This article deals with topic titled ‘Regionalism’.
Note : Note : This is part of our series on Society for UPSC examination. For more articles , click here.
What is Regionalism?
The phenomenon in which people’s political loyalties become more focused on particular region in preference to the nation or other parts of the state of which that region is sub-part is called regionalism
In Indian context, regionalism is rooted in India’s diversity vis-a-vis caste , religion , language , ethnicity etc. When all these factors get geographically concentrated along with the feeling of relative deprivation, it results into Regionalism.
Is Regionalism a threat to National Integration?
The politics of regionalism has two connotations
Positive : This type of Regionalism is not threat to National Integration
Desire for preserving identity based on language, culture, ethnicity
To protect socio-economic interest
For administrative convenience .
Negative : Any demand of regionalism which acts as a threat to nation building efforts is referred as negative form of regionalism . Like Son of Soil policy & demand of secession.
Second form can be seen as threat while first form is not threat per se.
Characteristics of regionalism
Regionalism is conditioned by economic, social, political and cultural disparities.
Regionalism at times is a psychic phenomenon.
Regionalism is built around as an expression of group identity as well as loyalty to the region.
Regionalism supposes the concept of development of one’s own region without taking into consideration the interest of other regions.
Regionalism prohibits people from other regions to be benefited by a particular region.
Types of Regionalism
Demand for Separation : Demand to secede from Indian union and become a sovereign state. Eg : Khalistan , Azad Kashmir , Naga etc
Supra-state regionalism: Group of states are involved. They share common issues & build common identities . Eg Northeastern states for economic development and rivalry between North and South Indian States on language
Inter-state regionalism:Between States . It is issue-specific. Eg : Disputes between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over Kaveri
Intra-state regionalism:Due to lack of equitable sharing of benefits within state. Eg: Coastal region vs western region in Odisha, Jaipur (Amer) vs Jodhpur (Marwar) in Rajasthan
Causes of regionalism in India
Linguistic Reorganisation of States
States divided linguistically => generate sub-national identity
Historical and cultural factors:
History has divided India into two parts – “Aryans” and “Dravidians”.
Different regions have their own local heroes &’people tend to mobilise around them .Eg Shivaji in Maharashtra or Periyer in TN etc
After integration of princely states , people were still loyal to their old territorial units
Economic underdevelopment :Uneven development generates regionalism and separatism. It can manifest in form of demand for Special Category Status or separate state or secession . Eg Bodoland, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Chhatisgarh, Telangana, and so on.
Used by some region based parties. Eg : Shiv Sena => protect Maratha interests
Undue Interference in the affairs of state by central government gives birth to regionalism.
Economic Development – Sometimes development of particular community raises regional aspirations of the community . Eg : After GR, Sikh Jatts of Punjab became economically prosperous and they started to demand separate Punjab from other Hindi speaking regions
Disintegration of Congress Party : After Nehru, central leaders started to impose their mandate on regional leaders. As a result, local leaders moved away to form parties like NCP in MH , Trinamool Congress in WB. They encouraged regionalism
Son of the Soil Movement
“Son of the soil” doctrine argues that state specifically belongs to the main linguistic group inhabiting it , who are the sons of the soil or local residents.
Aka Politics of Nativism.
Why son of the soil?
Rising aspirations of the local middle class
Economy’s failure not to create enough employment opportunity. There remains a competition for jobs
Politicians with vested interests try to consolidate their voting base using this. Eg Shiv Sena in Maharashtra
Note : In some areas like Punjab , Haryana , Delhi etc , son of soil theory is not there but in Maharashtra , Karnataka etc it is present.
Not Present in Punjab, West Bengal, Delhi etc
Son of Soil theory is for Middle class jobs and not for menial jobs
It is not issue of political parties . Eg : Akali Dal is jatt dominated party + Communist Party refused to use anti-migrant sentiments in Calcutta because of its ideological commitment
Symbiotic Relationship : Punjabis and Haryanvis want cheap agricultural labour
In Delhi, culture is purely cosmopolitan
There in Maharashtra
Political parties like Shiv Sena, MNS use this as political tool
Competition between migrants and nativists is for middle class jobs
If national party is weak, the native political parties become more assertive
Impact of Regionalism in India
Most important basis for the formation of identity was language. Hence, it has kept communalism and formation of political identity based on religion in check
Regionalism has helped in promoting democracy in India. Regional parties like Shiv Sena, DMK etc fight to capture power via democracy
Agitate to preserve their culture => helped in preserving the diversity of nation
Regionalism at times transforms into secessionism
Son of Soil Policy impacts Fundamental rights of Citizens like right to life or right to carry out any profession
It can cause great damage to private and public property.
