The Indians National Pledge History Essay
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Ideating about Indian Nationalism, reminds me vividly about who in school we recited daily the Indian Pledge in the early morning assembly. Ten years after having left school, I still remember it as precisely as I did then. The pledges were crafted in an effort to promote the feeling of patriotism and Indian National Integration among the citizens of India. Unfortunately, the message has yet not reached the people who need to be made aware about it and neither did it reach at the time, when it was most essential.
The disputes related to language, region, religion or other political or economic grievances still exist and they are Indians who resort to violent means to achieve their objective, thus challenging the peace and Integrity of India. India today is like a jig-saw puzzle, where the peaces no longer want to be together to complete the picture, or just don't want to be a part of the picture, thus giving a sense of incompleteness.stock-photo-india-map-rippled-flag-jigsaw-with-shadow-illustration-35056378.jpg
India Bonded Or India Bounded?
"India as an Idea" has always mainly been the Idea, the Dream, the Vision of its leaders and politicians. It's their ideas that have shaped the nation since the time of post-independence. These altering shapes have lead to the changes in the views or ideas about India amongst its people too. From "The land of beggars' and poor" to "The land of Ideas and The land with the youngest, educated population in the world", we have surely been evolving, steadily. We take pride in the Way "The Idea called India" has taken shape over the years, but want to hide "The flaws of The Idea", at the same time. The flaws that have always lead to the division of India- A Nation into multiple pieces, called states. Those flaws, that have always challenged the Unity amongst the people of India. Mr. Shashi Tharoor puts across the same view point beautifully :
India's founding fathers wrote a constitution for their dreams; we have given passports to their ideals. Today these ideals are contested by stone-throwing young men in the streets of Srinagar and rifle-wielding Maoists in the forests of Chhattisgarh.
The Republic of India is defined as a Democratic, Secular and a Federal Nation characterized by a union of partially self-governing States or regions United by a central (Federal) Government. The question that arises is,
"So are we a forcedly united nation?" OR "Are we naturally bonded or forcedly bounded country?" OR
"Is it true that only four key walls keep Indians together: Cricket, Bollywood, Terrorism and Politics?"
The Evolving Indian Map - A mirror to reality!
A Nations Flag and A Nations Map are the two most important identity symbols. The Map of India has undergone so many changes and transformation, and each time it has been cut into pieces either in the name of Governance Issues, Or issues of caste and religion.
First Cut: The Nation was first divided during Independence, although the entire nation fought unanimously.
The following images of the different Maps of India speak aloud about the Ever Evolving Boundary structures in India post Independence. It is a mirror to the changing imaginations of India's ever changing leaders and politicians.
The following is a detailed map of India before Partition
As seen in the above Map:1, India had consisted of only 12 main States and a certain number of Princely States (States not under the British rule), before Independence, under the British Rule.
Post-Independence in 1950, the Country was segmented further and various states were formed in the name of "better governance". The following are some of the major states created.
Andhra Pradesh: Created by the State of Andhra Pradesh Act, 1953 by carving out some areas from the State of Madras.
Gujarat and Maharashtra: The State of Bombay was divided into two States, i.e., Maharashtra and Gujarat by the Bombay (Reorganization) Act, 1960.
Kerala: Created by the State Reorganization Act, 1956. It comprised Travancor and Cochin areas.
Karnataka: Created from the Princely State of Mysore by the State Reorganization Act, 1956. It was renamed Karnataka in 1973. Etc.
The Adjacent Map:2 shows the changing face of India during the Partition movement. The arrows show the movement of Indians from one region to the other OR if it has to be rightly said, then, from one country to the other.
After some more changes, The Map of India took the following shape as shown in Map:3 in the period of 1990's.
