Regionalism in India
- November 2, 2020
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: MMN
Regionalism in India
When we think of a region, we imagine a space with a common language, particular people and their attachment to that space. The culture of a region distinguishes it from other forms of spatial and political forms.
Region is always interpreted on the basis of geography, culture and so on. It is also linked to state, political parties, leaders and other institutions.
Regionalism means to situate the approach and sentiments towards the particular region. It is argued that regionalism can be a form of resistance against the imposition of a particular cultural ideology that is linked to the integration of a nation.
Regionalism is found to have connections with the cultural patterns that exist as a part of the dominant culture. Sometimes, it becomes a threat to the nation state by regional groups who struggle for their particular sectional interests
Features of regionalism:
- Regionalism is a psychic phenomenon.
- It is built around as an expression of group identity, as well as loyalty to the region.
- It presupposes the concept of development of one’s own region without taking into consideration the interest of other region.
- It prohibits people from other regions to be benefitted by a particular region.
- Pre-independent India was a land with fragmented regions that possessed autonomy in different degree. British colonizers re-structured those regions for colonial exploitation.
- At the same time, privileged sections of the population responded to British colonialism in two ways. On the one hand, they adopted colonial modernity for their upward mobility. On the other hand, they questioned the colonial onslaught on their region.
- Thus, the notion of region in India during the period of colonialism and post-independent state is a skewed one. Regional culture persisted in a dynamic fashion even after the formation of India. In other words, various strata of people in India associated themselves with their regional cultures. At the same time, they are governed by the nation at large. Thus, the regional cultures shape the consciousness of plural and unequal masses that are scattered throughout the country.
- Colonial modernity structured the regional cultures in different ways. In Regions and Regionalism other words, missionaries and the British rulers engaged with the regional knowledge systems in a creative manner. They constructed schools and provided social mobility to the women and other marginalized sections.
- They codified the regional and vernacular knowledge for purpose of governance. This helped the codification of the vernacular cultures. The interests related to the ‘civilizing mission of the orient’ are political in nature.
- India was ‘colonized by caste’ before the entry of British colonizers. However, post-colonial formation of an independent Indian state re-configured new class and caste structures under the form of new sovereignty. In the next section let us look at the current trends on region and regionalism.
FACTORS BEHIND REGIONALISM IN INDIA:
Regionalism in India is a multidimensional phenomenon as it is a complex amalgam of geographical, historical, cultural, economic, politico- administrative and psyche factors. It is not possible to indicate exactly any particular factor, which has been solely responsible for the phenomenon of regionalism. Therefore, all these factors need to be explained briefly.
Some of the most important the causes of regionalism in India are as follows:
- The territorial orientation based on geographical boundaries relate to the inhabitants of a particular region which are symbolic, at least in the Indian context.
- This is more so because of the linguistic distribution along geographical boundaries. The topographic and climatic variations along with differences in the settlement pattern induce in people the concept of regionalism.
Historical and Cultural Factors:
- In the Indian scenario the historical or cultural factors may be considered the prime components of the phenomenon of regionalism.
- The historical and cultural components interpret regionalism by way of cultural heritage, folklore, myths, symbolism and historical traditions. People of a particular cultural group also derive inspirations from the noble deeds and glorious achievements of the local heroes.
Caste and Region:
- Caste system and religion in Indian society play only a marginal roll in causing regionalism. Only when caste is combined with linguistic preponderance or religion it may cause regional feeling.
- In the like manner religion is not so significant except when it is combined with linguistic homogeneity or based on dogmatism and orthodoxy or linked with economic deprivation.
- In the present times, uneven developments in different parts of the country may be construed as the prime reason for regionalism and separatism. There are certain regions in the country where industries and factories have been concentrated, educational and health facilities are sufficiently provided, communication net work has been developed, rapid agricultural development has been made possible.
- But there are also certain areas where the worth of independence is yet to be realized in terms of socio-economic development.
- Of course, the British administration may be held responsible for causing such wide regional variations due to their suitability for the purpose of administration, trade and commerce.
- But in the post-Independence era, efforts should have been made for regional balance in matters of industrial, agricultural and above all, economic development.
- This disparity has caused the feeling of relative deprivation among the inhabitants of economically neglected regions. It has manifested itself in the demand for separate states such as Bodoland or Jharkhand land, Uttarakhand, etc.
- Political parties, especially the regional political parties as well as local leaders exploit the regional sentiments, regional deprivation and convert them to solidify their factional support bases. They give place to the regional problems in their election manifesto and promise for political and regional development.
- In the present day Indian political scenario some regional parties have strongly emerged and captured power in some states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Assam .
- Apart from that some other regional parties like Akali Dal in Punjab, Jharkhand party in Bihar, etc. have posed constant threat to the nation.
EFFECTS OF REGIONALISM IN INDIA:
Positive effects of regionalism:
- Positive regionalism promotes a sense of pride in connecting to one’s roots and culture.
- It has been noticed that often regional movements have helped the art and culture of many neglected regions to flourish by increasing their exposure through local emphasis.
Negative effects of regionalism:
The drawbacks of regionalism include the possibility for each individual city or county to lose their respective independence and/or identity.”
