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1. Introduction: Sociology of cultural diversities…………………….

2. What is regionalism?..........................................................................

3. What is social human development?................................................

4. How it hinders the social human development?..............................

• Theories

a) Socio-Psychological analysis

b) Socio-Cultural Analysis

c) Social Barriers Approach

d) Relative Deprivation

e) Theory of polarization and cluster effect

5. What are its causes?...........................................................................

a) Marxist School – Have and Have not’s

b) Political Scientist – Power Struggle

c) Growing population

d) Inadequate infrastructure

e) Inequality among states

f) Failure of control of centre over states

g) Provocation by political leaders

Regionalism: A Hindrance to Social Human

h) Neglect of the centre in the industrial development of specific states

6. Regionalism as a political ideology……………………………….

• Why regionalism?

a) Political motivation

b) Economic Interest

c) To protect cultural identities and safeguarding language

• Regionalist political party Vs Regional party

• Concepts related to regionalism

a) Secession
b) Federalism
c) Parochialism
d) Decentralization

• Regionalism Vs Nationalism/ Unitarisation

7. Schools of Regionalism………………………………………………

• Positive school of regionalism

1. Fulfils democratic urges

2. Facilitates political management
3. Smoothens development
4. Greater access to participation and decision making process
5. Local accountability
6. National unity

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• Negative school of regionalism

1. Balkanization of the country

2. Each act of fragmentation leads to further fragmentation
8. Regionalist issues in

• Anti North Indian attitude of MNS workers

• Attacks on Bihari labourers by the United Liberation Front of Assam

• Bodoland demand within Assam

• Kanada Rakshana Vedike in Karnataka

• Kaveri water issue between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka

• Electricity sharing issue between Punjab and Delhi

• Demand for separate states:Vidharba, Gorkhaland, Telengana,

Seemachal, Khalisthan

9. International Regionalist issues…………………………………

• North-South divide in the United Kingdom

• Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium
• Unstableness in the countries like Pakistan, Canada, Belgium,
Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Russia
• Pakistan-Bangladesh issue

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10. Regionalism in media………………………………………………


 Vision 2020

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1. Introduction: Sociology of cultural diversities

Sociology is a subject made up of competing theories in the society. Ever since the subject
began to get popular its main aim was to interpret the definition of ‘social order’. It sought to
understand the components of the society such as social institution and social relationships
contribute to or deflect the very existence of the society.

According to the theories which have gained wide acceptance, culture exhibits the way, the
human interpret their biology and environment. The cultural change can be defined as the
human adaptation to the historical events. Moreover culture can be seen as the primary
adaptive mechanism of humans and takes place much faster than a biological evolution. A
Culture, with its attendant roles, statuses, values and norms similarly constrains our range of
possible behaviors. It leads the individual choosing to limit his or her range of behavior.
People do not behave in the same way and there are cultural differences in the same country
or region. This is mainly due to the different levels of socialisation. Membership of a certain
cultural group generates certain norms and values that are important in an individual’s life.
These values and norms may accord or dissent with other cultural groups or general social
values and norms. But this disagreement is a large part of the necessary dynamic process
whereby societies adapt and change. How this anomie does occur? On the one hand you a
have people actively desiring success. On the other hand you have a large number of
potentially unhappy people when they discovered that supposed means to such success does
not deliver the goods.

In India regionalism has been a heavy weight for a long long time. In the pages of Indian
history, you will never find a nationalistic movement before 20th century. The imperialistic
rulers always used regionalism as a tool to implement their policies and gaining public
support. They always followed the policy of division. They didn’t allow the concept of
unified India to grow beyond an abstract idea. Gaining independence in 1947 had changed
the whole character of India as a geographical as well as a political unit; the mindset of the
people first needed to be changed to make them understand that they belonged to India as a
whole. Various constitutional steps, such as strengthening of All India Services, adoption of

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single citizenship, a strong central government and an independent judiciary were taken to
achieve this goal.

But with the passage of time it was very clear that the feeling of regionalism very much
thrive in India. Local leaders with big aspirations in politics took advantage of the public
feelings and regionalism imbalances. The things didn’t end there, from regionalism there
originated sub-regionalism which tries to protect the rights of the people in a particular sub-
region and to see that they were properly represented in the governing bodies. In this way the
idea of regionalism got deeply attached to Indian politics such that uprooting it is becoming
an increasingly arduous task.

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2. What is regionalism?

A region is a defined territorial unit and a nucleus of a social aggregation for multiple
purposes1 including particular language or languages, jatis, ethnic groups, tribes, particular
social settings and cultural pattern, music, dance, folk arts etc. Several variables engage in a
simultaneous inter-play in varying degrees over a considerable period of time, which then
sets a particular theory apart from other areas. The region is characterized by a widely shared
sentiment of ‘togetherness’ and ‘separateness’ from others in the people, internalized from a
wide variety of sources which might include common prosperity and comraderie developed
in a common struggle. Regionalism is analogous to nationalism, which can also be called as
Micro-nationalism. The conflict tends to arise out of the ‘nationality question’ of the
constituent cultural communities of a multicultural country vis-à-vis their macro-national
identity along with the regional disparities exiting in the various parts of a multicultural
country. People in such countries wish to cling on to both their collective political (state)
identity and their respective cultural identities and notions of ‘homeland’.

