UPSC SOCIOLOGY MAINS SYLLABUS
Paper 2 – Section C – Social Change in India
(iv) Politics and Society:
(a) Nation, democracy and citizenship.
(b) Political parties, pressure groups , social and political elite.
(c) Regionalism and decentralization of power.
The movements for restructuring power relations among administrative units in an area within one or more states are also regional movements as they address regional grievances. These movements generally assume three forms: statehood movements, autonomy movements and secessionist movements. Statehood movements seek separate state consisting of a region from one or more existing states. Autonomy movements, like statehood movements also want administrative autonomy to run their affairs. Secessionist movements, unlike the statehood and autonomy movements seek to secede from the Union of India
and get a sovereign state.
REGIONAL MOVEMENTS AND REGION-STATE CONFLICT
Region-state conflict usually takes place in the institutional structure of state system, wherein a region questions the distributive policy of the state as discriminatory, exploitative and unfavourable to the overall well-being of the concerned regional community. It is from this perceived sense of deprivation, neglect and ‘internal colonialism’ that the people of a particular region organise themselves into a movement seeking in most of the cases separation from the existing state, or in select instances settling with some autonomy arrangements within the same state. Here, it may be contextually mentioned that in the federal-plural process of nation and state–building, it is the high degree of democratisation and competitive political mobilisation, which generally transform a territorially concentrated sociocultural group into a self-conscious political community, questioning the hegemony of dominant group (other regional community) in state apparatuses and policies, particularly those affecting its identity structure and developmental needs. Viewed in this perspective, regional movement appears to be non-centralist and self-determining and defining ideology of protest against hegemony of state power and dominant regional group.
MOVEMENTS IN 1950s and 1960s
In the 1950s, there were statehood demands based on language. The first linguistic state to be formed after in Impendence was Andhra State. It was formed on October 1, 1953 after the death of Potti Sriramulu due to fast which he had undertaken demanding creation of the state. Andhra State was formed of Telugu speaking districts of Madras State. In the pre-Independence period, in 1937 Orissa and
Sind were formed on the linguistic basis: in these examples the British has deviated from their usual formula of reorganization of provinces which was done on linguistic and military considerations. In the 1920s, even the Congress had established its provincial committees on the basis of language. But after Independence, the government was reluctant to reorganise states based on language. After the formation of Andhra State, the Government of India appointed in 1953 a commission known as State Reorganization Commission (SRC) under the chairmanship of Justice Fazal Ali. The SRC recommended that states could be reorganised on language basis. On the recommendations of SRC several states were reorganised were created on linguistic basis between 1956-1960.
MOVEMENTS FOR REORGANIZATION OF NORTHEAST STATES
In northeast India, there are two kinds of movements for reorganizations of power relations within the constitutional framework of India: one, the autonomy movement; two, and statehood movements. The SRC was against the idea of creating separate hill states out of Assam; it was felt that the reorganization of the regions would accentuat the process of isolation of the hill region which was initiated due to the colonial
policy of Inner Line Permit and demarcating “excluded” and “partially excluded” areas. Instead of creating separate states of the hill regions, it suggested that autonomy should be given to various cultural and linguistic groups.
Assam Accord in 1985 which brought the six-year anti-foreigner movement in Assam also elevated two union territories – Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram to the level of statehood. However, following the formation of these states over the years, the demands for separate states have not stopped. The post-Assam Accord period saw the intensification of demand for Bodoland, and for autonomy in KarbiAnlong district. There have also been movement for statehood in the areas where Bengali is spoken by majority of population. The Assam language bill of 1960, which provoked language riots in the 1960s boosted up
the demand. The Cachar State Reorganization Committee which was set up following the submission of the report of the SRC played main role in statehood demand for Bengali dominated areas: Purbanchal Pradesh.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO REGIONAL MOVEMENTS
State’s response to regional movements has been varying. We do not find any consistent policy in this regard. However, certain patterns and principles can be discerned in this regard. They are: (i) secessionist demand could not be conceded, rather, secessionism would be suppressed by all necessary means; (ii) central government would not concede those regional demands based exclusively upon religious differences; and (iii) the demands for the creation of separate linguistic would not be conceded unless such a demand is socially wide and economically viable.
Separatism is the advocacy of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental, or gender separation from the larger group. As with secession, separatism conventionally refers to full political separation. Groups simply seeking greater autonomy are not separatist as such.Some discourse settings equate separatism with religious segregation, racial segregation, or sex segregation, while other discourse settings take the broader view that separation by choice may serve useful purposes and is not the same as government-enforced segregation.