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REGIONALISM V. FEDERALISM


With the general elections for the Parliament round the corner, the mask of  “NATIONALISM” has given way to REGIONALISM. The Indian Nationalism was gradually crystallized in the concept of  FREEDOM FROM FOREIGN RULE. The only person who propelled this concept through his political actions was MAHATMA GANDHI. The Mahatma did not unite the present India alone, he united the present day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and galvanized it into a unit that threatened the might of the Imperial British through the tool of CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE astutely mixing it with Non-Violence. This had engendered a sense of Nationalism- a human emotion he stirred in the hearts of the INDIANS with the hope that we do not have to be under foreign rule, but can and should govern ourselves. All the territories  and peoples within the said larger India became a SINGLE UNIT.

But with this year’s RAILWAY BUDGET, Shri Lalu Prasad Yadav had asserted that REGIONALISM WAS THE FUTURE OF THE NATION.

What is surprising was that Shri. Lalu Prasad, who belongs to the state of Bihar and the erstwhile Jharkhand never had thought so earlier. He would even go to the extent of saying OVER MY DEAD BODY, if the formerly united state of Bihar were to be bifurcated! But after the truncation of Bihar he had reconciled to the status of Bihar being reduced to the parliamentary might of a state like Tamil Nadu. Bihar has 40 Lok Sabha seats and Tamil Nadu has 39, but Tamil Nadu has more Members of Parliament if one includes the Rajya Sabha seats.

What the states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra have stood for was not REGIONALISM but FEDERALISM. These two states did not build up parliamentary might thru aligning with other states on grounds of REGION, ETHINICITY, CASTE spread beyond its state geographical territories. These Presidencies were split up acceding to the aspirations of various LINGUISTIC and Cultural identities (like Gujrat, Andhra Pradesh…). But the statement of Lalu Yadav is the last desperate howl of the politician who has seen the rise of FEDERALISM over parochial REGIONALISM.

Earlier the Regionalism was not so obvious as the states of UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan were all under the kitty of one political party. No more. The people have been made aware of many hushed lies that were propagated to keep them tied to just one party. The State identities are yet to take shape under the umbrella of a legitimate IDEOLOGY/ASPIRATION of the state. In these states the unity is still based on caste identities with no Ideological Vanguard. It is the Ideology that legitimizes the aspirations of any party vis a vis the Constitution. Not a mere aspiration of promotion of a particular caste or religion.

FEDERALISM IS TO BE PROMOTED AGAINST THE BRAND OF REGIONALISM BEING PROPAGATED BY SOME POLITICIANS.

FEDERALISM is based on the STRUCTURE sanctified by the CONSTITUTION, whereas REGIONALISM is nothing but the ganging up of some states on certain parochial grounds such as caste, linguistic fraternity and fear of losing the dole received thru GOVERNMENTAL spending!!

The no of lok sabha seats are frozen as per the 1971 census, so that the states that have faithfully implemented family planning are not adversely affected. But when it comes to the allocation of the Central Revenues, it could be seen that the percentage of allocation is more or less approximating the percentage of population as it exists as per the latest census. Thereby in the name of SOCIALISM, the more populous states get more of the Governmental funds. These states live off the REVENUES of the states that are showing greater output plus tax compliant. The populous states are more on the Expenditure side than the Revenue side of the National Revenues. It is this privilege that some of the REGIONAL SATRAPS do not want to lose. The productive states are galloping ahead in Education, manufacturing, trade, commerce, infrastructure building, efficient tax collection etc. and the only way to counter is to build up the concept of REGIONALISM and grab more in the name of EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION!!!

I hope each state builds its own  state-wise priorities and fuel the growth on the directions possible.

LET US NOT FALL A VICTIM TO REGIONALISM IN THE GUISE OF FEDERALISM!!

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