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I am author of the books Political Internet(Routledge, 2017), Intimate Speakers ( Fingerprint! 2017), has finished the typescript of three books—first, on Internet and sexuality; second, on the negative impacts of social media; and third, a novel—and is presently working on a narrative non-fiction with the working title Lovescape: Why India is afraid of love.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Regionalism in Indian politics (Lecture Points for III B A)


To define the diversity of India, poet and critic A. K. Ramanujan once cited the instance of what the Irishman had said about trousers. On the question of whether the trousers were singular or plural, he said, “Singular at the top and plural at the bottom”. Historian Sunil Khilnani, the well-known author of The Idea of India, disputes the view, saying Indian nationalism even before independence was plural at the top: “a dhoti with endless folds”. Given dhoti’s popularity as a pan-Indian traditional garment, the idea sounds remarkable as an emblematic projection of the country’s diversity. Since independence, a major concern in the nation-building exercise of New Delhi could be to keep hold of the dhoti, ostensibly a much looser wear than well-belted trousers.

His 1991 essay "Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translations" courted controversy over its inclusion in B.A. in History syllabus of University of Delhi in 2006. In this essay, he wrote of the existence of many versions of Ramayana and a few versions portrayed Rama and Sita as siblings, which contradicts the popular versions of the Ramayana, such as those by Valmiki and Tulsidas

I just want to quote an example over here, when the Telengana agitation was at its peaks; people broke the signboards of the Andhra bank and destroyed the furniture of the same bank just because it is bearing the name ‘Andhra’. We are immune to Royal bank of Scotland or Citi bank but we are not able to tolerate the name of Andhra.

Have you ever asked anybody this question, “Where are you from”? Well, the answer would be the obvious one, ‘I’m from this state or from this place’; it is near to impossible to expect an answer ‘I am from India’. Yeah, I do agree that we are not on some foreign land to give such a weird answer. However, what I was trying to convey is we are suffering more from regionalism over nationalism. North Indian people hate south Indians, south Indian people look down at East Indian people, more funnily, and Most of the East Indian fellows do not even know there is such thing called India exists. I do not blame Brits for dividing and ruling us, coz, we were never been united apart from that independence movement, thanks to Brits. We have been fragmented from the times of kings and kingdoms to the times of states and territories.

All the Indians will be united only in two occasions,
1. When India plays cricket with Pak and
2. When Pak declares a war on India. 

Following are the main reasons, which give rise to the feeling of regionalism in politics:

1. Demand for separate states.
2. Interstate disputes among states.
3. Demand for autonomy by some regional communities.
4. Feeling of distinctions between North and South India.
5. Language controversy and politics of language.
6. Discriminatory treatment of States by the central government on political grounds.
7. Tendency of separateness in the Union of India.
8. Emergence of regional political parties and their preference for regional issues and identities.
9. The role of neighbouring countries in inciting regional feelings in certain parts of the country.

There is a reason why Tagore had prayed, ‘God! Let my country awake where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls’, he had foreseen the future. We have Bengalis, we have Tamilians, we have Marathis and Marwadis, but we do not have Indians. That is the basic problem with Indians; our blood has filled with regionalism over nationalism. 

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