If this framework is tampered in any form, there would be predictable conflict giving rise to
the threats and resistances because one or the other community may feel deprived objectively
or subjectively by specific cultural community by historical accident or political machination.
The fact that nation and the states in these multicultural countries are not co-terminous
reinforces this issue further. Taking advantage of the situation the dominant cultural
community tries to pose a threat to the distinct identity of the dominated cultural community.
The latter responds to this situation by asserting its identity in separatist nationalist terms.

Nationality in multicultural countries

A.S Narang , Indian Government and Politics, Gijanjali Publishing House, 2004 6TH Edition, New Delhi p 409

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The tampering of the cultural identities in many such multi-cultural countries occurred for the
first time during the period of colonial rule. The colonial administration in most of these
countries created artificial provincial units which didn’t match the cultural linguistic
affiliation and traditional homelands of the people, which resulted in the cumulative socio-
economic dominance of the majority community over the minority community. As the danger
of loosing one’s identity was very much involved, the minority communities reacted to this
by claiming their territorial-cultural specificity in clear nationalistic terms.

It can be concluded that nationalism in the colonial era assumed a multi-dimensional

character which can be defined as

1. In the political level as a united Anti-imperialist struggle to liberate the country from
the foreign rule

2. In the cultural level it was seen as the movement for self fulfillment through self rule
for a people living in a culturally different homeland.

The policy of reorganization

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On 15th of December 1953, when Potti Sriramulu succumbed to death not able to sustain 52
days of marathon fast that was undertaken to demand a separate state for Telugu speaking
people, little did he realize that his death would become a launch pad for the dawn of Political
Regionalism in India – that would in course of time alter the whole landscape of India.

But the brand of regionalism that evolved after Potti Sriramulu’s death was legitimate,
genuine and logical. It reflected the aspirations of people at that time. It stood for fulfilling
the longstanding desire of people to have their own linguistic state. Thus, Andhra Pradesh
became the first linguistic state of India. Today, Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh is
renamed as Potti Sriramulu.

After the death of Sriramulu, reluctant Nehru was forced to accede to the various cries from
other parts of the country with similar demands. In 1954, a States Reorganization Committee
was formed with Fazal Ali as its head, which recommended the formation of 16 new states
and 3 Union Territories based on the language people spoke in those respective regions. This
heralded a new phase in the Indian politics. The subsequent movements for separate states

Retrieved 23:48 hrs April 10th 2009 <>

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and territories gave birth to slew of regional parties which eventually became prominent in
national level and thus started coalition culture in Indian politics.

The policy of reorganization was implemented keeping three ends in view.

1. Co-terminality between administrative and cultural unit

2. Accommodating the whole population on equal footing under one centralizing one
civil-political authority

3. Large-scale state-sponsored modernization programme so that desirable interaction

between social collectivities would be promoted.

Unfortunately, none of these goals has come true. Not only has the desired co-terminality
criterion between administrative unit and cultural not been fully met, but also the expected
‘displacement syndrome’ and the much hoped for singular loyalty to the state have not
emerged. The scheme mainly benefited the bigger or mainstream nationalities.

3. What is social human development?

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It is a human centered theory of development must necessarily base itself on the idea
that the progressive development of the external capabilities of society is a reflection
of a progressive development of the internal consciousness and capacities of human
beings, not just the result of external factors or the creation and application of better
tools and instruments. Society changes outwardly because people change inwardly.

We have defined social human development as the increasing complexity of the social
organization that enables it to release, organize and express human energies and
creativity more effectively to achieve the goals of the society – regardless of whether
those goals are political, economic, social or cultural.

A fundamental premise of our framework is that the process by which societies

develop, companies develop and individuals develop is the same. They are only
various expressions at different levels of the same process of human development.

We can apply a similar definition to the development of the individual. Individuals

develop by increasing their capacity to release, organize and express their energies
and capacities to achieve the goals they aspire for – regardless of whether those goals
are physical health, economic well-being, social recognition, mental understanding or
spiritual enlightenment.

The theory of Social Human development links social process and individual
processes to be interdependent. Individuals support and serve society using the
knowledge, skills and values acquired through the society’s collective effort in the
past. The term ‘development’ has broader meanings when it comes to development of
the society. It includes the advancement in physical infrastructure such as towns,
cities, sanitation and transport; social infrastructure such as defense, governance, food
production, trade, finance, industry, and education; mental infrastructure of organized
information, technology, science and other forms of knowledge; cultural/spiritual
organization of beliefs and values that determine human aspirations and behavior.

4. How it hinders the social human development?

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• Theories

a) Socio-Psychological analysis

As its name suggest it is merging of sociology and psychology of individuals and

society. It is study of how human mind is influenced by thoughts, feelings, and
behaviors present in the society and how we are prone to social influence. It is said
that human behavior is a result of mental states and immediate social situations.

When we apply this theory to the regionalism causing hindrance to social human
development, it can be derived that there is a big mental element controlling the
society. Selfishness, greediness etc. are the human emotions which can be found
behind every demand for separatism or regionalist movement. Every social action has
its roots in the thought process of an individual. When the same idea is conveyed into
the masses it turns into a social idea.