Creates sub national feelings in the people . Naga Nationalism or Punjabi Nationalism vs Indian nationalism
Regionalism, also becomes hurdle in the international diplomacy, . Eg : Tamil Parties impact diplomacy with Srilanka & Trinamool Congress with Bangladesh (like in Teesta Water dispute)
Ways to Combat
Making India truly federal in word and spirit
Doing away with regional imbalances
Not imposing single culture on whole nation . Eg imposing Hindi in whole nation will face backlashes from Non-Hindi speaking states .
Three language formula as suggested by Sarkaria Commission to be strictly implemented
People to People contact + making people aware of other cultures using TV & Radio + Ending the prejudices of Cow Belt against North Easterners & South Indians
Federalism to Combat Regionalism/ Why India didn’t face Regionalism to the extent other multi-lingual/diverse countries face
Other countries with ethnic and linguistic diversities are facing many problems like secessionist movements => they werent able to accommodate regional aspirations
Nepal is facing Madhesi Agitation
Pakistan facing Baluchi & Sindhi movements
Sri Lanka experienced Tamil civil war
Eriteria seceded from Ethiopia
Yugoslavia broke due to various sub nationalisms at play
But India inspite of such a huge diversity of cultures is still united . Reason = Federalism and devolution of power which gives sense of meeting regional aspirations by various groups.
Indian federalism provides democratic ways to meet local aspirations of people
Sovereignty is constitutionally shared. States enjoy significant power . People feel that they are governed by their own people . Cooperative and Competitive Federalism is the new watchword in India.
73rd and 74th Amendment
Regions under 5th and 6th Schedule enjoys certain autonomy
Art 370 & 371 has special provisions helpful in addressing concerns of some states.
Other factors why India hasn’t faced Regionalism
Linguistic reorganization of states
Unlike our neighbours, India recognized early that language is the reason behind regionalism & opted for linguistic reorganization of the states in 1956.And by 1966 all major language speakers have states of their own. This led to regionalism problem getting subdued in India.
Economically most backward regions are politically most powerful.
India has a peculiar situation unlike other countries => UP is one of the most backward state in India but they decide who will make Government at Union => cant complain of Political Apathy & Discrimination
Out of 14 Prime Minister, 9 are from UP.
Economic interdependence between different regions
Wave of globalization => India is becoming homogenous => Regionalism subsumed by Globalisation
This article deals with topic titled ‘Secularism’.
Note : Note : This is part of our series on Society for UPSC examination. For more articles , click here.
Secularism is defined as the principle of separation of state from religious institutions and religious dignitories.
But nature and extent of separation may take different forms depending upon different values it intends to promote.
Religion is private affair of person and state passively respects all religions
Arm length distance is maintained between state and religion.
Laicite / Militant Secularism
In France, due to long battle against religious influence on laws and government, Laicite was introduced.
There is total separation between religion and state (ie religious activities and symbols are banned in public sphere).
French secularism has come under criticism that rather than promoting diversity, freedom of thought and multi-culturism , it is interfering with the basic right to religious self expression
The Indian idea and practice of secularism although was inspired by western ideas yet it is rooted in India’s unique socio-historic circumstances like religious diversity and support for all religions .
Based on this , features of Indian secularism are as follows
Wall of separation between state and religion is porous ie state can intervene in religion to promote progressive voices within every religion . Eg : Abolition of untouchability.
However, religion is strictly prohibited to interfere in state matters hence disallowing mobilisation of electoral support on religious line
Provisions regarding Secularism in India
Articles 25 to 28 => freedom of religion to all.
Articles 14, 16, 44 (Uniform Civil Code) and 51A, by implication prohibit the establishment of a theocratic state.
In the Kesavananda Bharati case the Supreme Court (SC) had declared secularism as a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
Doctrine of Essential Practices by SC
Section 123(3) of Representation of Peoples Act 1951 prohibits political parties to ask for votes on religious lines
Rev Stanislaus vs State of MP held that forcible conversions is not included in right to propagate religion
Challenges to Secularism
Frequent recourse to revivalist events such as Ghar Wapsi etc. breeds fear amongst the minorities
Incidents of lynching
Communal Riots and Targeted Violence
Religious hate speech, falsification of history and dissemination of wrong information
This article deals with topic titled ‘Communalism.’
Note : This is part of our series on Society for UPSC examination. For more articles , click here.