After the year 2000, more states were introduced. And the Indian Map looked like Map:4 after the addition of states like: Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.india-map.gif
Thus, as reported by one of the English Newspapers,
Map: "The formation of states along linguistic and ethnic lines has occurred in India in numerous instances since independence in 1947. There have been demands, however, to form units within states based not only along linguistic, ethnic, and religious lines but also, in some cases, on a feeling of the distinctness of a geographical region and its culture and economic interests. The most volatile movements are those ongoing in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab . How the central government responds to these demands will be an area of scrutiny through the late 1990s and beyond. It is believed by some officials that conceding regional autonomy is less arduous and takes less time and fewer resources than does meeting agitation, violence, and demands for concessions." about-india_clip_image002.jpg
The following article cited from http://news.oneindia.in , was posted in 2009,
"After the Centre was coerced into giving approval for craving out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, many more similar demands are rising their heads threatening the integrity of the country. While the Home Ministry has its hands full with demands for at least nine more states from political organizations, activist groups and individuals, there are many more states being conceptualized, primarily based on linguistic barriers or allegations of neglect."The following diagram shows the list of "some" of the demands for new states.
Map 5 shows how congested the Indian Map look after the addition of the following states in near future:
Telangana 2. Harit Pradesh 3. Bundelkhand 4. Saurashtra 5. Coorg
Vidarbha 7. Poorvanchal 8. Maithalanchal 9. Greater Cooch Bihar 10. Ghorkhaland
Wonder, how many more divisions is Indian Map going to go through in the coming future. And we know that these divisions are not restricted to the Indian Map alone!
Nationalism and Counter-Nationalism
So what is Nationalism to us as Indians? As Mr. Shashi Tharoor has quoted in one of his books 'The Elephant in the Room':
"Indian nationalism was not based on any of the conventional indices of national identity. Not language, since our constitution now recognizes 23 official languages, and as many as 35 languages spoken by more than a million people each. Not ethnicity, since the "Indian" accommodates a diversity of racial types in which many Indians (Punjabis and Bengalis, in particular) have more ethnically in common with foreigners than with their other compatriots. Not religion, since India is a secular pluralist state that is home to every religion known to mankind. Not geography, since the natural geography of the subcontinent - framed by the mountains and the sea - was hacked by the partition of 1947. And not even territory, since, by law, anyone with one grandparent born in pre-partition India - outside the territorial boundaries of today's state - is eligible for citizenship. Indian nationalism has therefore always been the nationalism of an idea."
As confused is the definition of Nationalism in our country, so is the definition of Counter-Nationalism in India. An act of counter-nationalism is seen as an act threatening the Unity of the Nation. The acts of Communalism and Regionalism have always been taken as acts of counter-nationalism in India.
Our constitution declares India as a secular State but we are yet to establish a secular society. In the absence of appropriate adjustments, conflicts have always risen among the majorities and the minorities in India, resulting in violent outbursts and communal riots. Communalists use religion as a means to pursue their political ambitions. They try to promote the interest of their own religions community in a way that adversely affects the interests of those who do not hold the same religious beliefs. Thus, they promote intolerance against other religious faiths.
Regionalism, on the other hand, means excessive attachment for a particular religion or state as against the country as a whole. Such feelings may arise either due to the continuous neglect of a particular area by the government or it may arise because of increasing political awareness among the people of a particular area which was once backward. Regional feelings may give rise to the feelings of autonomy and this threatens the unity of the country. Regionalism was present in India since the pre-independence days when the Britishers were encouraging the people of different regions to think only about their regions.
The following can be the broad categories of major political issues that show anti-nationalism:
Communities demanding autonomous states within the Indian Union
Communities demanding independence from India.
Based on these broad categories, the following are the various issues or cases of communalism or regionalism faced by India:
The analysis of some of these cases in brief is given below. All these analysis point to the important & influential roles played by the leaders or the politicians of their respective regions and the increase in the number of counter-nationalism incidences. It's either the people's will to keep the nation united or their will for achieving their own self interests and motives that has lead to these events..
The Case of Pakistan: Could it be prevented?
