Indian independence movement in the early 20th century, along with British ruled areas of Bombay presidency, and Central Provinces and Berar, the region included many British Vassal states. Among these, the erstwhile Deccan States Agency included Kolhapur, Miraj, Sangli, Aundh, Bhor, Sawantwadi and Marathwada of Hyderabad State.

More about Maharashtra

Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 112374333
  • Area 307713
History
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    Late Harappa figure from Daimabad hoard, Indus Valley civilization
     
    2nd century BCE Karla Caves are a group of Buddhist caves near Lonavala

    Numerous Late Harappan or Chalcolithic sites belonging to the Jorwe culture (ca....Read more

     
    Late Harappa figure from Daimabad hoard, Indus Valley civilization
     
    2nd century BCE Karla Caves are a group of Buddhist caves near Lonavala

    Numerous Late Harappan or Chalcolithic sites belonging to the Jorwe culture (ca. 1300–700 BCE) have been discovered throughout the state.[1][2] The largest settlement discovered of the culture is at Daimabad, which had a mud fortification during this period, as well as an elliptical temple with fire pits.[3][4] In the Late Harappan period there was a large migration of people from Gujarat to northern Maharashtra.[5]

    Maharashtra was under the Maurya Empire in the fourth and third centuries BCE. Around 230 BCE, Maharashtra came under the rule of the Satavahana dynasty who ruled it for the next 400 years.[6] The greatest ruler of the Satavahana dynasty was Gautamiputra Satakarni. The Satavahana dynasty was followed by Western Satraps, Gupta Empire, Gurjara-Pratihara, Vakataka, Kadambas, Chalukya Empire, Rashtrakuta Dynasty, and Western Chalukya and the Yadava rule. The Buddhist Ajanta Caves in present-day Aurangabad display influences from the Satavahana and Vakataka styles. The caves were possibly excavated during this period.[7]

    The Chalukya dynasty ruled from the sixth to the eighth centuries CE, and the two prominent rulers were Pulakeshin II, who defeated the north Indian Emperor Harsha, and Vikramaditya II, who defeated the Arab invaders in the eighth century. The Rashtrakuta dynasty ruled Maharashtra from the eighth to the tenth century.[8] The Arab traveller Sulaiman al Mahri described the ruler of the Rashtrakuta dynasty Amoghavarsha as "one of the four great kings of the world".[9] Shilahara dynasty began as vassals of the Rashtrakuta dynasty which ruled the Deccan plateau between the eighth and tenth centuries. From the early 11th century to the 12th century, the Deccan Plateau, which includes a significant part of Maharashtra, was dominated by the Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola dynasty.[10] Several battles were fought between the Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola dynasty in the Deccan Plateau during the reigns of Raja Raja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I, Jayasimha II, Someshvara I, and Vikramaditya VI.[11]

    In the early 14th century, the Yadava dynasty, which ruled most of present-day Maharashtra, was overthrown by the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji. Later, Muhammad bin Tughluq conquered parts of the Deccan, and temporarily shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad in Maharashtra. After the collapse of the Tughluqs in 1347, the local Bahmani Sultanate of Gulbarga took over, governing the region for the next 150 years.[12] After the break-up of the Bahamani sultanate in 1518, Maharashtra split into five Deccan Sultanates: Nizamshah of Ahmednagar, Adilshah of Bijapur, Qutubshah of Golkonda, Bidarshah of Bidar and Imadshah of Elichpur. These kingdoms often fought with each other. United, they decisively defeated the Vijayanagara Empire of the south in 1565.[13] The present area of Mumbai was ruled by the Sultanate of Gujarat before its capture by Portugal in 1535 and the Faruqi dynasty ruled the Khandesh region between 1382 and 1601 before finally getting annexed in the Mughal Empire. Malik Ambar, the regent of the Nizamshahi dynasty of Ahmednagar from 1607 to 1626,[14] increased the strength and power of Murtaza Nizam Shah II and raised a large army. Malik Ambar is said to have been a proponent of guerrilla warfare in the Deccan region. Malik Ambar assisted Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in Delhi against his stepmother, Nur Jahan, who wanted to enthrone her son-in-law.[15]

     
    Bibi Ka Maqbara, a replica of the Taj Mahal, was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb
     
