Regionalism

Mains Marks Booster     3rd August 2023        
Samadhaan

Regionalism in the contemporary world is characterised by loyalties to a specific region of origin. It involves asserting regional identity and demands for special privileges as a remedy for past neglect or deprivation.

Interesting Fact: 12th five-year focusses on “Faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth”, for balanced regional growth.

Characteristics of Regionalism

  • Regionalism arises from disparities in the economic, social, political, and cultural aspects between regions.
  • Regionalism can be driven by emotional and psychological factors.
  • Regionalism is based on the expression of group identity and loyalty to a specific region.
  • Regionalism prioritises the development of one's own region without considering the interests of other regions.
  • Regionalism restricts the benefits of a particular region to people from outside that region.

Types of Regionalism

  • Supra-State Regionalism: Supra-state regionalism involves shared interests among people residing in multiple states, working towards promoting regional autonomy and local agendas. It suggests that a larger state with common interests has higher chances of success than smaller states.
    • g., North Eastern states in India.
  • Inter-State Regionalism: Inter-state regionalism creates divisions among two or more states, often due to territorial and identity-related factors. It can undermine the interests of certain groups within the states involved.
    • g., Disputes between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the distribution of Kaveri water.
  • Intra-State Regionalism: Intra-state regionalism emerges when a specific region or state seeks autonomy, self-identity, and self-reliance. It can be seen as a positive form of regionalism as it promotes self-dependence for the region.
    • g., Saurashtra in Gujarat, East U.P. in Uttar Pradesh, Vidarbha in Maharashtra etc.

Types of Regional Movements

  • Secessionism: Secessionist movements involve fundamentalist groups advocating for separatism and the formation of separate entities.
    • g., The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isac Muivah) and Islamic fundamentalist groups in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Separatism: Separatist movements demand the creation of separate states.
    • g., The formation of Telangana, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, and others.
  • Demand for Full Statehood: This type of movement arises from Union territories seeking full statehood, such as the case of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
    • Such demands are generally accepted, as seen with Arunachal Pradesh (former NEFA) and Sikkim.
  • Demand for Autonomy: The demand for autonomy arises due to excessive central political interference, gaining strength since the 1960s.
  • Demand for Regional Autonomy within a State: In this type of movement, people from a specific region demand recognition based on their regional identities within a larger state.
  • Son of Soil theory: It connects individuals to their place of birth, granting them specific privileges and responsibilities. It is evident in movements like Shiv Sena's defence of Maharashtrians and conflicts between Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslims in Assam.

Factors responsible for Rise of Regionalism


Impact of Regionalism in India

 

Positive Impacts of Regionalism

  • Decentralized Governance due to creation of Smaller States
    • For instance: The creation of smaller states like Telangana and Uttarakhand required the establishment of new administrative structures to govern these regions effectively.
  • Emergence of New Regional Political Parties: The rise of new regional political parties, such as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), driven by regionalism, advocating for separate regions or states.
  • Focus on Specific Regional Problems:The formation of regional parties provides an opportunity to address and prioritise region-specific issues and challenges.
  • Example: The Shiv Sena in Maharashtra emerged to address the concerns of Marathi-speaking people, particularly related to job opportunities and cultural preservation.
  • Linguistic and Cultural Preservation:
    • Regionalism can contribute to the preservation and promotion of regional languages, cultures, and traditions, allowing for the diversification of cultural fabric.
    • Example: The Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu has played a significant role in preserving and promoting the Tamil language and culture.
  • Healthy Competition among the states: Regionalism often encourages a sense of competition for growth among different states.

 Negative Impacts of Regionalism

  • Undermining National Unity: Regionalism can undermine national integration, as loyalty and allegiance to a specific region may overshadow loyalty to the nation.g., Secessionist Movements (Demand for greater Nagaland.)
  • Disturbed Law and Order: Agitations and conflicts arising from regional demands can disrupt the law-and-order situation, leading to social unrest, protests, and violence. g., Division of Andhra Pradesh saw violent agitations across the state.
  • Infiltration of External Factors: It can create opportunities for external factors, such as terrorist groups or extremist organisations, to exploit the situation and incite disruptions within the region.
  • Divisiveness and Fragmentation: Intense regionalism can create divisions and fragmentation within the country, as regional identities and interests take precedence over national unity and solidarity.
  • Economic Disruptions: Regionalism can disrupt economic activities and investments, as uncertainty and conflicts arising from regional demands can deter business growth and hinder economic stability.
  • Hindrance to Inter-State Cooperation: Regionalism can strain inter-state relations and hinder cooperation among different states, as regions compete for resources, infrastructure projects, and economic opportunities. Recent developments along the Maharashtra and Karnataka border
  • Weakening of National Institutions: It can weaken national institutions and governance structures potentially leading to challenges in effective governance and decision-making.

Is Regionalism a Threat to National Integration?

  • Coexistence and Development: Regionalism and national integration can coexist, emphasising development.
  • Federal and Democratic System: A federal and democratic political system reconciles regionalism and national integration.
  • Preserving National Solidarity: Regionalism, when managed well, does not disrupt national solidarity.
  • Strengthening Federalism: Regionalism enhances federalism through equal regional partnership.
  • Decentralisation of Power: Regionalism reduces centralization, empowering states.
  • Inevitability in a Diverse Nation: Regionalism is natural and inevitable in diverse countries like India.
  • Fundamental to Federalism: Regionalism is foundational to federalism, respecting regional identities

Combating Social Evils: Casteism, Regionalism, and Linguistic Fanaticism:

  • Casteism, regionalism, and linguistic fanaticism are social evils that can be combated through social movements and by empowering citizens through education and economic opportunities.
  • The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, addresses untouchability and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, aims to prevent atrocities against SCs and STs.
  • This information was given by the Minister of State For Social Justice and Empowerment in a written reply in Lok Sabha in March 2023.

Conclusion: Regionalism in India has both positive and negative effects on the social, political, and economic landscape of the country. While it provides a platform for addressing region-specific issues and preserving linguistic and cultural diversity, it can also lead to tensions, conflicts, and challenges to national unity. Finding a balance between regional aspirations and national integration is crucial for maintaining harmony and sustainable development in a diverse country like India.

 

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