Mahratas (Maharatas), a historic people of west Central India who, because of their Aryan (Neo-Sanskritic) language, are usually regarded as Aryans, but who are rather originally of Dravidian stock, modified by Kolarian and Aryan elements, and Ayranised in speech, religion, and general culture. From remote time the term Maharata was applied to all the Hindu castes of the region, which was the Maha-Rashtra (" Great Kingdom") of the early writers, and which extended from the river Tapti southwards to the upper course of the Kistna and eastwards to the frontiers of the present territory of the Nizam. Now, however, the term is limited to the Kumbi, that is, the agricultural Sudras who in the 18th century rose under Sivaji against the Mussulman rule of the Great Moghul, and overran India with their military and plundering expeditions. The Mahratas still belong essentially to the Sudra caste, showing that they were not originally Aryans, as is also evident from their almost Mongoloid type - rather low stature, somewhat flat features, small nose, wide nostrils, small black eyes, long jet black hair, dark yellow or bronze complexion, but much lighter in the women. The language, which seems more akin to the Sauraseni and Magadhi than to the Maharashtra Prakit, is highly cultivated, and spoken in about eight dialects by over 12,000,000, mainly Hindus by religion.