Regionalism is defined as a feeling of loyalty to a particular part of a country and a wish for it to be more politically independent. It is not just a territorial unit but a culmination of socio-economic and political factors. Regionalism can be defined in connotations both positive and negative.
Positive regionalism means love towards one’s culture, region, language etc whereas negative regionalism is an excessive attachment to one’s regions in preference to the country of the state. Positive regionalism helps to build Brotherhood and commonness based on the common language, religion or historical background and it helps a particular regional group to maintain their independent identity. It gives self-determination to people and empowers them to feel happy. Negative regionalism may pose a threat to the unity and integrity of the country. In the Indian context generally, the term regionalism has been used in the negative sense.
Regionalism can ride both within and outside the nation. within a nation the rise of sub-state actors becoming more powerful is evident. The transnational cooperation between different countries like forming off the South East Asian organization or the European Union which have come together for pursuing a common goal is termed as a regionalism outside a nation. In India regionalism evolved through various forms during the pre-Independence era, the British had promoted the regionalism so that they can maintain their hold over India during the ‘national movement’
After the Independence, the Congress had tried to promote nationalism through the concept of 1 single Nation and also by giving single citizenship apart from unified Judiciary, all India services, and a strong central government. Despite the efforts of the Congress to stop regionalism, the vastness and the diversity of the cultures within our country prevented it.
Different forms of regionalism
In India broadly regionalism can be defined in two forms one the demand for state autonomy and to secessions from the Union.
Demand for state autonomy: This is a demand by the states for Greater autonomy from the centre this may be because of an increasing interference by the centre in the affairs of the state that led to the regional feelings. The demand for the state its autonomy has also been raised by the regions within some states of the Indian Federation Secession from the union. This is the dangerous form of regionalism. It emerges when States demand separation from the centre and try to establish an independent identity of their own.
why does regionalism evolve and what are the causes for It?
- Regionalism evolved when the national government tries to impose a particular ideology may be language or culture pattern over a particular state. This is evident from the Anti- Hindi movement in the South Indian states as well as the Anti-foreigner Movement in Assam both were launched to protect their own culture.
- The continuous neglect of an area or Reason by the ruling party and concentration of Administration and political party has also given rise to the demand for decentralization of authority and bifurcation of and unilingual States.
- The low rate of economic growth investment infrastructure and social expenditure by the state on health education and sanitation can also be a reason for the development of-of regionalism
- The sons of the soil doctrine which after 1950 in competition between local youth and migrants for employment has led to the development of regionalism not only in rural areas but also in cities.
- The Desire of the various units of the Indian federal system to maintain the subcultural regions and a greater degree of self-government has promoted regionalism and giving rise to the demand for Greater autonomy
- The ambition of regional Elite to capture power, for example, the DMK, AIDMK Telugu Desam have encouraged regionalism to capture power. The dispute between the states over the sharing of river water primacy given by the states to the language of the majority and the people of their state in a job opportunity with growing awareness among the people of backward areas that they are being discriminated against has also promoted the feeling of regionalism. What can be done to correct regional imbalances
- The dispute between the states over the sharing of river water primacy given by the states to the language of the majority and the people of their state in a job opportunity with growing awareness among the people of backward areas that they are being discriminated against has also promoted the feeling of regionalism. What can be done to correct regional imbalances
What can be done to correct regional imbalances?
Regionalism is an important aspect of Indian politics sometimes it has posed threats unity and integrity of the country. Therefore it is necessary to take steps to reduce such tendencies.
Some of the measures can be
- That should be balanced regional development in formulating the economic policies of the state to avoid the economic negligence of a particular region
- The excessive interference of the central government in the affairs of the state should be minimized unless if it is unavoidable for National interest.
- That should be a friendly relationship between the centre and the states with the national education system so that it would help to overcome the regional feelings and develops an attachment towards Nation.
The problems of the people must be solved peacefully and constitutionally. Politicians must not be allowed to misuse the use of power for their benefit.
The need of the hour is to develop a realistic perception of regionalism at the conceptual level focusing on righteousness and judicial outlook on the path of the political parties. If this objective is achieved then the regionalism of the idea of different communities speaking the diverse language and is linked with particular cultural expression thinking globally acting globally and seeing human unity in diversity in practical terms too would become a distinct possibility.
