INDIA is a vast plural country, full of diversities of religions, castes,languages, tribes, cultures, etc. A number of cultural and linguistic groups are concentrated in certain territorial segments, to which they are attached, emotionally and historically.As has been said that during colonial rule the administration was interested in economic exploitation of the country and not in its development; it encouraged various divisions based on religion, region, caste and language and did not pursue any plan or strategy for a balanced development of the country.These resulted in regional imbalances,and group identities. Subsequently, the independent India saw the rise of regionalism, linguism, separatism, etc. In this chapter we will read about the background, causes and nature of these phenomena and possible ways out to check them. All these are related and interconnected.
A region is a territory, the inhabitants of which have an emotional attachment to it because of commonality of religion,language, usages and customs, socioeconomic and political stages of development, common historical traditions, a common way of living, etc.Any one or more of these, and above all widely prevalent sentiments of togetherness, strengthen the bond. This territory can coincide with the boundaries of a State, parts of State or even with more than one State. A sense of discrimination or competition on economic, political or cultural grounds, desire for justice or favour gives rise to regionalism. Depending on reasons,and related nature, regionalism can be manifested in many ways like demand for autonomy or powers for State,creation of new State, protection of language or culture of the region or separation from the country.
By regional disparities or imbalances is meant wide differences in per capita income, literacy rates, availability of health and education services, levels of industrialisation, etc. between different regions. As already mentioned, these regions may be either states or regions within a State. In this regard in India there are enormous imbalances on various accounts. The exploitative nature of British colonial rule either created or accentuated regional disparities. The planning in independent India has also not been able to remove these.
As is well known, the British colonial administration was primarily interested in selling their products in Indian markets and taking away raw materials from here. In some cases they were also interested in establishing some industries to invest their surplus capital and use cheap labour. Keeping these needs in view, they introduced Zamindari system in some regions to get maximum land revenue. In some regions they favoured peasant proprietary system and improvement of agriculture to create markets for their products. As such, in agriculture there came up significant variations both in production relations and level of production in different states and regions. The pattern of urbanisation was based on the strategy of exporting primary products and importing finished goods. This laid the foundation for the emergence of port towns as the major centers of urban-industrial activities. Therefore, the growth of trade nd commerce in colonial India meant the creation of jobs and educational opportunities at coastal centers like Bombay, Calcutta and Madras and some princely states’ capitals. This also led to the emergence of some consumer industries in these enclaves and hence to the development of a merchant capitalist class. This gave these regions a head start over others where the vast tracts of agriculture had lost their traditional handicrafts and other small scale non-agricultural activities in the face of competition from the high technology associated with the modern processes of industrialisation. Another factor in the uneven regional development was the growth of the education system. The British imperialists had linked India to...
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