Definition of Communalism
Allegiance to ones own ethnic/religious group rather than to wider society
Stages of Communalism
Communalism is manifested at three levels
When people belonging to same community believe that they have same secular interest
When people belonging to different communities believe that they have different secular interests
When people believe that they not only have different interests but mutually antagonistc and hostile interests (one community can prosper only at the cost of other community)
Communalism is an ideological tool often used by upper class to mobilise people to achieve their own political goals
6 types of Communalism
Often there is perception in the society that communalism is threat to National Security . But , it is not a threat to national security prima facie. It depends upon type of communalism which is present
When large religious community tries to bring into it’s fold small communities
Eg : Hindu organisation projecting Tribals as Hindus
When religious community makes effort for welfare of the members of that community
Eg : Christian organisations doing welfare work for Christians
When the religious community forbid their members from participating in political affairs
Eg : Bahi Community
When members of the religious communities are made to believe that their interests are mutually antagonist to interests of other religious communities
Eg : Hindu-Muslim community
When based on religious identities , people demand a separate state within the federal framework
Eg : Punjabi Suba
When based on religious identities , people demand secession
Eg : Khalistan
Last three are threat to national integration but first three arent . Hence, we cant say communalism is always threat to national integration.
Characteristics of Communalism
Communalism is an ideological concept.
It is total commitment to a set of beliefs & unwillingness to accept other beliefs
It mostly rests on prejudices.
It close the self and is highly emotional
It causes rivalry and violence among masses.
It is used by the higher class people and elites as an instrument for division and exploitation.
It strikes at the roots of secularism and national integration.
Evolution of Communalism in India
The genesis of communalism in India can be traced back to the British rule
With the emergence of secular education, new educated middle class emerged . But the aspirations of the middle class were not getting satisfied in the absence of adequate economic opportunities. Communal Politics emerged to get largest pie .
Socio-economic classes coincided with religious distinctions. Eg :
Hindu Zamindars vs Muslim peasants in Bengal, Kerala etc
Divide and Rule Policy of Britishers : To counter the growing national movement
However, the overthrow of colonial state was only the necessary condition to fight the menace of communalism but not sufficient condition . There were other forces at play too. Even in post-independence period , Government failed to control communalism.
Causes of Communalism
Failing of Minorities to integrate in Mainstream
Muslims failed to intermix in the national mainstream and insist to sustain separate identity.
Vote Bank Politics
Various religion base parties use Communalism to consolidate their vote banks
Communal way of History writing
British historian like James Mill described ancient period as the Hindu period and medieval period as the Muslim period
If certain religious community is economically weak => feeling of relative deprivation => rise of communalism
Absence of Uniform Code
In absence of Uniform civil code, there is perception that all communities have divergent and contradictory interests.
Hindu groups consider that the Muslims are crusaders , fundamentalists and unpatriotic.
On the other hand, the Muslims believe that they are treated as inferior group in India .
Politics of Appeasement
Political parties try to appease communities for votes. Eg : Shah Bano Case . This promote Communalism
Provocation of Enemy Countries
Eg : Pakistan foster Communal feelings especially in Kashmiri Muslim Youth
Problems in State Machinery to fight Communalism
National human rights commission (NHRC) fights for communal violence related causes . But it’s recommendations are advisory in nature
Various commissions have given suggestions to solve the issue of communal violence. Prominent among them are SACHAR COMMITTEE and RANGANATH MISHRA COMMISSION.
Sachar committee (2010) : set up Equal opportunity commission (EOC)
Ranganath Misra Commission : recommended reservation for minorities
No Special Act dealing with Communal Violence and targetted violence. It was also held in Sajjan Kumar vs State (2018)
Role of police in communal riots is highly controversial. This is further aggravated by large scale concentration of dominant caste in police .
Impact of Communalism
Organisation of Political parties on Communal Basis
Voting on Communal Basis
Large scale riots near elections to polarize votes
Created wide rift among the people
Hampers unity of nation and creates various sub-national feelings
Curbing of Progressive voices . Eg Voices for abolition of Triple Talaq is being opposed
Vandalisation of public property like burning of buses, trains etc
Badly impacts the investors confidence
Ways to eradicate Communalism:
Balanced and job intensive economic development
Equal Opportunities commission should be formed .
Going towards Uniform civil code
Zero Tolerance toward riots .
Avoid communalisation of politics.
Promote Indian ideology of Vasudeva Kutumbakam ie whole world is a family ie universal brotherhood.
This article deals with topic titled ‘Safety of Women at Workplace.’
Note – This article is part of our series on Society for UPSC examination. For more articles, click here.
According to NSSO Data, Women’s workforce participation has decreased to 21% ( one of the lowest in the world ) .
Initiatives taken so far
Vishakha Guidelines by Supreme Court in 1997
Protection of Woman from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act based on Vishaka Judgement
She Box Portal to enable woman employees to file harassment complaints at workplace
Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2012
It defines sexual harassment as laid down by SC in Vishaka case.
It puts the legal responsibility on the employer to provide a safe & conducive environment for the woman worker.
Formation of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) or, in case of unorganised sector , formation of 5 member Local Complaint Committee under the supervision of District Collector.
Those who donot comply with the Act’s provisions will be fined up to Rs 50,000.