A separate nation today, the area of land called Pakistan was a part of India before the independence period. The fight for independence was fought together by the Hindus and the Muslims, the most important difference between India and Pakistan today is that where Pakistan is a one culture, one religion (Muslim) country, India is a Secular Nation with multi-cultures and multi-religions.
Many explanations were given and are still being given for the Partition. The main reason that lead to the formation of the Pakistan Movement was that, the minority group of muslins in certain provinces faced social and political marginalization. It is also said that the partition happened as we all know because of the divide and rule policy of Britishers. Muslim league was not given enough representation in the national congress that time and they were disappointed. Britishers exploited this and infuriated hatred between hindus and muslims and we all know what happened next.
Dr. Ambedkar's book on Pakistan entitled Pakistan or Partition of India is a great piece of work and gives quite a few answers to the questions related to the Partition. Dr. Ambedkar has divided his above book into five parts. The first part deals with "Muslim case for Pakistan". Second part deals with "Hindu case for Pakistan". Third part talks about "What If Not Pakistan". Part four deals with "Pakistan and the Malaise" and part fifth discusses with issues like "Must There be Pakistan", "The Problem of Pakistan" and "Who can Decide?"
It is interesting to note here that Dr. Ambedkar maintains in the third section, chapter VII that "Strange as it may appear Mr. Savarkar and Mr. Jinnah instead of being opposed to each other on the one nation versus two nations issue are in complete agreement about it. Both agree, not only agree but insist that there are two nations in India - one the Muslim nation and the other the Hindu nation." Further he says, "They differ only as regards the terms and conditions on which the two nations should be. Jinnah says India should be cut up into two, Pakistan and Hindustan, the Muslim nation to occupy Pakistan and the Hindu nation to occupy Hindustan. Mr. Savarkar on the other hand insists that, although there are two nations in India, India shall not be divided into two parts, one for the Muslims and the other for Hindus; that the two nations shall dwell in one country and shall live under the mantle of one single constitution: that the constitution shall be such that the Hindu nation will be enabled to occupy a predominant position that is due to it and the Muslim nation to made to live in the position of subordinate co-operation with the Hindu nation."
It is very clear from the Book that Dr. Ambedkar was certainly not anti-Muslim nor in the favor of Pakistan. He just wanted a solution to the minority problem in India. Dr. Ambedkar was also convinced that "..Mr. Jinnah is the one person who has all the chances of success on his side if he had tried to form such a united no-communal party. He has ability to organize. He had the reputation of a nationalist."
The book again emphasizes the important roles played by the politicians or the Leaders of both the sides during the partition and that if only the leaders had wanted or envisioned the Hindus and the Muslims as being together, and had they worked in that direction, the partition could have been prevented. There have also been many stories, proving time and again, that the local people never wanted the partition and they have just been mere puppets at the hands of their leaders or Politicians.
The Issue of Naxalites: Failure of Political leadership
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh turned heads recently by calling the Naxalites, "The single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country." Naxalte insurgency.
"India has failed to rein in the Maoists simply because there are no quick-fix solutions to the problems arising out of [bad governance],"says Suhas Chakma,the director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) Delhi.
Hardest hit in this conflict are poor, tribal residents of rural villages like Ulgara, a hamlet in the rural interior of Jharkhand state. Naxalites pass through often, stopping sometimes to demand food, which villagers quietly admit they give out of fear. Five years ago, in the wee hours of the night, nearly 100 guerrillas attacked the village, torching 19-year-old Rakesh Kumar's house. His father was shot and his family beaten.
Recent reports suggest that this rural insurgency is slowly, yet inexorably, spreading into four more states, with what analysts see is a long-term plan to extend their red corridor - called the "Compact Revolutionary Zone" - throughout India. Their ultimate stated goal is to capture India's cities and overthrow Parliament. In an interview last year with The Telegraph newspaper, a national daily, a member of the Maoist Central Committee named "Comrade Dhruba" said, "Our mass base is getting ready. After five years, we will launch our strikes."