Regionalism in India
Regionalism is a kind of feeling or loyalty towards the interest of their region and it is an ideology among a section of people residing in the same particular geographical area. This regionalism is also more of a mindset that one develops over time, even nationalism is no different.
This kind of ‘isms’ just restrict one’s horizon it gives one a limited armoury to choose from. It originates in many ways, for example, this is being united by unique language, culture, language traditions etc. Regionalism can also rise with development wherein religion and the cultural attitude of people are brought together and Unity and Diversity are created and so there arise many cultures linguistic diversity and in the particular region of a developing area. In a negative sense, they were creating a particular kind of divisions in a way of separate religion, language, customs, traditions, etc. But positively, they are coming together and celebrating these differences in a way of uniting themselves through literature, writing newspapers, across the country and also through writings of the poems etC.
Origin: Regionalism comes in people in many ways, for example, its origin is traced in the following ways
1) When people ask for a state of their own within a union of a state or example within the Union of and India.
2) When states or regions with a particular cultural identity ask for the power equally with that of the centre.
3) The people who ask for the separate state would be based on linguistic, cultural identity in a city or regional development basis.
4) The fourth one which is the most dangerous for an integrity and Unity of nation is secession where a particular geographical union wants to segregate from the Union of India or any other country with an autonomous self-power.
When back to British period there is a slight origin of regionalism in the back British Colonial rule in the way of presidencies and Diversity which brings about all the regional language and cultural people together and there arises a positive and negative changes of the differences between these people as stated earlier and also British attitude towards princely states and those of presidencies deferred a lot which created a kind of regionalist feeling between these princely states and that of Presidencies were on the criteria of developmental basis. Even though the princely states were given the autonomous power and authority to take care of their development process, the British attitude to develop these presidencies created a kind of differences between these two and a emerged a feeling of regionalism to their region for the interest of seeking development in princely states.
Regionalism in a way creates a positive sense to a nation wherein it seeks for the developmental process in the particular region to protect their interest in that region and also it promotes the welfare of the state and the people.
Many political parties arise in the due course of this regionalism where it promotes a kind of feeling in people by using a puppet of regionalist feeling towards them. This regionalism is slowly turning from non-violent means to violent means to achieve their goals. Even regionalism in contemporary India is readily used for political gains by petty politicians and socialist organizations and economic reasons are exploited for political divisions.
Whenever we see, in India there are many cases which exhibit the kind of nationalistic feeling which also let many revolt actions. For example, Death of Potti Sri Ramulu and his Revolt for the separate state of Telugu- speaking people became a Launchpad for the dawn of political regionalism in India that would in course of time alter the landscape of India.
This also marked a beginning of a kind of nationalistic feeling in South India and also after this many princely states and other states started asking for a separate state which resulted in a formation of States Reorganization Committee with Faisal Ali as its head which recommended a formation of 16 states and 3 union territories based on language.
Regionalism in India can be traced back to Dravidian Movement in Tamil Nadu where it is focused on empowering the Dalit’s, non-Brahmins and poor people which resulted in a violent revolution for not imposing Hindi as a compulsory language in the non-Hindi speaking areas and in the due course of time Tamil Nad united with a single goal. There were a lot of political parties in Tamil Nadu which are of the same goal arose from this regionalism. And the moment but slowly declined by time.
Also, many cases were registered in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, Bihar, Punjab etc.
Read: Ethnic Movements in India
Is regionalism to be worried a lot about???
To say, NO, regionalism in India is only a shortcut to meet the political ambitions especially by emotionally exploiting the sentiment of people.
India also gave a kind of Federal states which gives autonomous powers and a kind of special support from the centre to the states to rule for the development and economic interest which reduces the doubts of people of their interest.
Conclusion: Even India, which is bounded by common culture has released on this and many thousands years ago and so, for every Indian, it is an identity of an Indian first with outside India and then comes to a regional identity. In a positive sense, many Regional parties which were formed with the regionalist feeling of people make a positive sense when they come for the regional development without discriminating against outsiders.
Soul regionalism is in a way good for India. Being every Indian is the son of the soil and also being a cultural identity and an idea of Unity and Diversity of largest in our country we are brought together by this idea and that unity is imperative if you want to release the dream of becoming a superpower so people loving the culture and being little regionalist it doesn’t mean that they love their mother country India less, it is more important for nationalism as we see it as for regionalism.