Regionalism is the expression of a common sense of identity and purpose by people within a specific geographical region, united by its unique language, culture, language, etc.
In a positive sense, it encourages people to develop a sense of brotherhood and oneness which seeks to protect the interests of a particular region and promotes the welfare and development of the state and its people.
In the negative sense, it implies excessive attachment to one’s region which is a great threat to the unity and integrity of the country.
Threat generated due to regionalism:
- Parochial regionalism poses a threat to the sovereignty of the nation.
- The anti-migrant or anti-Bihari stance of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) which opposes the employment and residence of non-Maharashtrian people in the state of Maharashtra is a prime example of negative regionalism.
- Regionalism beyond a point can lead to secessionism, such as strong regionalism in Punjab ultimately resulted in the growth of Khalistani terrorism.
- Regionalism often promotes Vote- Bank politics, thereby weakens the national integration.
- Regionalism can weaken the time tested fabric of ‘Unity in Diversity’, if promoted in an ultra manner.
- Positive regionalism promotes a sense of pride in connecting to one’s roots and culture.
- It has been noticed that often regional movements have helped the art and culture of many neglected regions to flourish by increasing their exposure through local emphasis.
- Therefore, in principle, regionalism need not be regarded as an unhealthy or anti-national phenomenon, unless it takes a militant, aggressive turn to encourage the growth of secessionist tendencies.