The Red CorridorThe Naxalites are sustained in their jungle war with the help of leaders who run underground front organizations in the cities - which operate despite being banned. These leaders provide strategic assistance, mobilize Naxalite sympathizers, and instigate such demonstrations.
"We're not not terrorists," says one such front organization leader.naxalite_map_india.gif
"We're fighting a people's war. We want the proletariat to rule, not imperialistic governments."
The insurgency started as a peasant rebellion in the eastern Indian village of Naxalbari in 1967 and has currently spread to a large swath in the central and eastern parts of the country.
The Naxalite movement started when a militant section of CPI(M) led by Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal attacked the police on 25 May 1967 in Naxalbari village in North Bengal after a farmer was killed over a land dispute. The same year the Naxalites organised the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR), and later broke away from CPI(M). In the 2000s there were peace talks with the state government of Andhra Pradesh but with not much positive outcome.
The Indian government's Home Secretary G K Pillai has said that he recognises that there are legitimate grievances regarding local people's access to forest land and produce and the distribution of benefits from mining and hydro power developments, but claims that the Naxalites' long-term goal is to establish an Indian Marxisis state. The Home Secretary stated that the government had decided to tackle the Naxalites head-on, and take back much of the lost areas.
The tensions in Mumbai: Politics of Regionalism in India
If people like Raj Thackery had their own way, Marathi Manoos will live in Mumbai, Gujaratis will live in Gujarat, Tamilians in Tamil Nadu and Bhaiyyas in Uttar Pradesh and so on. Visas will be issued for people of one state to visit another state. Even our armed forces will refuse to serve outside their native state.
Educated people like Raj Thackeray believe that throwing outsiders from every state will solve the country's problem.
The Constitution of India entitles every Indian an equal right to live and work in any part of the country he resides in. The media is to be blamed for hyping such leaders and bringing them fame. The government and the police are also to blame for their inaction and their inability to respond to the law and order situation quickly. If the Tamilians or the Bhaiyyas succeed in Mumbai, it is due to their merits and ability. And the local Maharashtrians really have no problem with them.
Raj Thackeray by choosing an aggressive anti-North stand has incurred the wrath of all the respectable Mumbaikars. Violence against the common man can never be used as a tool to settle political battles. Unfortunately, the ruling government was sleeping, law and order was non-existent and the parties like the Samajwadi Party and the likes of Abu Azmi added fuel to the fire.
Mumbai has always been a cosmopolitan city encompassing several communities. Its very identity has been shaped by such cosmopolitan culture. The Migrants have always been coming to Mumbai from outside Mumbai and from outside states and have always strengthened the city rather than destroying it. In fact the city would be non-existant without migrants.
The problem is that parties like Shiv Sena and now the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena!! could not create their vote base consistently in this city due to this migrant population. Hence, they always try to find any opportunity to take potshots at these migrants as the reason for all the ills in the city.
'Mumbai Kisi Ka Baap Ka Nahin' rightly thundered Joint Commissioner of Police Shri K.L. Prasad.
The neglected plight of North-eastern India
The Northeast region of India comprising of eight states - Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura and Sikkim- a region poorly connected to the Indian mainland by a small corridor, and surrounded by many countries such as Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and China, is the setting for a multitude of conflict that undermines the idea of India as a prosperous and functioning democracy. northeastindia-map.jpg
For instance, the Naga insurgence, which started in the 1950s, known as the mother of the Northeast insurgencies, is one of the oldest unresolved armed conflicts in the world. The reasons for the respective conflicts are wide ranging from separatist movements, to inter-community, communal and inter-ethnic conflicts.
The people of the Northeast were not involved in the struggle for India's independence. Hence, their allegiance to the newly formed Indian nation-state was lacking from the beginning - accentuated by the creation of East Pakistan (today's Bangladesh) - which meant the loss of a major chunk of the physical connection between mainland India and Northeast India. Interestingly, 99 percent of the Northeast's boundaries is international and only one percent is domestic boundary.
