“Regional assertiveness can prove to be a peril to National Unity.” Examine the statement with suitable examples? (15 Marks)

Mentors Comments:

  • Class XI and XII NCERT – Indian society
  • The question is from GS paper I and aims to discuss the role of regional attitudes on the national unity of the country.
  • One has to explain with suitable examples of the effect of regional attitudes on the national unity of the country.
  • Start by discussing the concept of regionalism.
  • In the main body explain that regionalism is the expression of a common sense of identity and purpose by people within a specific geographical region, united by its unique language, culture, language, etc.
  • Discuss the emergence of regional political parties as a result of secessionist tendencies. This trend is polarizing citizens of the country on regional lines. Example, Telugu Desam Party of Andhra Pradesh, DMK and AIADMK of Tamil Nadu.
  • Regionalism reached that stage where it is equivalent to be an internal security threat to the country. It is causing friction among states. 
  • Conclude with suggestions to overcome such attitudes.


Regionalism is a feeling or an ideology among a section of people residing in a particular geographical space characterized by unique language, culture etc., that they are the sons of the soil and every opportunity in their land must be given to the first but not to the outsiders. It is a sort of Parochialism. In most of the cases, it is raised for expedient political gains but not necessarily.

Regional assertiveness can prove to be a peril to national unity:

  • Regionalism puts the regional priority above the national priority. Therefore, it may impair the national development.
  • It breeds hatred among the region. Example violence against Bihari workers in the North East by ULFA
  • It impacts the integrity of the nation. Over motivated regionalism sometimes turns into a secessionist movement. example Khalistan movement.
  • Violence is a very common characteristic of regionalism. To protect regional identity people may take violent means. Example Nellie massacre during Assam movement.
  • It discourages cultural exchange and often breeds intolerance towards other regions. E.g.: The anti-migrant or anti-Bihari stance of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) which opposes the employment and residence of non-Maharashtrian people in the state of Maharashtra is a prime example of negative regionalism.
  • It discourages migration. Due to hostility towards people from other region workers reference from moving out and settling there
  • It impacts the ease of doing business. Due to regional aspiration, local people pass difficulties for private investors to hire freely as per their own requirement private companies are often forced to reserve job and contract only for local people son of the soil
  • It also impacts the International relationship example West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is obstructing Teesta deal between India and Bangladesh only to quench her regional thirst.
  • Regionalism beyond a point can lead to secessionism, such as strong regionalism in Punjab ultimately resulted in the growth of Khalistani terrorism.
  • Regionalism often promotes Vote- Bank politics, thereby weakening the national integration.
  • Regionalism can weaken the time tested fabric of ‘Unity in Diversity’, if promoted in an ultra-manner.

Measures needed to quell the extreme regionalist perspectives:

  • Unity in Diversity ethos needs to be preserved for the pluralistic character of the Indian nation-state.
  • The accommodation of multiple aspirations of a diverse population is necessary.
  • Formation of the NITI Aayog has been a positive step to enhance cooperative federalism by fostering the involvement of the State Governments of India in the economic policy-making process using a bottom-up approach.
  • While a number of steps such as the launch of centrally sponsored schemes, incentives to private players for development in backward states have been taken by the government for inclusive development, there is a greater need for their effective implementation.
  • There is a need to increase the level of social expenditure by the states on education, health, and sanitation which are the core for human resource development.
  • Introducing a system of national education that would help people to overcome regional feelings and develop an attachment towards the nation can act as a long-term solution to the problem of sub-nationalism.
  • While the National Integration Council was set up in 1961, there is a need to utilise its potential more effectively.
  • Schemes like “Ek Bharat-Shreshtha Bharat” have been launched by the GOI to celebrate unity in diversity culture of the nation and to strengthen sentiment for National Unity between the citizens of states, is a welcomed step.
  • National unity is not impaired if the people of a region have genuine pride in their language and culture.

The need of the hour is to develop each region of India, through devolution of power to local governments and empowering people for their participation in decision-making. The governments at State level need to find out the alternative resources of energy, source of employment for local people, use of technology in governance, planning and for agriculture development.

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