- While trying to ensure the culture and tradition of a particular geographical area is sustained, regionalism often ends up making the people of a certain region narrow minded and less accepting of other cultures found in different parts of the country.
- In certain cases it develops a superiority complex in the minds of the people who have inhabited a place for many years and gives them a false sense of ownership over the region. These effects of regionalism greatly hurt and disturb one`s national identity.
- National identity is a sense of belonging to one nation, a feeling one shares with a group of people, regardless of one`s citizenship status.
- Another regionalist policy known as decentralization is usually employed by the central government to spread its decision making governance closer to the people. While these measures are often taken to improve the governance at the grassroots level, it can lead to rebellion which is aided by the newly empowered inhabitants of a region.
- Another problem regionalism brings about is its disastrous effect on national integration.
- This leads to the formation of multiple communities within one nation and restricts the free interplay of culture and tradition between a country`s citizens.
- The nation consists not only of variations in terms of people from different states, but also different languages, religions, economic backgrounds as well as ethnic roots.
RECENT ISSUES ON REGIONALISM:
- In recent times, Maharastra and Assam have come under heavy criticism for countless attacks on people who migrated from other states. At times, regionalism has been used for political leverage in order to secure a vote bank
- People are brain washed into believing philosophies that go against the very principles that establish us as a unity in diversity.
- Worse still is the fact that once hatred develops towards a particular group of people, it persists throughout the ages.
- The Andhra Pradesh government has made it mandatory for existing and upcoming industries in the state to reserve 75 per cent jobs for locals.
WOMEN AND REGIONALISM:
- The issues of region and regionalism have wider linkages with gender and particularly, women. But, the role of women in relationship to region and regionalism remains invisible.
- In fact women’s participation is seldom recognized by institutions such as state, political parties and so on due to patriarchal modes of operation in several forms. For instance, the formations of separate states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattishgarh and Jharkhand have had various political wings of women.
- In the recent Telangana movement in which women are protesting against the Central government for a separate Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, the participation of women is often ignored.
Eg: Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha and Mahila Mukti Morcha.
IMPACT OF REGION ON WOMEN:
- The social development of a particular region affects the gender relations of that region. For instance, women are socially mobile in places such as Kerala.
- On the other hand, states such as Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh are backward in terms of development. This is reflected in the gender indices of these states.
- Women still undergo different forms of oppression. ‘Secession’ also determines the status of women.
MEASURES TO CONTROL REGIONALISM:
In order to eliminate the regionalism and achieve national integration the following suggestions may be given.
- To wither regional imbalance:
- It has been experienced that the regional imbalance has been the main cause of disgruntlement among the inhabitants of a particular region for regionalism.
- If the national resources are distributed in a balanced manner, the problem of regionalism will be mitigated.
- Streamlining regional parties:
- The regional parties play a dirty role in exploiting the regional feelings of people. This solidifies the base for regionalism.
- Therefore efforts should be made to streamline all regional parties posing threat to national unity.
- Economic development:
- Due to uneven development of different areas of the country, political issues have been made and enmity between different regions increased.
- Therefore if top priority is given to economic development of those areas where the people have developed the feeling of relative deprivation, the situation will improve and they can be drawn into the national mainstream.
- The experience of the past shows that it is the human element which is crucial in development.
- This requires a multipronged approach including social, economic and structural changes to free the poor from the visible as well as invisible fetters.
- Restructuring the society:
- The social structure of the developing societies at the national or regional level is essentially anti-development. India is no exception to it.
- The benefits of increased investment in economic and social activities in this society often go to those who need them the least and the majority is the deprived section.
- Hence our social structure needs to be restructured. In a modified social structure the low level of development can be taken care of through growth and anti-national feeling through regionalism.
- Customs and values:
- The regional groups of people also maintain their cultural distinctiveness. This delimits the interaction between different regional and cultural superiority for each group.
- Frequent cultural contacts should be promoted to break the regional barriers and to develop the nationalistic spirit. This is quite possible because although each region has its own distinct folk or tribal music, mutual influences are not rare.
- Developed means of Communication:
- Most of the backward regions of the country do not have proper link with the rest of the country through transport and communication system.
- Due to this reason their interaction and contact with other regional groups become restricted and they develop a, feeling of alienation.
- Therefore transport and communication system should be developed in the backward areas in order to bring economic and social development.
- Education may be construed as a very powerful agent for doing away with the separatist tendencies and for flourishing the sense of nationalistic spirit among the country men.
- Mass media:
- Today mass media have become very powerful agents of change. If both direct and indirect appeals are made highlighting the concept of equality of opportunity to every region for their development and the concept of national unity through various programmes and awareness campaigns.
- Regionalism leads to a feeling of collective consciousness, togetherness and so on. The ethnic identity, language and culture also play a vital role in this process of emergence of regions and regionalism.
- However, it is often observed that women are also contributing equally to the phenomenon of the emergence of a separate state. Simultaneously, they are always marginalized due to the persisting ideology of patriarchy.
- The values enshrined in the constitution should be upheld by the Government in power in order to foster unity and fraternity amongst the people of India.
- MA SOCIOLOGY IGNOU MATERIALS
- NEWSPAPERS AND ARTICLES OF VARIOUS MAGAZINES, EPW.