Matters of regionalism and ethnicity are of paramount concern in the Indian context because of the pluralism of languages and cultures. Added to this is religion, we should not forget that the all the major religions of the world have an Indian connection or legacy, something which the Western world is alarmingly diffident about.
Which country can boast of such a multi- lingual or multi- religious experience with hoary historical dimensions?
The tribal cultures of India have a vitality and vigour among them which instantly appeal. In the North East for example the dances are imbued with the spirit of animation and purpose whether it is the Bihu dance of Assam, or the Cheraw bamboo dance of Mizoram, the latter needs an intricacy and dexterity of feet movements. The tribal dances of Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh have a lively, rumbustious appeal, very satisfying to the senses: with their music and rhythm. But we should not waste this cultural and socio religious expanse by a policy of division, which many of our public leaders seems to thrive on.
Take for example the electorate and the pattern of voting. It is not a hidden reality that huge amounts are spent to woo voters, despite the Election Commission giving apparent stringent guidelines on this matter. The Minority card is played, not out of love for them, but to entice them in the vote market. These lead to division and discord, as you are pitting one against the other. This is a clever and surreptitious force of disintegration. How can we prevent these, and matters like caste loyalties, in states in North or East India for example.
Caste too is a factor for disruption, and discontinuity. The so called scheduled castes came out of society because of a stigmatization. This has also led to conversions to other religions, such as Islam and Christianity. Again politicians have taken umbrage under the caste factor, what happened in the eighties when V P Singh moved for reservation of an additional category? This led to society being divided on caste lines, all for the benefit of petty and immediate gains. This still continues, so does the issue of immigration, with some forces supporting it for obvious vote banks, and others castigating it for reasons of sheer hatred.
What we forget, is the historicity of the country, embedded in pluralistic cultures and a sound edifice of multi cultures and religions. We forget history and the past. Hence caste, community and religion are misused and abused for petty effrontery, and mutual lambasting, read: even bashing.
Unless we love this multiplicity of cultures genuinely, we will only become compliant to inimical forces, who sadly enough, perhaps, are abysmally ignorant of what they are doing in the name of caste, community and political power. These are ephemeral, but the country is not, the country has an ineffable, music and odour of its own.
This, we must protect at all cost! Then only, truth will triumph.