The study of social development mainly includes the study of attitude of individuals.
In social psychology, attitudes are defined as learned, global evaluations of a person,
object, place, or issue that influence thought and action3. It can be very varied like
liking chocolate ice cream, endorsing values of a particular political party. This part
of the human mind is very weak as it is vulnerable to the social factors. Persuasion is
an active method of influence that attempts to guide people toward the adoption of an
attitude, idea, or behavior by rational or emotive means. Persuasion can be
accomplished by either superficial aspects of the communication or the internal logic
and evidence of the message. Whether someone is persuaded by a popular celebrity or
factual arguments is largely determined by the ability and motivation of the audience.
People are influenced by the situation; general attitudes are not always good
predictors of specific behavior. Social influence refers to the way people affect the
thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of others. Like the study of attitudes, it is a
traditional, core topic in social psychology. Conformity is the most common and
pervasive form of social influence. It is generally defined as the tendency to act or
think like other members of a group. The two major motives in conformity are
D Bem, Beliefs, attitudes, and human affairs,CA Books. Belmont, 1970

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normative influence, the tendency to conform in order to gain social acceptance, and
avoid social rejection or conflict, as in peer pressure; and informational influence,
which is based on the desire to obtain useful information through conformity, and
thereby achieve a correct or appropriate result. Another method of social influence is
of Compliance refers to any change in behavior that is due to a request or suggestion
from another person. All the regionalist parties exist with certain agenda of group
dynamics in order to persuade the common man by influencing their attitude in such a
way that it touches them in the most influential and weakest part i.e. their
motherland’s freedom, for which every person would undoubtly stand for.

b) Socio-Cultural Analysis

This theory has an ideological vanguard of ‘The survival of the fittest’ motion put
forward by Charles Darwin. Sociocultural evolution is an umbrella term for theories
of cultural evolution and social evolution, describing how cultures and societies have
developed over time. Although such theories typically provide models for
understanding the relationship between technologies, social structure, the values of a
society, and how and why they change with time, they vary as to the extent to which
they describe specific mechanisms of variation and social change.

Regionalism is indeed a catalyst of social change. The main motive behind

regionalism is social progress, with a narrower outlook than the rest. The main
difference between progress through nationalism and progress made through the
propagation of regionalism is that they differ in motives. The former one insist
development to all or peaceful and co-operative existence. Whereas the competition
among the neighboring regions or institutions is the driving force of development
attained, they don’t care about overall development of the unit.

c) Relative Deprivation

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Relative deprivation is the experience of being deprived of something to which one

thinks one is entitled. Schaefer4 defines it as "the conscious experience of a negative
discrepancy between legitimate expectations and present actualities." Its origins are
from the biological concept of relative fitness, where an organism that successfully
outproduces its competitors leaves more copies in the gene pool. It is a term used in
social sciences to describe feelings or measures of economic, political, or social
deprivation that are relative rather than absolute.

In the present scenario Relative deprivation refers to the discontent citizen of a larger
unit feel when they compare their positions to those of similarly situated and find that
they have less than their peers. It is a condition that is measured by comparing one
group’s situation to the situations of those who are more advantaged. This process is
stimulated through psycho-social analysis of the group and persuasion. In India we
can see petty politicians taking advantage of this social behavior to their personal
benefits and lust for power.

d) Theory of polarization and cluster effect

In politics, polarization is the process by which the public opinion divides and goes to
the extremes. It can also refer to when the extreme factions of a political party gain
dominance in a party. The people often get attracted towards the poles of distribution
or intensity. Polarization, also happens when support for a political figure or position
differentiates itself along political party lines.Leaders of the regionalist parties creates
an impression among the masses that they are the messengers or the protectors of their
and faith and rights. This is also called as vote bank politics. This will hinder the basic
motive of the democracy in the country.

5. Why regionalism grew?

a) Marxist School – Have and Have not’s

Contradictions out of the development strategy adopted in the country are one of main
reason for regionalism in the country. In a period when capitalism in some parts of the
Richard T. Schaefer, Racial and Ethnic Groups, 11th Ed., Pearson Education, 2008, p.69

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world has already advanced significantly and is subordinating the backward societies,
development through capitalist path in the latter gives rise to peculiar problems. Gap
between the producer states and consumer states came bigger than bigger. For
example producer states like Maharashtra and consumer states like Bihar and Kerala.

b) Cultural aspects

Minorities seek protection for their cultural values against deliberately hostile actions
by the majority in the fields of school and languages so much as the desire for
protection against deliberately hostile actions by the majority in the field and
languages so much as the desire for protection against the effects on their culture of
natural, economic and social developments. The ability to protect the cultural identity
very much depends upon economic and political power. This become important in
India, because in view of scarce resources the conviction that minorities are
vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and suppression by those who control the
state and its resources is easy to grow. The concentration of power at the centre,
absence of sound language policy and very ambivalent attitude towards secularism
have continued fear among linguistic and cultural groups that attempts were made to
assimilate them in larger Hindi culture.

c) Growing population and rise of linguistic chauvinism

Disregard of the special provision relating to language spoken by minorities of the

state, the rearrangement of the state boundaries of the state and imposition of the
language of majorities on the minorities added to the economic frustration stirred up
riots and inter regional rivalries in the country.

d) Imbalanced economic growth and Inadequate infrastructure

After independence, India lacked a balanced economic growth in all regions. Instead
of caring for the interest of the country as a whole, political leadership became narrow
minded and began to clamour for progress of their won state or region. Disparities in

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per capita income among states are very intense because of negligence and lack of
planning from the part of government. In a way economic component is the crux of
regionalism consisting of slow development, regional imbalances and paradox of
adopted path of development. After 60 years of independence public started feeling
that benefits of the development maybe difficult to attain in the national level and
have started looking towards local and regional level leadership.

