Sub-Nationalism in India
Nationalism is inspiring, but needs internal strength, self discipline and sacrifices: Sub-nationalism is heady as it caters to internal weaknesses, liberates from controls and promises great personal rewards - although, all at the cost of the nation.
India is going through a phase of strong currents of sub-nationalism superimposing themselves over the current of nationalism which was created during independence struggle by those who struggled, fought and even sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation. Once the independence was attained and power of governance devolved upon Indians, political leaders gradually started indulging more and more in the game of power-grabbing rather than that of nation-building. The game of power-sharing could be played through the rules of the democratic procedures or through their violation. Unfortunately, the former course is tough and tortuous and the latter course is not only easy but is more likely to lead to early successes. So, most of the upcoming politicians chose the latter course. And this has created umpteen currents of sub-nationalism in our country.
Indians being emotionally inclined by nature became an easy fodder to the maneuvers of power-hungry politicians. Whenever a politician played the magic flute of regionism, religionism, casteism, reservationism, languagism, or separatism, many people followed him like mesmerized rats. This mad following often resulted in creation of under-current of sub-nationalism; and, in any case, became the encourager and protector of the inefficient, corrupt and criminal individuals and groups in the society. Their dominance in politics and administration gave rise to unbridled exploitation of the poor and hapless, who gradually became disillusioned and disappointed with the government. This disillusionment is being dexterously exploited by anti-national forces supported by country's enemies.
Like 'Raktbeej' the sub-nationalism becomes self-perpetuating if it is not nipped in the bud. The governance in free India has rarely been known for its promptness and toughness, accordingly, the incidents indicating emergence of sub-nationalism or even secessionism were often taken lightly.
Certain well-intentioned decisions of the politicians taken in the early days of independence like the one relating to Kashmir or the one on creation of states on linguistic basis also proved to be conducive to the creation of sub-nationalistic trends. The anti-Hindi movement of Tamilnadu might have had its origin in so called forced imposition of Hindi upon Tamilians, but, its success became a beacon-light to some political leaders of Maharashtra, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, etc. who openly challenged the Constitution of India with intent to incite regional sentiments and grab power through disaffection. The Kashmir's separatist movement might have started on Kashmiriat sentiments, but forced expatriation of Pandits from Kashmir has proved beyond doubt that its roots lie in the desire for religious hegemony, which was the basis for creation of Pakistan. Inability of the government to contain it gives similar ideas to certain Indians of similar bent of mind, The casteist sentiments aroused through provision of 'reservations solely on caste basis' have played havoc with the unity of society and integrity in services, and propped up some of the most corrupt and self-seeking politicians. Their veiled and unveiled support to criminals and even anti-national terrorists is a grave threat to the national unity.
However, all these threats to Indian nationalism fade in comparison with the threat created by Maoists in a substantial part of the country. Their plan to create a Maoists dominated corridor starting from Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bangal, Jharkhand, Bihar and eastern U. P. and taking it to China through Nepal was known to security forces and to the Government for the last 20 years. Unfortunately, the central government and the state governments concerned remained too busy in political haggling and corruption to pay heed to the Intelligence input given to them. Neither the administration of those areas was strengthened nor ameliorative measures were taken for the poverty-ridden and heavily exploited tribals. With the ideological, financial and arms' support from some of our neighbors it became a child's play for the Maoists to exploit the sentiments created by misery of the masses and unite those simple people against the Indian nation.
Unfortunately, the picture of the future for Indian nation is also not rosy - firstly, because the Indian society as a whole is moving on the path of division rather than cohesion; secondly, any guerilla type movement which has local populace's support is rarely defeated; and more importantly, the Indian public, politicians, press and powers that matter even now do not realize the gravity of the situation and hence fail to act in unison.
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Mahesh Chandra Dewedy
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