It was the era of pre-Independence in India, when the leadership meant to obtain freedom from the British and unshackle the growth and development of India. The leaders spearheaded our revolt and our freedom movement by galvanizing the popular strength irrespective of region or religion. The some leaders became even out of favour of the British rule for galvanizing these movements. But the things were not the same all the time. After our Independence, the leadership took the shape of political mandate and to be precise, the self-centered political mandate. Instead of uniting the people, the political utilized their representation to divide them into castes, religions, regions etc. The political morality puts emphasis on the duty of the political parties to propagate the goal of development and growth of the masses. It is the duty of these political parties to unite the masses and spearhead the development goal. But what can be felt at present is that the masses are being divided in the name of region or states they belong to, i.e., the problem of regionalism. Regionalism is not a problem, if it arises as a result of the problems faced by a particular region, which serves as the backdrop for that movement. But it takes the hue of a political mandate, if it is done for mutilating the national unity.


REGIONALISM- A THREAT TO UNITY OF INDIA DEFINITION OF REGIONALISM. The term ‘regionalism’ has two connotations. In the negative sense, it implies excessive attachment to one’s region is preference to the country or the state. In the positive sense it is a political attribute associated with people’s love for their region, culture, language, etc. with a view to maintain their independent identity. While positive regionalism is a welcome thing in so far maintaining as it encourages the people to develop a sense of brotherhood and commonness on the basis of common language, religion or historical background. The negative sense, regionalism is a great threat to the unity and integrity of the country. In the Indian context generally the term regionalism has been used in the negative sense. The feeling of regionalism may arise either due to the continuous neglect of a particular area or region by the ruling authorities or it may spring up as a result of increasing political awareness of backward people that have been discriminated against. Quite often some political leaders encourage the feeling of regionalism to maintain their hold over a particular area or group of people. POLITICAL MORALITY IN A DEMOCRACY. In order to get abreast of the term political morality, it is essential to know what morality means. It refers to some codes of conduct put forward by a society or, some other group, such as a religion, or that accepted by an individual for her own behavior1. Political morality takes into consideration the principles of the politics to be adhered to. In a democracy, the principles that regulate the politics include the social welfare and social upliftment. Democracy is the form of government for the people, so those who represent the masses must act in the way to their upliftment and progress. Since morality refers to what ought not to be done, even if it is not prohibited by law, the political morality, especially in a Democratic dispensation, should emphasize upon what the political parties and leaders should not practice. In the same sense the autocratic regime can be referred to as completely immoral regimes. Opposed to the mainstream vision of the freedom movement which was founded upon








REGIONALISM- A THREAT TO UNITY OF INDIA creation of a secular India, was the vision that originated with the formation of the RSS in 1925 for creation of a Hindu nation, which can also be termed politically immoral. This notion was articulated by M.S. Golwalkar, RSS Sarsanghchalak, in 1939 in his work, “We or our Nationhood defined”. In his infamous work, he remarks “There are only two courses open to the foreign elements, either to merge themselves in the national race and adopt its culture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the national race …”2 Everyone has the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution, but that does not connote the sense that the blasphemy and seditious speeches are excused. REGIONALISM IN INDIA. Just as the problem of communalism prevalent in India, another problem exists in India pertaining to the regional division of the nation. India has faced the problem of regionalism, even before Independence. But the incidents like the recent attacks on Bihari labourers by the United Liberation Front of Asom, uproar created by the MNS in Maharashtra, the dispute over Hogenakal drinking project, the Jammu and Kashmir issue, Telangana issue and likes make sure that still the issue of regionalism persists in India. These issues have been highlighting the sharp divide among regional states of India, which point that the overall national interest has been reduced to a secondary status. Forms of Regionalism in India. Indian regionalism has come in three forms, namely, regionalism properly so called, parochialism and secessionism3. To some extent, these have also taken the shape of violent movements galvanizing the popular participation. They can be explained as follows:
1. Regionalism, properly so called. It is the first and most legitimate kind of regionalism

which is often in the form of the demand of a separate space or state of one's own, for the purpose of resting securely within the Union of India. This was spearheaded by the
2 3

Golwalkar, We or our Nationhood defined, 1939, pp. 47-48. INDIA TOGETHER:


