Regionalism has been an abiding factor in Indian polity, sometimes positive but mostly a negative one.In fact the growth of coalition politics which has become a predominant feature of our political system, owes its origin to regionalism.The increasing separatist politics in India including the demand for separate states also has much to do with such regionalization of the political system.
The plurality of language,religion,culture,social customs is the main factor behind the growth of regionalism in India.Diversity of India is proverbial.With over one billion population,twenty eight states, numerous tribes, languages and religions, the probability of socio cultural oneness in India is very thin.The general differences prevailing between the Norther, Eastern, Western or Southern states depicts such regionalism.Long term deprivation in terms of development ,too has attributed to its growth.The case of North Eastern part of India presents a perfect example of such kind of regionalism.Petty politics of some selfish political leaders to capture popular sentiments to entrench themselves is another factor behind the growth of regionalism.Moreover the flexibility of the Indian Constitution in creation of states and in provisions like the Sixth Schedule also helped in the growth of regionalism in India.
The consequences of regionalism in India has not always been positive.True it has resulted in the grievances of the underdeveloped regions or sections of the society being heard in much better way, but that the growth of secessionist trends is rooted in it can hardly be ignored.This has led to insurgency all over the nation with secessionists resorting to violence to secure their demand or making their grievances heard.
Moreover, it has made the political system more complex with the growth of regional politics.This has in turn made the political system unstable.External forces too have capitalized the regional sentiments in India to spread terrorism on our soil.Over the years occurrences of ethnic or communal clashes have increased.Not only that,the inter state clashes are taking place more frequently these days and the role of regionalism in such clashes can not be ruled out.The unfair treatment upon the outsiders in Maharashtra can be viewed as a classic example.
It is high time that we, the people understand the importance of national integrity.For a nation which is surrounded by as many as seven countries,unity and integrity are the most important factors for national security.But at the same time homogeneity of development must be ensured so that the genuine grievances of the people do not go unaddressed.