While on one hand regionalism acts as a threat to national integrity, on the other hand it is also an efficient tool for increasing political participation. Analyse.
Regionalism is the natural affinity of people towards their region, culture and efforts to strive for its betterment. It has both positive and negative effects on the society.
Regionalism as threat to National Integrity:
- Regionalism can be transformed into aggressive chauvinistic sub-nationalism.
- Most cited example is of Sri Lanka with LTTE (Tamil secession movement).
- Division of Pakistan (1971 Bangladesh Liberation) is the result of regionalism.
- Reduces natural cohesion and psychic unity of people. E.g. Balkanization of former Yugoslavia, despite similar race.
- Conflict in division of resources like water, etc.
Regionalism as a tool for political participation:
- Rise of electoral federalism, especially in state legislative elections vs parliament elections.
- Promote competition between states in terms of attracting funds and investment. E.g. Some analyst claim that regionalism has led to better political decision in southern states compared to northern states.
- Higher voter turnout in north eastern states.
- Jharkhand, Telangana state agitation.
Thus, regionalism is inherent in diverse nationalism. Genuine region-specific demands needs to be addressed to prevent it from becoming aggressive and getting transformed into sub-nationalism.