While the Bahamani rule brought a degree of cohesion to the land and its culture, a uniquely
homogeneous evolution of Maharashtra as an entity became a reality under the able leadership of
Shivaji. A new sense of Swaraj and nationalism was evolved by Shivaji. His noble and glorious
power stalled the Mughal advances into this part of India. The Peshwas established the Maratha
supremacy from the Deccan Plateau to some areas in northern India.
Maharashtra was in the forefront during freedom struggle and it was here that the Indian
National Congress was born. A galaxy of leaders from Mumbai and other cities of the state led
the Congress movement under the guidance of Tilak and then Mahatma Gandhi. Maharashtra
was the home of Gandhiji’s movement, while Sevagram was the capital of nationalistic India
during the Gandhian era.
The administrative evolution of Maharashtra is the outcome of the linguistic reorganisation
of the states of India, effected in May, 1960. The state was formed by bringing together all
contiguous Marathi-speaking areas, which previously belonged to four different administrative
hegemonies. They were the districts between Daman and Goa that formed part of the original
British Bombay Province; five districts of the Nizam’s dominion of Hyderabad; eight districts in
the south of the Central provinces (Madhya Pradesh) and a sizeable number of petty native-ruled
state enclaves lying enclosed within the above areas, were later merged with adjoining districts.
Located in the north centre of Peninsular India, with the command of the Arabian Sea through its
Port of Mumbai, Maharashtra has a remarkable physical homogeneity, enforced by its underlying
geology. The dominant physical trait of the state is its plateau character. Maharashtra is a plateau
of plateaus, its western upturned rims rising to form the Sahyadri Range parallel to the sea-coast
and its slopes gently descending towards the east and south-east. Satpura ranges cover the
northern part, while Ajanta and Satmala ranges run through central part. Arabian Sea guards the
western boundary of the state, while Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are on the northern side.
Chhattisgarh and Telangana cover the eastern boundary of the state. Karnataka and Andhra
Pradesh are on its southern side.
About 65 per cent of the total workers in the state depend on agriculture and allied
activities. Principal crops are rice, jowar, bajra, wheat, tur, moong, urad, gram and other pulses.
The state is a major producer of oilseeds. Groundnut, sunflower, soyabean are major oilseed
crops. Important cash crops are cotton, sugarcane, turmeric and vegetables.
The state has been identified as the country’s powerhouse and Mumbai, its capital as the
centre point of India’s financial and commercial markets. Industrial sector occupies a prominent
position in the economy of Maharashtra. Food products, breweries, tobacco and related products,
textiles and textile products, paper and paper products, printing and publishing, rubber, plastic,
chemical and chemical products, machinery, electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and
transport equipment and parts contribute substantially to the industrial production.
Roads: Total length of roads in the state is 2.43 lakh km consisting of 4,376 km of national
highways, 34,157 km of state highways, 50,256 km of major district roads, 46,817 km of other
district roads, and 1,06,601 km of village roads.