IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 17th Sep 2020
You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.– Charles Buxton
EDITORIAL HUNT #142 :“The Crisis of Federalism | UPSC“
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
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Federalism
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
BEING LINGUISTICALLY FEDERAL
- 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.
- 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.
STATES AS EQUALS
- BENEFITS : This coalescent nationalism has served India well, benefiting several groups in India.
- 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