2015 study : 36% of Indian companies have not constituted ICC
Non inclusion of the armed forces and all paramilitary forces within its purview.
If a complaint is found to be “malicious” , she is liable for punishment. This will discourage victims
Limited time period of 90 days to file complaint
Provide security to only women and not men
Punishment for misconduct is as per the service rules of the employer ( if it exists), else as per the rules of the act. The Act is, however, silent on the situation where employers’ service rule contains less stringent punishment provisions.
#MeToo Campaign : Large number of women came forward to share their old experience of harassment at workplace by men in power
Domestic Violence has been modified – it includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse that is physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic and further harassment by way of unlawful dowry demands to the woman or her relatives.
Widened the scope of the term WOMEN – Act now covers “live- in partners”, wives, sisters, widows, mothers, single women, divorced women
Right to Secure Housing i.e. right to reside in the matrimonial or shared household, whether or not she has any title or rights in the household.
Principal of Locus Standi doesn’t apply
For women who prefer not to stay in the shared household, state needs to create shelter homes.
First hearing within 3 days after receiving application and dispose the case in 60 days.
Protection Officers to provide assistance to woman for medical examination, legal aid etc
Act has a provision of upto 1 year imprisonment
Negative points / Lacunae
Madras High Court Bench observed – it can be misused by the women to file frivolous cases
A man can be booked under the Domestic Violence act even if women feel that she has been mentally harassed and verbally abused. But these terms are subjective
Conviction rate is very low (3%) .
Marital rape is not included
No provision of online filing of cases
Number of protection officers appointed in state is inadequate
Recent Judgement making it Gender Neutral
Supreme Court has laid down that a woman can also file a complaint against another woman, accusing her of domestic violence.
Reasoning of Court
Since the perpetrators and abettors of domestic violence can also be women, insulating them would frustrate the objectives of the Act. Under this immunity, females and minors can continue to commit domestic violence.
It discriminates between persons similarly situated and, thus, violates Article 14 of the Constitution.
Significance of the Change
It makes Domestic Violence gender neutral
However, there are concerns that it would encourage husbands to file counter cases against their wives through their mothers or sisters.
In this article, we will discuss Concept of Gender and Women Movements.
Note: This is part of our series on ‘Society’ for UPSC examination. For more articles, you can click here.
Concept of Gender?
It is a social construct . Men and women are biologically different, but when due to that biological difference both have different access to resources (education, employment, political participation etc)
Gender manifest itself at three levels
Identity Level : Male or Female
Cultural Level : Masculinity and Femininity
Structural Level : women confined to domestic sphere and males working outside
Impact of gender stereotyping on position of woman / Impact of Patriarchal Mindset on woman
Domestic Division of Labour : Household work reserved for women
Pink Collared Jobs : Teaching, Nursing , Air Hostess etc reserved for them
Glass Ceiling : Women stereotyped to be emotional – higher levels jobs of decision making denied to them
Violence against woman
Woman Labour Force Participation : 27%
Global Wage Report : indian Woman are paid 30% lesser than males for same job
Global Gender Gap Report 2018 (by World Economic Forum) : India ranked 108
Movement for Women’s welfare & Security
Feminist activism in India gained momentum in the late 1970s.
Towards Equality Approach (Women in Development to Women and Development)
Mathura Rape Case : brought women’s groups together for first time. Reason was acquittal of policemen accused of raping a young girl in a police station leading to country-wide protests in 1979-1980 which forced Government to create a new offence, custodial rape.
Alcoholism (Anti Arak Movement) : alcoholism => violence against women . Women groups launched anti-liquor campaigns in AP, HP, Haryana, Odisha, MP etc
Triple Talaq : Started in Shah Bano Case & culminated with Shyara Bano case in SC
Bhanwari Devi Gangrape Case (1992) : Bhanwari Devi was a Saathin in Rajasthan with job of raising consciousness in her village about child marriage, dowry etc. Her efforts wrt Child Marriage was resented by men of dominant caste and she was brutally gangraped . NGO named Vishakha filed Case in SC culminating in Vishakha Guidelines
In 1990s, grants from foreign donor agencies enabled the formation of new women-oriented NGOs like Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) which have played a major role in the advancement of women’s rights
SHGs were key instruments in women’s empowerment .
10-20 rural women from the same village , mostly poor , come together to contribute fortnightly or monthly dues as savings and provide group loans to the members
Journals devoted to promote women’s equality in various languages started to come up to raise women issues
‘Pinjra Tod’ : fighting against the discriminatory rules in colleges and university hostels against girls
Temple Entry Movement : At Sabrimala , Shani Shignapur etc.
#MeeToo Movement : Metoo Movement started in US and came to India where women named powerful men who have sexually assaulted their colleagues at workplace. This movement showed that Balance of Power at workplace is skewed in favour of perpetrators of sexual harassment