One of the 29 states of India, Orissa is located in the east of the country. The history of the state is linked to the ethnic group called Oriya, which was formed back in the Middle Ages as a result of the synthesis of several tribes. The province dates back to the era of British India; after India's proclamation of independence, it received the status of the federal state.
Oriya (Odiya) being titular ethnic group comprises more than 80% of the population of the state. The group speaks Oriya language and profess Hinduism predominantly. Other ethnicities in the state are small in numbers.
Linguistic and religious homogeneity of the state makes it sufficiently stable regarding an interethnic balance. Nevertheless, there is tension associated with intra-regional differences between the more economically developed Coastal part and the relatively backward West Orissa. Some cultural and linguistic features, connected in many respects with the colonial past, are superimposed on this tension.