In spite of the acceptance of the goal or removal of regional disparities at ideological

and programmatic levels, insertion of these ideas in the constitution and plan
documents and adoption of various policy measures after more than 50 years of
independence the regional inequalities and disparities not only continue but in many
cases have increased.

e) Growth of private political armies

Almost all the states have spawned a military native movement directed against
outsiders. The fundamental issue has the employment for the local people and many
state governments either officially or unofficially have supported the protection of
jobs for the ‘sons of the soil’. Shiv Sena of Maharashtra is one example of this.

f) Failure of control of centre over states

Central policies on resource transfers have not only been unable to prevent the
increasing gap between the rich and poor states, but may have contributed to
accentuating the disparities.

Control of state machinery at various levels helps not only in getting better share of
economic surpluses but greater long term promotion of class interests. For this
purpose landed classes and indigenous bourgeoisie have been trying to increase their
influence within the legislature, executive and other organs of state machinery. They
have also created their class organizations outside the legislature and political parties
and control over them, within the legislature. The emerging contradictions between
the landed classes on hand and metropolitan and indigenous bourgeoisie on the other
is reflected in tensions over Centre-State relations too.

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g) Provocation by political leaders

To enhance their authority and power and they didn’t hesitate propagating
regionalism among people. Narrow and sectarian instincts of the common masses
were at times stirred up by the politicians to serve there own narrow interests.

h) Neglect of the centre in the industrial development of specific states

Increasing awareness of the people in the back ward parts of India that they were
neglected in the matter of education and job opportunities, in setting up of plants and
factories, in the construction of dams and bridges and above all, in the allocation of
central funds and grants. Apart from the sense of deprivation in the neglected states or
regions the developed efforts and benefits concentrated in certain areas or states have
also given birth to vested interests, particularly in the vested interests, particularly in
the rural parts of the developed states. In spite of agriculture having become quite
profitable they want subsides to continue even at cost of neglect of other areas.
Success of Akali Dal in Punjab, Lok Dal in Haryana and western parts of UP, to an
extent Telgy desan in Andhra Pradesh and movements like shetkari /sangathan in
Maharashtra etc. are pointers to this direction.

6. Regionalism as a political ideology

• Why regionalism?

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The introduction of electoral politics under these conditions tended at the outset only
to reinforce the strategic position of the dominant land owning castes by enlarging
their role as intermediateries in relationship between the village and outside
authorities in the administration and government.

In spite of the complete domination of the party countrywide central power could not
be consolidated at the expense of the local authorities. Prior to 1967 elections feeling
that the congress policies were moving away from their interests these local dominant
classes left the congress to join some other parties or form their own regional parties.
Thus within the plural society the sudden arrival of the expanding activities of
government, the dispersion of power and democratisation of power have resulted in
the growth of popular participation in local, state and national politics.

This has caused the emergence of two political cultures operating at different levels in
the Indian society.

One culture is in the districts which can be characterized as emerging mass political
culture. It permeates local politics, both urban and rural, local party organization, and
local administration. Although it is permeated with traditional elements, it is not
wholly traditional, for it has many modern components.

The second political culture predominates in New Delhi. It is personified India’s

planners, many of national political leaders, and the senior administrative cadre. It is
an elite political culture.

The conflict between the two is reflected in regionalism. There is a cycle of

regionalism the cycle begins with the revival of poetry and language and ends with
plans for the economic invigoration of regional agriculture and industry, with
prospectus for more autonomous political life. Its concrete manifestation comes
through Regional Parties.

The main reason behind every political regionalist movement is

a) Political motivation

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b) Economic Interest

c) To protect cultural identities and safeguarding language

• Regionalist political party Vs Regional party

Regional parties with strong and emotional bases in their communities and/or regions
have been a feature of Indian politics since independence. By definition regional
parties are those which generally and exclusively operate within a limited
geographical area of a state or which represent primordial loyalties. These single state
parties are distinguished by their adoption of a regional autonomy of states in the
Indian union, for their focus on issues specific to their states or for their base within a
religious minority.

Broadly speaking the regional parties fall into two main categories.

1. Classic regional ethnicity/cultural based parties

2. Regional parties on personality basis

Whereas regionalist parties are regional political parties promoting autonomy for its
region. They are mostly rebellious in their ideas or actions. It is very difficult to curb
their secessionist approach and bring back the nationalistic feeling. ULFA of Assam
is one of its kinds. Most of the regional parties existing in India, in the beginning were
formed as regionalist parties for example DMK of Tamil Nadu, Akali Dal of Punjab.
All regionalist parties are also regional, while only a portion of regional parties are
also regionalist. Because regional parties often cannot receive enough votes or
legislative seats to be politically powerful, they may join political alliances or seek to
be part of a coalition government.

• Forms of regionalism in India

Regionalism is a country-wide phenomenon, and often, it took the form of well-

conceived and well organized agitations and campaigns. Almost every state has
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spawned a militant native movement directed against outsiders. The fundamental

issues ha been employment for local people and many state governments, either
officially or unofficially, have supported the protection of jobs for the ‘sons of the
soil’. Regionalism in India has assumed various forms and found expression in more
than one way

a) Secession

The act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity is

called secession. This can be often dangerous when it is done in political lines. It is a
wake –up call for the mother unit or a country to realize the grave injustice done. It
originated when there is a lethal threat to minority or the government cannot
adequately defend an area.

There are five types of secession.

