Citizenship and diversity of India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Article 351

Mains level: Paper 1- Diversity and complexity of India


Given the diversity and complexity of India, the only constitutionally valid common denominator is citizenship.

Social security

  • An eminent sociologist and former president of the International Sociological Association, T.K. Oommen, has written extensively on the concept of social security.
  • Evolution of nation: He says the principal challenges to the evolution of a nation lie in minimising disparity, eradicating discrimination, and avoiding alienation.
  • Excluded groups in our society: He has listed nine categories of socially and/or politically and/or excluded groups in our society: “Dalits, Adivasis, OBCs, cultural minorities — both religious and linguistic, women, refugees-foreigners-outsiders, people [of] Northeast India, the poor and the disabled”.
  • Sources of exclusion in India: He has suggested that “the three sources of exclusion in India — stratification, heterogeneity and hierarchy — create intersectionality.”
  • This insecurity manifests itself in genocide, culturocide and ecocide and in its absence, a society may be conceptualised as secure.
  • The Indian polity, he says, “has the most elaborate set of identities based on class, religion, gender, caste, region, language and their intersectionalities as well as consequent permutations and combinations.
  • Citizenship as a common denominator: Given the diversity and complexity of India, the only constitutionally valid common denominator is citizenship.
  • This is the point at which fraternity can and should be practiced among equals.
  • Prof. Oommen opines that it is “only through the conflation of state and nation” can our Republic be considered a nation.


Cultural monoism and secularism are insufficient, Prof. Oommen says; instead, “the idea of conceptualizing India as a multicultural polity is more amenable than a secular India.” The sheet anchor of this has to be citizenship.

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