One of the 29 states of India, Maharashtra is located in the central part of the country. During the period of colonialism, it was part of the British colonial province of Bombay. It became independent as a result of the reorganization of the administrative-territorial division of the country by linguistic boundaries. In 1960, the Indian government passed the Reorganization Act that stipulated the division of Bombay into the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
A special role in regional identity takes the period of the Marathi Empire (XVII-XIX century). The titular ethnic group, the Marathi, comprises about a quarter of the state's population. They speak the language of Marathi and profess Hinduism predominantly. A distinctive feature of the political process in Maharashtra is the existence of strong ethnic-regional parties.
The acutest contention in Maharashtra at the moment is the confrontation between Hindu and Muslim religious communities. This conflict emerged during the reorganization of the state of Bombay when Muslims became a minority. One of the ethnic-regional parties (Shiv Sung) has rather radical nationalist positions and plays a special role in this conflict.