Essay Topic: H
A country can be benefited if its regional strength is strong. However, if different regions do not hold onto a strong bond, the country can see devastating effects. The idea of regionalism should not be to create a separate individuality but to have a strong common link that serves the purpose of living in harmony with one another. Interdependence is healthy and is a prerequisite to keep the country thriving.
What factors differ regions?
Each region varies from others on so many grounds. Sometimes, it is the internal bodies that create the disunity, and many a time, it is the outer influences that force regions not to be a part of a single community.
If I talk about India, here the disparity among regions has occurred based on different aspects such as, Geographical, Economic, Historical, Cultural, Social, and Political. Other factors such as Culture, language, and Social Practices etcetera also contribute to regional differences.
Let us understand some major factors that contribute to regionalism:
The economic condition of a particular territory might build a sense of separation in its people from the other regions of a country. The dwellers of the affluent state can possess a feeling of superiority and eliteness.
To describe another influence, historical reasons also lead to regionalism. A state that has a long old history may see itself as a different entity. For example, the southern states of India have a great historic value.
When it comes to geographical separation, regions experience different weather and environment. Also, aspects like the production of certain crops due to the ideal geographic location, fruits, and following different cultures make them stand out.
Some regions witness huge political support as compared to others. This difference can stem from various reasons like the count of the population. This discrimination can make a region have different views on political issues.
Regionalism can lead to conflicts in a state. The sense of belongingness to a different state may let people feel a disparity between them and others living around them. Living in one place but not feeling like “one” can have really detrimental impact on the unity of a country.
This situation sometimes leads to creating an own society by people. For instance, the creation of Koshal in Orissa by taking areas of Sambalpur, Bolangir, etcetera. Although these issues start at a very low scale, sometimes end up extended as tension that always lingers among the people.
On the other side, people have also been seen joining their hands for the growth of a region though they never step behind from maintaining their own identity. They stand for common issues that concern all the states. Cooperation can be seen among them while fighting for common rights.
To cite an example, the northeastern states always stand for each other while keeping the individuality of each state intact.
How does it become a menace to the integrity of a country?
Regionalism is often seen as a serious threat to the development and unity of the nation. It challenges internal security by propagating the beliefs of regionalism against the authorities of the country.
For example, the Minimum Support Price suggested for sugarcane was helpful for farmers in Maharashtra. However, this implementation resulted in agitations of farmers across all the states belonging to UP, Punjab, and Haryana. Meanwhile, it also sowed the seed of conflicts among ministers that further targeted the corresponding minister.
Other explanation: When language and culture are used by some regional leaders to play politics of vote bank, it certainly goes against healthy democratic procedures. This situation gives birth to demands such as a separate state. This is also a fact that after creating small states, only a few political heads prove to be able to run an efficient government.
Regionalism also becomes a barrier in international diplomacy. In 2013, Tamil Nadu regional parties got against the Prime Minister of India. His attendance at Commonwealth heads meeting(CHOGM) in Sri Lanka was the reason for this dispute. These actions had repercussions on the relations of India with Sri Lanka.
The central government has categorized states based on backwardness. The intensity of backwardness determines the eligibility of grants and loans. To exemplify, the index is made by keeping the states in different segments. These segments categorize the state according to the need for special help that should be provided to a state.
According to these indicators, Orissa and Bihar come under the category of the most backward states. This has evident adverse ramifications as the remaining regions are left aloof from mainstream development.
Unevenly made developmental plans for different regions upsets the remaining regions. This gives rise to massive violence and agitations which ultimately calls for stringent steps by the government.