• Anarcho-Capitalism: Individual liberty to form political associations and private

property rights together justify right to secede and to create a “viable politival order”
with like-minded individuals.
• Democratic Secessionism: The right of secession, as a variant of the right of self-
determination, is vested in a “territorial community” which wishes to secede from
“their existing political community”; the group wishing to secede then proceeds to
delimit “its” territory by the majority.
• Communitarian Secessionism: Any group with a particular “participation-enhancing”
identity, concentrated in a particular territory, which desires to improve its members’
political participation, has a prima facie right to secede.
• Cultural Secessionism: Any group which was previously in a minority has a right to
protect and develop its own culture and distinct national identity though seceding into
an independent state.
• The Secessionism of Threatened Cultures: If a minority culture is threatened within a
state that has a majority culture, the minority needs a right to form a state of its own
which would protect its culture.

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There is always of a question of justification of Secession. Secession is justified only if

secessionists can create a viable, if minimal, state on contiguous territory. Besides it
follows the democratic principle, right to movement and the will of the majority. It helps
in Preserving culture, language, etc. from assimilation or destruction by a larger or more
powerful group. The motive of secession is self rule and profit. In India Khalistan and
Mizo National Front etc are some secessionist movements. The constitution of India
doesn’t allow secession; it would be suppressed by military at any cost.

b) Federalism

Federalism is a system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided

between central governing authority and constituent political units. The power maybe
divided equally or merit wise distribution. From the outset, India has been defined as
a union of states. This aids in administration, but it has many unsavory effects,
including the growth of discrimination between states.

c) Parochialism

The word parochialism means being of a narrow view and working only for the
benefit of the local society. This may be both economic as well as social. In the Indian
context, this is seen very often. A prime example would be the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu
water dispute.

d) Decentralization

Decentralization is the process of delegating administrative and legislative powers to

entities lower than the central government. As documented earlier, this delegation of
powers would cause divisive forces to work for their own benefit.

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• Regionalism Vs Nationalism/ Unitarisation

Nationalism is always an inherent quality in every individual of a well established

nation. When there is denial of opportunities or violation of rights of a majority of
people of a particular geographical entity, regionalism overtakes nationalism just
because the situation demands it.

There are several examples when regionalist were supported world wide with a slogan
"right to live as a nation". When Bangladeshis expressed their anguish to Pakistanis
before their break up, they were dubbed anti-nationalists. The suppressed Bangladeshi
emotions erupted. The rest was history. Ironically it was same India that helped
Bangladesh to break from Pakistan. Then there is this recent story of Kosovo. Kosovo
tried to break away from Serbia. From being branded as rebels, regionalist etc,
Kosovo gathered world wide support to exist as a separate nation. The population of
Kosovo is 1/7th of Mumbai.
There may be nothing wrong in whatever has been projected by Thackeray but he
cannot afford to draw attention to the problems by creating a wedge between
communities and identities. True, the Centre may have failed in distribution of wealth
and resources to the Indian population, but here, the subject is of pure management.
Let politics be a healthy exercise to unite and not to divide. There is always a
provision to force the authorities to grant higher budgetary allocations for speedy
development and given the way, the investments are pooled in a proper environment
of security, able law and order, it can be safely presumed that locals can be
accommodated in jobs. And there is always provision for the people of the other states
also to earn their livelihood in any part of the country.

7. Schools of Regionalism

• Positive school of regionalism

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This school feels that the quest of a regional identity is not essentially antithetical to
the urge for a national identity and the two can co-exist in a situation of mutually
rewarded partnership. The followers of the regionalist school believe that to stand for
one and decentralization is the natural instincts of humans.

a) Fulfils democratic urges

b) Facilitates political management
c) Smoothens development
d) Greater access to participation and decision making process
e) Local accountability
f) National unity

• Negative school of regionalism

This school of thought sees the growth of regionalism as inimical to national

integration. The reasons to support regionalism are as follows:

a) Balkanization of the country

b) Each act of fragmentation leads to further fragmentation
8. Regionalist issues in India

• Anti North Indian attitude of MNS workers

Continuous large scale arrival of industrial labour from south India and other parts of
India and other parts to Bombay, from Bihar and Orissa to Calcutta and agricultural
labour from eastern UP and Bihar to Punjab. Of the movements the most virulent has
been Shiv Sena, founded in 1966 in Bombay. Exploiting Maharashtrian grievances
and economic frustration, the Shiv Sena under the banner of ‘Maharashtra for the
Maharashtrians’ has directed its attack, both verbal and physical, primarily at south
and north Indian immigrants.On the one hand it affects the cultural harmony of those
areas by creating apprehensions among the linguistic and cultural groups about their
position. Second it generates ill-feeling in the local work force, who either are unable
to get jobs or in view of migratory labour’s willingness to work at lower rates become
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Regionalism: A Hindrance to Social Human

unable to bargain effectively with the local employees. This gives birth to the
sectional organizations and the sons of soil agitations. The phenomenon of Shiv Sena
is a glaring example of this.

• Attacks on Bihari labourers by the United Liberation Front of Assam

The United Liberation Front of Assam is a terrorist group from Assam, among many
other such groups in North-East India. It seeks to establish a sovereign Assam via an
armed struggle in the Assam Conflict. The Government of India had banned the
organization in 1990 and classifies it as a terrorist group, while the US State
Department lists it under "Other groups of concern"5.

It initiated major violent activities in 1990. Military operations against it by the Indian
Army that began in 1990 continue till present. In the past two decades some 10,000
people have died in the clash between the rebels and the government. After 1985 and
before it was banned in 1990, ULFA was credited in the media with many public
activities. Soon after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, the ULFA was
reported to have stopped Hindu-Muslim riots in the Hojai region of Nagaon district by
displaying arms openly.
It has continued a public discourse of sorts through the local media (newspapers),
occasionally publishing its position on political issues centred on the nationality
question. It has participated in public debates with public personalities from Assam.
During the last two local elections the ULFA had called for boycotts, though media
reports suggest that it had intimidated activists of the then ruling parties (Congress
and AGP respectively).