REGIONALISM- A THREAT TO UNITY OF INDIA Telugu-speaking residents of the erstwhile Madras Presidency. The forms of protest it involved were attacks on state property, and the hunger-fast4, and as a result of this, the creation of the state of Andhra Pradesh and, later redrawing of the map of India on linguistic lines took place. With the same token, some of such protests for the creation of a separate state gave birth to leading regional parties like the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Madras, which was later emulated by the Akali Dal in Punjab, the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh, and the Asom Gana Parishad in Assam. All of such parties won state elections by successfully claiming that they stood for the rights of their regions. These parties proclaimed themselves regional by their very names. Even on the same wavelength, the West Bengal unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – at least during the period when it was led by Jyoti Basu and its finances taken care of by Ashok Mitra – can be viewed as a regional party claiming to stand for the interests of Bengal and Bengalis. This category also includes sub-regionalism, which pertains to the groups, which are in minority within the states based on language, who also occupy a definite territory within these states, and by virtue of language or ethnicity, they have enough to bring them together and to bind them against the majority community in that state5. Prominent examples being, the Nepalis in West Bengal and the Bodo-speakers in Assam, both of whom organised movements for separate states of their own. The successful protests include those which were raised by the hill people of Uttar Pradesh, which delivered to them a new state called Uttaranchal (now Uttarakhand), and the tribal and other residents of the Chhotanagpur Plateau, whose claim from a reluctant Bihar was the state of Jharkhand for which they had been fighting from well before Independence.
2. Parochialism. Another form of regionalism has been termed as parochialism. This can be

benevolent, as in evident in form or pretensions of the Bengali bhadralok, who claim that their literature, music, dress and cuisine are superior to others in India. However, sometimes it has also taken the form of bloodshade, as evident in the attacks on Bihari labourers by the Ulfa cadre, in which the belief rests that only Assamese speakers have

It was evident in the case of Potti Sriramulu, who in 1952 died after not eating for 52 days for the demand of a separate state. 5 INDIA TOGETHER:


REGIONALISM- A THREAT TO UNITY OF INDIA the right to live in Assam. This kind of bloodshade was committed by the Shiv Sena goons in mid-sixties, who in Bombay began to attack South Indians entitling them as ‘outsiders’ to the city. Even Udupi restaurants were torched, and offices and factories threatened not to employ south Indians in their establishments. Recently, the Shiv Sena has kept the Bengalis and Biharis at its target. Following the same, the MNS has made the North Indians its target.
3. Secessionism. It can be classified as the most violent and dangerous form of regionalism

as it is based on the desire, or hope, or fantasy, to divide the Republic of India and form a separate nation of one’s own. This form of regionalism evolved with A. Z. Phizo's Naga National Council6, and T. Muivah’s National Socialist Council of Nagaland7. In the similar way, militants in Kashmir can also be said to follow this form of regionalism as they are persistently committing bloodbath in pursuit of their dream of a separate separate. The movemment of Khalistan, spearheaded by the Sikh extremists during 1980s also hoped to form their own nation-state. In fact, even the Dravidian movement for many years demanded a separate nation out of India, which fialed due to the jingoism unleashed by China's war with India. This form of regionalism is the most dangerous one as it has claimed some 60,000 lives in Kashmir, and several thousand lives apiece in Nagaland since 1950s, and in Punjab in the 1980s and 90s. PHASES OF REGIONALISM IN INDIA. Dravidian Movement. Going back to the journey of Regionalism in India, it is well noticeable that it emerged with Dravidian Movement, which started in Tamil Nadu in 1925. This movement, also known as ‘Self-Respect Movement’ initially focused on empowering Dalits, non-Brahmins, and poor people. Later it stood against imposition of Hindi as sole official


The Naga National Council was a political organization of Naga people, of 1940s under the leadership of Angami Zapu Phizo, which campaigned for the secession of the Naga territory from India and creation for a sovereign Naga state. 7 The Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) is a Naga nationalist group that operates in Northeast India with aim to establish a Christian socialist state in the areas inhabited by the Naga people in Northeast India and Myanmar.


REGIONALISM- A THREAT TO UNITY OF INDIA language on non-Hindi speaking areas8. But it was the demand of carving out their own Dravidastan or Dravida Nadu, which made it a secessionist movement. The movement, however, declined and today the movement has given birth to several prominent regional parties after many splits and factionalism. Linguistic Reorganization of States. It was the demand of Potti Sriramulu, a freedom fighter and a devoted follower of Mahatma Gandhi, that led to the creation of Andhra Pradesh state and linguistic recognition of the states in India9. To achieve this end, he died in 1952 after not eating for 52 days in support of a Telugu-speaking state. Sriramulu’s death forced Jawahar Lal Nehru to accede to the various demands from other parts of the country with similar demands. Consequently, in 1954, a States Reorganisation 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. Shiv Sena against Kannadigas. In 1966, Shiv Sena, in Maharashtra, launched its agitation against Kannadigas in the name of Marathi pride. The first targets of its agitation were South Indians who the Udupi hotels in Mumbai. This agitation was labeled to be a retaliation of the lathi-charge on Marathi speaking people in the border areas10. Khalistan Movement. It was during the era of 1980s that Khalistan movement with its aim to create a Sikh homeland, often called Khālistān, cropped up in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. The vision was to include the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, New Delhi, parts of the Kashmir, parts of Rajasthan, and parts of Gujarat. Thus this movement falls more in the category of a separatist movement, imbibing the characteristics of regionalism. Apart from this, there have been several other secessionist movements namely, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh11.

