IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 17th Sep 2020

You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.– Charles Buxton

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #142 :“The Crisis of Federalism | UPSC

The Crisis of Federalism | UPSC

Rajeev Bhargava
The Crisis of Federalism | UPSC

Rajeev Bhargava is Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi


Nationalism and the crisis of federalism


Unless the attack on coalescent, democratic nationalism is curbed, cracks might appear in a distinctive Indian project



Federalism can function only in the hands of those with a grasp of India’s democratic nationalism. Substantiate -(GS 2)


  • GST and shortfall
  • Different types of nationalism
  • Linguistic federalism.


Several Chief Ministers have recently complained about the growing crisis of Indian federalism.

  • SHORTFALL : The state is backing out of its legal commitment to compensate for Goods and Services Tax (GST) shortfall.
  • UNDERSTANDING : A deeper problem lies in a flawed understanding of nationalism .




Two broad conceptions of nationalism developed in the subcontinent before India achieved Independence.

  • CULTURAL NATIONALISM : The first, the idea that a community with a strongly unified culture must have a single state of its own, bifurcated into two nationalisms.
  • ETHNO-RELIGIOUS NATIONALISM : One defined culture in ethno-religious terms and was articulated by the curiously similar Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League.

The nation as defined by a common culture whose adherents must have a state of their own.

  • But this common culture was not ethno-religious.


  • DISTINCT NATIONALISM : A third nationalism accepts that communities nourished by distinct, territorially concentrated regional cultures have the capacity to design states of their own.
  • CONSOLIDATION : Indeed, they build on this shared culture and come together to consolidate the nation.

COALESCENT NATIONALISM : The above consolidation may be called a coalescent nationalism consistent with a fairly strong linguistic federalism.

  • MULTI-NATIONAL STATE : At best, it is a multi-national state without labels, one that does not call itself so; a self-effacing multi-national state.


  • REJECTED NATIONALISM : After Partition, India rejected ethno-religious nationalism but its ruling elites, obsessed about the dangers of further fragmentation.
  • REASON : Second, like religious identities, it might ‘freeze’ linguistic identities and increase the likelihood of inter-ethnic violence, encourage separatism and eventually lead to India’s break up.

OFFICIAL IDEOLOGY : Thus, when the Constitution came into force in 1950, India adopted unitary, civic nationalism as its official ideology.

  • MINDSETS : A unitary mindset shaped by the experience of a centralised colonial state was resurrected .
  • MULTI-CULTURAL FEDERATION : Thus the idea of a coalescent nationalism with multi-cultural federation was lost forever.
  • LINGUISTIC COMMISSION : A special commission to examine this issue concluded that language-based provinces were ‘not in the larger interests of the Indian nation’.
  • LINGUISTIC GROUP : The committee argued that justice requires the creation of partially self-governing States that recognise all major linguistic groups.
  • LINGUISTIC DOMINATION : Besides, their creation improves administrative efficiency, deepens democracy, and alleviates anxieties of regional minorities induced by fear of linguistic domination.

      IASbhai Windup: 


  • BENEFITS : This coalescent nationalism has served India well, benefiting several groups in India.

True, it has not worked as well in India’s border areas such as the North-east and Kashmir.

  • SOLUTIONS : But their problems can only be resolved by deepening not abandoning coalescent nationalism.
  • EXPERIENCE : Whenever the State has been non-manipulative, treated politicians and people of regional States with respect, the entire polity works smoothly.
  • INSTABILITY : Whenever regions are treated disrespectfully, and norms of democratic functioning abandoned, then powerful, even violent, forces have been unleashed leading to grave instability.
       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | The Crisis of Federalism | UPSC


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