Some of the major assassinations by ULFA include that of Surendra Paul in May
1990, the brother of businessman Lord Swraj Paul, that precipitated a situation

“United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) - Terrorist Group of Assam”, South Asian Terrorism Portal
Retrieved on 17:19 hrs April 16th 2009

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leading to the sacking of the Government of Assam under Prafulla Kumar Mahanta
and the beginning of Operation Bajrang.

In 1991 a Russian engineer was kidnapped along with others and killed. In 1997,
Sanjay Ghose, a social activist and a relative of a high ranking Indian diplomat, was
kidnapped and killed. The highest government officer assassinated by the group was
local AGP minister Nagen Sharma in 2000. An unsuccessful assassination attempt
was made on AGP Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta in 1997. A mass grave,
discovered at a destroyed ULFA camp in Lakhipathar forest, showed evidence of
executions committed by ULFA.

ULFA continues to attempt ambushes and sporadic attacks on government security

forces. In 2003, the ULFA was accused of killing labourers from Bihar in response to
molestation and raping of many Assamese girls in a train in Bihar. This incident
sparked off anti-Bihar sentiment in Assam, which withered away after some months

On August 15, 2004, an explosion occurred in Assam in which 10-15 people died,
including some school children. This explosion was reportedly carried out by ULFA.
The ULFA has obliquely accepted responsibility for the blast.[7] This appears to be the
first instance of ULFA admitting to public killings with an incendiary device.

In January 2007, the ULFA once again struck in Assam killing approximately 62
Hindi speaking migrant workers mostly from Bihar. On March 15, 2007, ULFA
triggered a blast in Guwahati, injuring six persons as it celebrated its 'army day'.

The ULFA has put forward a set of three pre-conditions for talks and negotiations
with the Indian government. The government has rejected these pre-conditions. The
pre-conditions are:

1. The talks should be held in a third country.

2. The talks should be held under United Nations supervision.
3. The agenda of the talks should include the sovereignty of Assam.

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Regionalism: A Hindrance to Social Human

• Demand for Dravida Nadu

As early as 1960s the DMK and the Nan Tamil organised a joint campaign through
out madras state demanding its secession from India and making it an independent
sovereign state of Tamiland. DMK proposed that the states of madras, Andhra
Pradesh, Kerala and Mysore should secede from the Indian union and form an
independent ‘Republic of Dravida Nadu’.

1962: C.N Annadurai maintained that the people of South India were of different
stock from that of the north. He alleged that the south has been ignored and neglected
by union government in plans of India’s industrial development.

1963: Constitution bill which enabled it to make laws providing penalties for any
person questioning the sovereignty and integrity of Indian union.

DMK dropped its demand for separate nation Dravida nation.

1974: Anti-Malayali demonstration in Madras city by Tamil Protection Organization

demanding to give employment to Tamilians alone.

• Bodoland demand within Assam

The Bodo agitation is led by the Assam Bodo Students Union which is demanding a
separate state and has resorted to wide scale violence and series of crippling bandhs to
pursue their demand. One of the basic reason Assam agitations is because of the
expansion of education, particularly higher education, but not industrialisation and
other job creating institutions is increasing the army of educated youths in the
backward regions. These frustrated young men are allured by the movements against
the inflow of people from other countries ands states. On the other hand these
unemployed youths are also attracted by the caste, communal and other sectional
agitations fighting for the protection of rights on sectarian lines.

• Demand for Telengana

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An early manifestation of regionalism was the Telangana movement in what became

the state of Andhra Pradesh. The princely ruler of Hyderabad, the nizam, had
attempted unsuccessfully to maintain Hyderabad as an independent state separate
from India in 1947. His efforts were simultaneous with the largest agrarian armed
rebellion in modern Indian history. Starting in July 1946, communist-led guerrilla
squads began overthrowing local feudal village regimes and organizing land reform in
Telugu-speaking areas of Hyderabad, collectively known as Telangana (an ancient
name for the region dating from the Vijayanagar period). In time, about 3,000 villages
and some 41,000 square kilometers of territory were involved in the revolt. Faced
with the refusal of the nizam of Hyderabad to accede his territory to India and the
violence of the communist-led rebellion, the central government sent in the army in
September 1948. By November 1949, Hyderabad had been forced to accede to the
Indian union, and, by October 1951, the violent phase of the Telangana movement
had been suppressed. The effect of the 1946-51 rebellion and communist electoral
victories in 1952 had led to the destruction of Hyderabad and set the scene for the
establishment of a new state along linguistic lines. In 1953, based on the
recommendation of the States Reorganisation Commission, Telugu-speaking areas
were separated from the former Madras States to form Andhra, India's first state
established along linguistic lines. The commission also contemplated establishing
Telangana as a separate state, but instead Telangana was merged with Andhra to form
the new state of Andhra Pradesh in 1956.

The concerns about Telangana were manifold. The region had a less developed
economy than Andhra, but a larger revenue base (mostly because it taxed rather than
prohibited alcoholic beverages), which Telanganas feared might be diverted for use in
Andhra. They also feared that planned dam projects on the Krishna and Godavari
rivers would not benefit Telangana proportionately even though Telanganas
controlled the headwaters of the rivers. Telanganas feared too that the people of
Andhra would have the advantage in jobs, particularly in government and education.

