Forms of Regionalism in India:
Forms of Regionalism in India:
Regional Politics has taken mainly four forms namely:
(1) Demand for state autonomy
(2) Supra-state regionalism
(3) Inter-state regionalism and
(4) Intra-state regionalism.
Demand for State Autonomy:
The first and the most challenging form of regional politics was in the demand of people in certain states or regions of Indian Union for becoming independent sovereign states. Such demands occurred soon after independence but they are non-existent now. The important examples in this context are that of the plebiscite by National Front (Kashmir), Akali (not the present parties) in Punjab, Mizo National Front (Lushai Hills of Assam), Nagaland Socialist Conference (Naga Hills District of Assam) etc.
This implies that more than one state is involved in the issue of regionalism. It is an expression of group identity of some states. They take a common stand on the issues of mutual interest vis-à-vis another group of states. The group identity is usually in relation to certain specific issues. It does not in any way imply the total and permanent merger of identity of the states into the identity of group, rivalries, tensions and even conflicts to take place among a few belonging to a group.
For example, the rivalry existing between south and north India on such issues as language or location of steel plants illustrates the point. The grouping of the North Eastern States for greater access to economic development is another instance.
South India is separated from North along several differentials. Geographically, the South is composed of peninsular uplands or Deccan, the mountain ranges of Eastern and Western Ghats and coastal plains. In terms of political history too, has never been incorporated into the empires of the North. This was done for the first South time during the British regime.
After independence a major rift was caused over the issue of the official language for India. The Constitution envisaged the replacement of English by Hindi for official purpose of the Union as the language of communication between the Centre and the states and between states. The state legislatures of Indian Union were given authority to adopt one or more languages including Hindi for use as the state language. The Constitution provides that the official language of the Union should be Hindi with Devnagari script, with international numerals for a period of 15 years from the commencement of the Constitution. However, Parliament could by law extend the use of English as the link language. The attempt to introduce the provision regarding the official language has generated more intense language rivalry than unity.
opposition to Hindi found its strongest political expression in the southern states. Most of the people in these states as well as those in the non-Hindi speaking areas of Eastern India objected to the imposition of Hindi. It was feared that their own languages would be ultimately replaced by Hindi, which they considered inferior.
The adoption of Hindi as an official language and as a compulsory subject in schools was seen as imposition of a comparatively underdeveloped language upon those whose language contains a richness of thousands of years. In the 1950s and 60s several movements to oppose the imposition of Hindi sprang up. In 1956, the Academy of Tamil culture convened in Madras the Union Language Convention which stated in a resolution that it would be greatly unjust to make any other language (meaning Hindi) take the place of English when a population of 100 million are totally unacquainted with that language. Significantly this Convention included representatives from different
political organizations i.e. Rajagopalachari (Swatantra), Ramaswami Naickar (D.K.), Rajan (Justice Party), Annadurai (DMK) and many others. At a National Conference held on 8th March 1958, Rajagopalachari declared that ‘Hindi is as much foreign to non-Hindi speaking people as, English to protagonists of Hindi.”