Regionalism vs Nationalism: Where do we Stand?

“India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters” the pledge we took every morning at school imbibed brotherhood and helped us visualise our nation as a joint family. Lately, though India remains to be our country but the brothers and sisters have broken the joint family; the “true” sons of the soil are fighting for their share. Now we are Marathas or Tamilians or Biharis first and Indians next. Indian political system has taken the regional route and politicians are making the most of it by basking on the ignorance of the emotionally trapped, majorly illiterate, locals. It’s a fiasco beyond repair and a turmoil beyond clarification that has plagued our nation. A government that was meant to be “By the people; For the people” has never been what it was meant to be, it is rather “By the leaders; For the leaders”.

Inspired by a leader, with the “Bhumiputra” (Son of the Soil) ideology, the MNS (”Maharashtra Navanirman Sena”) works for the progress of the soil walked by the Marathi speaking people alone and not the nation. They present an election manifesto to create jobs for the Marathi speaking locals and they plan to achieve this by snatching jobs of the non-Marathi speaking outcasts; being an outcast in your own nation is the most (un)fruitful recognition for the freedom we earned ages ago at the cost of valuable lives. As an outcome of such heinous acts, Infosys pulled out a part of its Pune operations with a thousand jobs at stake. Though thousand is not a significantly high number and though these jobs were not intended for the locals only, a loss incurred always negates progress defying their motto. Adding to the woes MNS promotes Marathi language by denouncing those who do not intend to promote; the recent Abu Azmi “oath taking incident” speaks volumes of their outrageous approach to promote a language. If this is the means for progress then where are we heading? if these are the leaders we have to look up to then what is the progress we can expect?

The “Jharkhand Mukti Morcha”, “Jharkhand Party” and et al protested, struggled and campaigned over six decades for a separate Jharkhand state claiming this to be beneficial for the Tribal and Scheduled Castes (A majority of the state population) but even after nine years of formation a quagmire of financial indebtedness, poverty, corruption and illiteracy prevails. Another such power monger is the “Kunabi Sena” or “Kunabi Army”, a political party based in the Thane district of the Maharashtra state. The “Kunabi Sena” claims to be fighting for the land and water rights of the Kunabi community and they believe that the solution to this problem is a separate Konkan state. The “Telangana Rashtriya Samiti”, “Uttarakhand Kranti Dal” and an annoyingly huge list of regional parties exist today with a common modus operandi. If they all intend to develop their regions why is Mumbai home for the largest slum in Asia? Why is the literacy rate less than sixty percent in Jharkhand? Why are scores of farmers ending their lives due to lack of proper infrastructure in Andhra Pradesh? A list of such “whys” have been raised but remained unanswered.

Our Constitution and its political loop holes have dented our political system and the electorate is a mere laughing-stock for the power thirsty leaders. These days you can win an election if you are capable of gathering people for public meetings either by paying them or by feeding them, maligning the opposition, writing libel, provoking communal riots, killing the innocent and rigging others votes; this is the shoddy side of the largest democracy in the world. In an election the vote percentage is less than sixty percent of the population and the winning party gets at least sixty percent of these votes, effectively the winning party gets the consent of only thirty-six percent of the people to represent them and the rest are either unaware, unhappy or unmoved by this situation. We are good players at the blame game and end up blaming and whining about the scenario.

It took a Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma – the father of our nation) to lead our freedom struggle against the British but imagine how many such Gandhis do we need today to fight against these myriad problems, this time we are our own enemies. If “why” is a question then “why not” should be the answer; as famously quoted by the Mahatma “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. If every individual in this nation feels the responsibility towards a better future and contributes in whatever possible way to set things right we can still pull off a sensation. Chak De India!!

Ikshwak Kandi

[Image courtesy:]