The central government decided to ignore the recommendation to establish a separate

Telangana state and, instead, merged the two regions into a unified Andhra Pradesh.
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Regionalism: A Hindrance to Social Human

However, a "gentlemen's agreement" provided reassurances to the Telangana people.

For at least five years, revenue was to be spent in the regions proportionately to the
amount they contributed. Education institutions in Telangana were to be expanded
and reserved for local students. Recruitment to the civil service and other areas of
government employment such as education and medicine was to be proportional. The
use of Urdu was to continue in the administration and the judiciary for five years. The
state cabinet was to have proportional membership from both regions and a deputy
chief minister from Telangana if the chief minister was from Andhra and vice versa.
Finally, the Regional Council for Telangana was to be responsible for economic
development, and its members were to be elected by the members of the state
legislative assembly from the region.

In the following years, however, the Telangana people had a number of complaints
about how the agreements and guarantees were implemented. The deputy chief
minister position was never filled. Education institutions in the region were greatly
expanded, but Telanganas felt that their enrollment was not proportionate to their
numbers. The selection of the city of Hyderabad as the state capital led to massive
migration of people from Andhra into Telangana. Telanganas felt discriminated
against in education employment but were told by the state government that most
non-Telanganas had been hired on the grounds that qualified local people were
unavailable. In addition, the unification of pay scales between the two regions
appeared to disadvantage Telangana civil servants. In the atmosphere of discontent,
professional associations that earlier had amalgamated broke apart by region.

Discontent with the 1956 gentlemen's agreement intensified in January 1969 when the
guarantees that had been agreed on were supposed to lapse. Student agitation for the
continuation of the agreement began at Osmania University in Hyderabad and spread
to other parts of the region. Government employees and opposition members of the
state legislative assembly swiftly threatened "direct action" in support of the students.

The Telangana movement grew out of a sense of regional identity as such, rather than
out of a sense of ethnic identity, language, religion, or caste. The movement

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Regionalism: A Hindrance to Social Human

demanded redress for economic grievances, the writing of a separate history, and
establishment of a sense of cultural distinctness. The emotions and forces generated
by the movement were not strong enough, however, for a continuing drive for a
separate state. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the People's War Group, an element
of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), renewed violence in Andhra
Pradesh but were dealt with by state police forces. The Telangana movement was
never directed against the territorial integrity of India, unlike the insurrections in
Jammu and Kashmir and some of the unrest in northeastern India6.

• Inter state disputes

Another form of regionalism in India has found expression in the form of inter state
disputes. There is a dispute over Chandigarh over Punjab and Haryana. There are
disputes boundary disputes for example between Karnataka and Maharashtra on
Belgaum where Marathi speaking population is surrounded by Kannada speaking
people, between Kerala and Karnataka on Kasargod, between Assam and Nagaland
on Rengma reserved forests.

The first important dispute regarding the use of water source was over the use of
water resources of three rivers mainly Narmada, Krishna and Cauvery in which states
of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra were involved. Another
dispute arose among the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh over
the use and distribution of waters of the Krishna river. Disputes also arose between
use of Cauvery waters among the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
Disputes between Punjab, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh overt the use of waters of
Ravi river. The Electricity sharing issue between Punjab and Delhi is another example
of this.

• Demand for Khalisthan

“Regionalism”, Country Studies. Retrieved from <> on
April 16th 18:26 hrs

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Regionalism: A Hindrance to Social Human

Khalistan is the name given to the proposed nation-state encompassing the present
Indian state of Punjab and all Punjabi-speaking areas contiguous to its borders. A
movement for Khalistan precipitated when the Indian Army attacked the Darbar Sahib
(Golden Temple) in June 1984. The attack, which was planned several months
beforehand and was timed for an important anniversary in the Sikh calendar, sought to
maximize Sikh casualties. The army operation was followed by wholesale killings of
Sikh males between the ages of 15 and 35 in Punjab’s villages. These events, together
with organized massacre of Sikhs in India’s major cities in November 1984, and daily
terror families subsequently experienced in Punjab’s villages gave rise to resistance. A
Sarbat Khalsa (general congregation of the Sikh people) was convened at the Akal
Takht, the Sikh seat of temporal authority in Amritsar, on January 26, 1986. The
gathering passed a resolution favoring the independence of Punjab (Khalistan).
Khalistan is envisaged as a secular state, rejecting theocracy and espousing a liberal
form of nationalism in which all communities may live as equals7.

March 1981: Chief Khalsa Diwan in Sikh Education Conference passed a resolution
demanding Khalistan and seeking associate membership in united nations.

June 1981: Demand for Khalistan was originally voiced by a former member of akali
dal, which was taken up in various milder forms by Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak

15thAugust 1981: Khalsa voulenteers gathered in a Gurudwara and saluted their flag
which had the map of proposed khalistan state inscribed in the centre.

Extremist Sikh movements such as the demand for Khalisatan are purely urban
middle class phenomenon. The urban Sikh has been unable to convert his economic
power into political power-the way the rural Sikh has. And his insecurity is further
aggravated by the fact that the 75% of Hindu population in Punjab is concentrated in
towns. This causes urban Sikh to resist being overwhelmed by Hindu values.