The Dravidian Movement was founded by Periyar E. V. Ramasamy (also known as Periyar), which initially demanded Dravida Nadu and was limited to Tamil-speaking region, but later, it was expanded to include other Indian states with Dravidian speakers in majority (Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Karnataka.) Some of the proponents also included parts of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Orissa and Maharashtra. 9 NEWSTRACK INDIA: Regionalism: biggest threat to national unity, 10 THE HINDU: Shiv Sena targets Kannadigas, 11 ABSOLUTE ASTRONOMY: Separatist movements of India


REGIONALISM- A THREAT TO UNITY OF INDIA The MNS Targeting North Indians. It was in 2008 that Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers began their violent agitation against North Indians. Bhojpuri films were not allowed to run on theatres in Maharashtra. The targets were vendors and shopkeepers from North India in various parts of Maharashtra12. Creation of new States in 2000. In 2000, the Government of India, pursuant to legislation passed by Parliament during the summer, created three new states, Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal, and Jharkhand, reconstituting Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, respectively. Both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress party supported the formation of the states. The basis for creating the new states is socio-political and not linguistic. With the new states, the Indian Union now has 28 states. Telangana Movement. In the years after the formation of Andhra Pradesh state, people of Telangana expressed dissatisfaction over how the agreements and guarantees were implemented. Discontent with the 1956 Gentleman'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 threatened "direct action" in support of the students. STATE NATION AND NATION STATE. The idea of the ‘nation state’ is associated with the approach that implies one common culture within the state. On the contrary, the idea of the ‘state state’ is associated with the nation that can contain more than one politically salient culture, but nonetheless it encourages respect for the common institutions of the state as well as respecting existing socio-cultural diversities. India has been put under the category of the ‘state nation’. CAUSES FOR GROWTH OF REGIONALISM. 20.4 Causes for Growth of Regionalism In India a number of factors have galvanized the movements of regionalism:
1. The efforts of the national government to impose a particular ideology, language or

cultural pattern on all people and groups compelled the regionalism movements to crop up. With the same effect, the states of the South began to resist the imposition of Hindi as

THE VIEWSPAPER: Regionalism in Maharashtra,


REGIONALISM- A THREAT TO UNITY OF INDIA an official language as they feared this would lead to dominance of the North. Emulating the same the Assam anti-foreigner movement was launched by the Assamese to preserve their own culture.
2. Continuous neglect of an area or region by the ruling parties and concentration of

administrative and political power has given rise to demand for decentralization of authority and bifurcate of unilingual states. On occasions sons of soil theory has been put forth to promote the interests of neglected groups or areas of the state.
3. The desire of the various units of the Indian federal system to maintain their sub cultural

regions and greater degree of self-government has promoted regionalism and given rise to demand for greater autonomy.
4. The desire of regional elites to capture power has also led to rise of regionalism. It is well

known that political parties like DMK, AIADMK, Akali Dal, Telugu Desam Asom Gana Parishad etc., have encouraged regionalism to capture power.
5. The interaction between the forces of modernisation and mass participation have also

paved the way for growth of regionalism in India. As the country is still away from realising the goal of a nation state, the various groups have failed to identify their group interests with national interests, hence the feeling of regionalism has persisted. The growing awareness among the people of backward areas that they are being discriminated against has also promoted feeling of regionalism. The local political leaders have fully exploited this factor and tried to feed the people with the idea that the Central Government was deliberately trying to maintain regional imbalances by neglecting social and economic development of certain areas.

HOW TO COMBAT REGIONALISM. Regionalism has been an important aspect of Indian politics. Sometimes, it has posed threat to the unity of the country. Hence it is necessary to take steps to reduce such tendencies. Some such measures can be
1. To promote even development of the hitherto neglected areas so that they feel a part of

the national mainstream.
2. The central government must not interfere in the affairs of the State unless it is

unavoidable for national interest.

3. Problems of people must be solved in a peaceful and constitutional manner. Politicians

must not be allowed to misuse the issue of regional demands.
4. Except for issues of national importance, the states should be given freedom to run their

own affairs.
5. Changes are necessary in the Central-State relations in favour of the states, and for

introducing a system of national education that would help people to overcome regional feelings and develop an attachment towards the nation.


REGIONALISM- A THREAT TO UNITY OF INDIA CONCLUSION. According to the Constitution of India, an Indian citizen is free to move around and settle down peacefully any part of the country. So they go to places where jobs are available, and get them on the basis of merit. This gives the political parties absolutely no reason to accuse them of stealing anything, or criticizing their language and culture, or for that matter, instigating violence against them. Their want for limelight and votes ends up being a nightmare for the common man. This is not the solution to the problem of excessive migration. It can only be solved by development and creation of jobs in other states, and tackling the issue of overpopulation. If this unnecessary propagation of hatred continues, it will solve nothing, and only divide the people more. Today it is the division of states. Tomorrow it will be the division of districts, and so on.



• • • • • • • • • •