Ques. Has the formation of Linguistic states, strengthened the cause of Indian unity?
- At the time of Independence, India was fragmented into 543 princely states and provinces of British Indian states and right after the succession of principalities into the Indian Union, the question of the criteria of integrating these kingdoms and provinces into feasible administrative units came up.
- The idea of reorganising the states on the basis of linguistic criteria was rejected by Dhar Commission and then JVP commission, however in 1953, States Reorganisation Commission (Fazl Ali Commission), allowed the linguistic criteria in principle, while giving primacy to administrative convenience.
- On Critical Note, the formation of linguistic states has acted both in favour and against the cause of Indian Unity as follows –
- It ended the ever-growing tendencies and growing centrifugal pressure that might had balkanised the country on the basis of language.
- Led to development of vernacular languages and imparting of education in local languages, thus overall facilitating the literacy rate of the country, and an educated citizen is always a better citizen.
- Led to fulfilment of aspirations of people to have autonomous political units for governance therefore strengthening the unity of the country.
- Enabled the preservation of local customs, culture, and festivals. Over time, the people of India have come to cherish the myriad customs of different states.
- On the other side of the coin, it has led to –
- Rise of Regionalism – Linguistic states have strengthened the political narrative of certain sections that allowed them to propagate regionalism, thus promoting the sense of separate identity against the unity and integraity of the nation.
- Rise in the number of interstate disputes – Today Language has become an issue of dispute between states, Linguistic minorities have been considered alien and their rights are being suppressed. Infighting takes place between sections of people on the issue of language and core of Indian unity becomes endangered.
- Since language has played both the roles of being for and against the unity of the nation, therefore need of the hour today, is to play a fine balance between the centripetal and centrifugal forces of unity and at the same time balancing the centralising features of unity with the decentralised virtue of Indian federalism .