Is Your Region More Important than your Nation?

Posted on June 21, 2010 in Politics

Siddhi Bahadkar:

We often hear people saying that India is a rich country of poor people. What does this actually mean? India has nearly 28 states and 7 union territories. Each region is rich in its own way. Take the example of Bihar. It is the state, which has the highest concentration of minerals. Yet, the people of this state are drowned in poverty.

Can’t other states help this region improve? This is a question that often plays in my mind. But, each region is absorbed in its own affairs. Instead of making use of diversities as an opportunity to prove its superiority. Sometimes this war between nationalism and regionalism can have bitter effects. When we ask a person who he is, his reply is either a ‘Maharastrian’ or ‘South Indian’ or ‘Gujarati’; but never an ‘Indian’. This is a worn out yet the best example of how people consider regionalism to be superior to nationalism.

If asked to place the order of responsibilities of a citizen, he places his responsibility first towards his region only then comes the nation. Why? Isn’t the nation more important than one’s region? People often engage themselves in proving that their region and religion is superior to others. At times this leads to political dramas, riots and civil wars. Internal disturbance often proves to be the cause for external aggression. After all these wars between regions, what do they want to prove? Do they want to prove that their region is the most important and has the more significance in the country? All this is a futile, waste of time. We need to see our country as a flower. Each region is one petal of this beautiful flower. Only because of all these petals, this country has bloomed so much. So, instead of withering these petals in regional wars, we should nurture it further to bloom to its fullest potential.

In the current context, many Indian states are demanding autonomy. The reason being that they are blaming the centre for their backwardness. Many states in the North-East are accusing the centre for its “step-motherly” treatment and this has given rise to many militant outfits such a ULFA that are demanding the liberalization of Assam. Same is the situation with Kashmir where we are still debating over the causes of the Shimla agreement with our neighbor.

The argument has to viewed in its entirety. No wonder the government has accepted the division of Uttar Pradesh into smaller provinces such a Varanchal and Uttaranchal. Although the government states that the division is purely for administrative purposes, the growing tribal unrest in the parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh is one of the main reasons for this division. The issue of Telangana has been added to this list.

Regions form an intrinsic part of our nation. When we perform our duties for the nation, we naturally are doing the same for our region. If all the regions come together, then we will project an image of unity and brotherhood. This will help us to pass the torch of freedom, from generation to generation. Because, ultimately, as the age-old saying goes, ‘united we stand, divided we fall’.


The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.