    Statue of Shivaji opposite Gateway of India in South Mumbai

    In the early 17th century, Shahaji Bhosale, an ambitious local general who had served the Ahmadnagar Sultanate, the Mughals and Adil Shah of Bijapur at different periods throughout his career, attempted to establish his independent rule.[16] His son Shivaji succeeded in establishing the Maratha Empire which was further expanded during the 18th century by the Bhat family Peshwas based in Pune.[17] The Marathas under the Peshwas, Bhonsale of Nagpur, Gaekwad of Baroda, Holkar of Indore, Scindia of Gwalior and Puars of Dewas and Dhar defeated the Mughals and conquered large territories in the northern and central parts of the Indian subcontinent. At its peak, the Maratha empire covered much of the subcontinent, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km2. The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending the Mughal rule in India.[18][19][20] After their defeat at the hand of Ahmad Shah Abdali's Afghan forces in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, the Maratha suffered a setback. However, they soon reclaimed the lost territories and ruled central and north India including New Delhi until the end of the eighteenth century. The Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817–1818) led to the end of the Maratha Empire and the East India Company took over the empire.[21][22] The Marathas also developed a potent Navy circa in the 1660s, which at its peak, dominated the territorial waters of the western coast of India from Mumbai to Savantwadi.[23] It resisted the British, Portuguese, Dutch, and Siddi naval ships and kept a check on their naval ambitions. The Maratha Navy dominated till around the 1730s, was in a state of decline by the 1770s and ceased to exist by 1818.[24]

    India contains no more than two great powers, British and Maratha, and every other state acknowledges the influence of one or the other. Every inch that we recede will be occupied by them.

    —  Charles Metcalfe, one of the ablest of the British Officials in India and later acting Governor-General, wrote in 1806

    The British East India Company gained Mumbai in the early 17th century, and became one of their major trading ports. The Company slowly expanded areas under its rule during the 18th century.

     
    The Bombay-Poona Mail Train of the GIPR company in 1907

    The British governed western Maharashtra as part of the Bombay Presidency, which spanned an area from Karachi in Pakistan to northern Deccan. A number of the Maratha states persisted as princely states, retaining autonomy in return for acknowledging British suzerainty. The largest princely states in the territory were Nagpur, Satara and Kolhapur; Satara was annexed to the Bombay Presidency in 1848, and Nagpur was annexed in 1853 to become Nagpur Province, later part of the Central Provinces. Berar, which had been part of the Nizam of Hyderabad's kingdom, was occupied by the British in 1853 and annexed to the Central Provinces in 1903.[25] However, a large region called Marathwada remained part of the Nizam's Hyderabad State throughout the British period. The British ruled Maharashtra region from 1818 to 1947 and influenced every aspect of life for the people of the region. They brought several changes to the legal system,[26][27][28] built modern means of transport including roads[29] and Railways,[30][31] took various steps to provide mass education, including that for previously marginalised classes and women,[32] established universities based on western system and imparting education in science, technology,[33] and western medicine,[34][35][36] standardised the Marathi language,[37][38][39][40] and introduced mass media by utilising modern printing technologies.[41] The 1857 war of independence had many Marathi leaders, though the battles mainly took place in northern India. The modern struggle for independence started taking shape in the late 1800s with leaders such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Pherozeshah Mehta and Dadabhai Naoroji evaluating the company rule and its consequences. Jyotirao Phule was the pioneer of social reform in the Maharashtra region in the second half of the 19th century. His social work was continued by Shahu, Raja of Kolhapur and later by B. R. Ambedkar. After the partial autonomy given to the states by the Government of India Act 1935, B. G. Kher became the first Chief Minister of the Congress party-led Government of tri-lingual Bombay Presidency.[42] The ultimatum to the British during the Quit India Movement was given in Mumbai and culminated in the transfer of power and independence in 1947.

    After Indian independence, princely states and Jagirs of the Deccan States Agency were merged into Bombay State, which was created from the former Bombay Presidency in 1950.[43] In 1956, the States Reorganisation Act reorganised the Indian states along linguistic lines, and Bombay Presidency State was enlarged by the addition of the predominantly Marathi-speaking regions of Marathwada (Aurangabad Division) from erstwhile Hyderabad state and Vidarbha region from the Central Provinces and Berar. The southernmost part of Bombay State was ceded to Mysore. In the 1950s, Marathi people strongly protested against bilingual Bombay state under the banner of Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti.[44][45] The notable leaders of the samiti included Keshavrao Jedhe, S.M. Joshi, Shripad Amrit Dange, Pralhad Keshav Atre and Gopalrao Khedkar. The key demand of the samiti called for a Marathi speaking state with Mumbai as its capital.[46] In the Gujarati speaking areas of the state, a similar Mahagujarat Movement demanded a separate Gujarat state comprising majority Gujarati areas. After many years of protests, which saw 106 deaths amongst the protestors, and electoral success of the samiti in 1957 elections, the central government led by Prime minister Nehru split Bombay State into two new states of Maharashtra and Gujarat on 1 May 1960.[47]

    The state continues to have a dispute with Karnataka regarding the region of Belgaum and Karwar.[48][49] The Government of Maharashtra was unhappy with the border demarcation of 1957 and filed a petition to the Ministry of Home affairs of India.[50] Maharashtra claimed 814 villages, and 3 urban settlements of Belagon, Karwar and Nippani, all part of then Bombay Presidency before freedom of the country.[51] A petition by Maharashtra in the Supreme Court of India, staking a claim over Belagon, is currently pending.[52]

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