The Indian government's past and ongoing processes of national integration, state-building and democratic consolidation have further aggravated the conflict scenario in the region. For instance, the eight states comprising the Northeast is populated by nearly 40 million inhabitants who vary in language, race, tribe, caste, religion, and regional heritage. Therefore, most often, the clubbing of all these states under the tag of 'northeast' has tended to have a homogenizing effect with its own set of implications for policy formulation and implementation; not to mention local aversion to such a construct.
Though the conflict in the region is mired with complex political-economic issues, such as, struggle over natural resources, migration related issues, displacement, social exclusion, and so on, according to Dr Clemens Spiess, "the politics of identity lie at the heart of the bigger part of the current conflict constellations in the Northeast".
To conclude,in the words of Clemens Spiess, the various problems and conflict constellations in the Northeast "represent(s) durable challenges to the integrative and accommodative capacity of Indian democracy".
Jammu & Kashmir: A problem with no solution?
Headlines in a local newspaper reported as below:CIA_INDIA_MAP.gifBBC_PAK_MAP.gif
"Anti-India agencies, CIA, CNN & BBC chopped off Kashmir from map of India! "
On 26th Oct, 2010, All the leading Newspapers and News channels of the country covered and telecasted the remarks about Kashmir by the great Indian writer, Arundhati Roy, and the following reactions by other people .
"As the authorities mull filing a criminal case against them, a senior Union minister today slammed Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and writer Arundhati Roy for backing Kashmir's independence while the BJP demanded that the two be arrested on sedition charges.
A defiant Roy justified her support for 'azadi' for Kashmir, saying she only spoke what "millions of people" in Kashmir say everyday for years.
Roy was speaking at a seminar on the theme 'Wither Kashmir: Freedom or enslavement' organised by Coalition of Civil Societies (CCS) here.
"Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is an historical fact. Even the Indian Government has accepted this," the Booker Prize winner said."
The independent India was born with the problem of J&K. Like a new born child born with whole in the heart.
Yes, J&K has always been termed as the heart of the nation, and there are people who want to prove, after 60+ long years, that Kashmir was never an integral part of India, and that it must be set free! The statement could be extremely accurate; however, not all Indians can accept the truth and the reality, least of all the local politicians.
Hardly anyone would bother to consider what the local people want? What the local people think about it? Peace would be all that the people of Kashmir be looking forward to, and not the tag of an Independent Kashmir or Pakistani Kashmir or Indian Kashmir!
The Politics of Religion: The Muslim Indiansmap_muslim_india_2003.gif
The adjacent Map explains in detail about the biggest divide in our country. That of Hindus VS Muslims An old example of problems created by dividing the people based on religion and caste. Again a problem with no solution and the one effecting the local innocent people directly.
Imagining the future INDIA
In the light of so many issues faced by India, it's scary to imagine what India would look like in another 50 years. Would the Independent India after 100 years of its Independence be a broken Nation? A nation bandaged and healed or yet cut and wounded? The leaders that fought to get India its Independence would have never imagined India to be in the state it is today. Did we take our Independence for granted? Are we misusing the rights that India as a Federal, Democratic and a secular Country is providing us? What is the nation that we are building for our future generations?
It is only when all the Indians realize the importance of being an Indian, truly mean the words of the Indian Pledge and genuinely feel patriotic towards the nation, that India will be able to achieve its goals and become a peaceful nation with no forces required to stay united.
Thus, India today is definitely an evolving idea of yesterday held together by brittle threads and sustained by political, social, economical and technological will , however, working for a better tomorrow where India aspires to be held, instead, by strong threads of National Integration, Patriotism and unbreakable Unity in Diversity.
The following verses by Rabindranath Tagore complement the Vision or Idea for future of India articulately:
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.
Where knowledge is free.
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls.
Where words come out from the depth of truth.
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection.
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.
Where the mind is led forward by Thee
Into ever-widening thought and action.
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country be
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