Dr Awatar Singh Sekhon and Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, “KHALISTAN: The Struggle To Regain Lost
Sovereignty” Retrieved from <> on April 14th 10:28 hrs

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Regionalism: A Hindrance to Social Human

9. International Regionalist issues

• North-South divide in the United Kingdom

In Great Britain the term North-South divide refers to the economic and cultural
differences between southern England - the South East, Greater London, South West
and parts of East - and the rest of the United Kingdom, generally including Scotland,
Wales, North East England, North West England and Yorkshire and the Humber. The
status of the Midlands is often disputed, although the region tends to have had
historically more in common with the North than the South, even though
geographically most areas of the Midlands are more Southern than Northern; this
ambiguity also applies to South Wales and to East Anglia. In political terms, the
North is generally more left-wing and supports the Labour Party whereas the South is
more right wing and supports the Conservative Party8.

• Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium

Belgium is a federal state comprising three communities, three regions, and four
language areas. For each of these subdivision types, the sum of their circumscribed
surfaces composes the entire country; in other words, the types overlap9.

The language areas were established by the Second Gilson Act, which entered into
force on August 2, 1963. The division into language areas was included in to the
Belgian Constitution in 1970. Through constitutional reforms in the 1970s and 1980s,

Bland, J Martin (3 July 2004). "North-south divide in social inequalities in Great Britain". British Medical
Journal.<>. Retrieved on 2009-03-10.
“Politics — State structure”, Flemish Government. Retrieved on 2007-05-24

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regionalisation of the unitary state led to a three-tiered federation: federal, regional,

and community governments were created, a compromise designed to minimize
linguistic, cultural, social and economic tensions.

Belgium is undergoing a polarization of political attitudes between those who wish to

maintain a highly centralized unitary state and those who favor a loosely structured
federal system based on culture. The government, caught between these conflicting
points of view, has attempted to preserve the viability of the state by giving increasing
cultural and economic autonomy to Flanders and Wallonia, the two major unilingual
regions of the country. However, this solution has exacerbated relations with the
Brussels-Capital district; for the majority there believe that they have been
compromised on the issues of regional autonomy and territorial expansion and resent
the growing threat of federalism. During this period of rapid decentralization, it is
crucial that the national capital, as the only bilingual part of the state, become a center
of cross-cultural institutions instead of another divisive region10.

• Other Regionalist movements: Unstableness in the countries like Pakistan,

Canada, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Russia11


 Vision 2020

It can be traced that regionalism slowly turned from non violent means to violent
means to achieve their goals. From Potti Sriramulu’s non violent means of fatsing to
Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena (MNS) and ULFA’s violent means, regionalism has
come a long way. Regionalism in present day India is readily used for political gains
by petty politicians and secessionist organizations. Economic reasons are exploited

Glenn V. Stephenson, Cultural Regionalism and the Unitary State Idea in Belgium, Geographical Review,
Vol. 62, American Geographical Society, 1972
For further details visit <
title=List_of_active_autonomist_and_secessionist_movements&oldid=284187680> Retrieved at 18:31 hrs
April 16th 2009

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Regionalism: A Hindrance to Social Human

for political dividends. When violence is used against people in the name of
regionalism it is a criminal act and is punishable. Article 19 of the Constitution of
India provides a citizen of India to move freely throughout the territory of India, to
reside and settle in any part, and to practice any profession, or to carry on any
occupation, trade or business. When ULFA (United Liberation Front of Assam)
militants or MNS(Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) activists used violence against poor
migrant workers, they clearly violated law of the land and also the Constitution which
is above all, even above the Parliament.

Do we need to fear Regionalism?

No. Regionalism in India is only a short cut to attain the political ambitions by
emotionally exploiting the sentiments of the people. The fear of Balkanization is void
of any logic. India is bound by a common culture that has flourished on this land
many thousand years ago. The states which fought for complete independence are
now part of Indian Union and they have renounced for some extent violence; they
include Mizoram, Nagaland, Kashmir, Bodoland, Tamli Nadu. India is too big for
these states to fight against and win.

Today regional parties define how the governments are formed and conducted both at
the centre and the state level. Indeed it is a good development as some political
entities such as RJD, BSP, LJP, DMK, AIADMK, BJD have to some extent
represented those people who were neglected in the political process for long time. As
long as they thrive for regional development without discriminating against outsiders,
regionalism is good for India.

I may be Kannadiga or Tamil but I am an Indian first. My identity outside India is that
of an Indian.Every Indian in India is a son of soil. Soil of Maharashtra is no different
than the soil of Bihar in its essence and of origin.

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Findings of the project

1. Is the optimism of the positive school logical or the pessimism of the negative school

2. With the increasing political and social awareness among all the levels of the people,
it is not difficult to mobilize masses for demand a piece of land under the sun.

3. Problems can be suppressed for long or put down with firm hands.

4. The gulf between “them” and “us” has to be bridged by through accommodation and

5. Rationale of new smaller states need not necessarily be perceived as balkanization or


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Regionalism: A Hindrance to Social Human

6. Regionalization, if sensibly handled will not disintegrate India. As such the demand
for new states has to be effectively scotched and conceded after only after careful
scrutiny of each case on the basis of economic development and administrative


Books, Journals etc

1. Dr. Fadia, B.L, Indian Government and Politics,7th edition, Sahitya

Bhavan Publications, Agra, 2007

2. K.Nanda, Subhrat, Nationalism and Regionalism in India, Kalpaz

Publication, Delhi, 2007

3. Narang, A.S, Indian Government & Politics, 6th edition, Gitanjali

Publishing Hlouse, 2000

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Regionalism: A Hindrance to Social Human

Online sources

1. “MLA Citation Style”, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th edition,
April 16 2009 09:14 hrs <>

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