The Himalayas in the north, Kanyakumari in the south and the Arabian Sea in the west, extending from the East to the Bay of Bengal are the wetlands of diversity. Vincent Smith described India as a land of ‘unity in diversity’. We know that India is a land of the geographical diversity of hills and rivers, deserts, forests and fertile plains. It is a multi-racial and multi-lingual country of mixed type of population. But in spite of having so many languages, culture, races and religions there is an undercurrent of unity through the common joys and sorrows and struggles of the life of people. Great religious Preachers have preached the Indian people to imbibe the spirit of brother showed from time immemorial. It is this spirit of oneness that makes the very basis of national integration. But the foreign rulers followed the policy of Divide and Rule and had sown the seeds of discord.
The separatist tendencies are very active at present and the unity of the country is in peril, Political linguistic and religious fanaticism threaten to destroy the unity of our country. There is the barrier between the rich and the poor, the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. The question of boundaries of States, distribution of river water and economic disparity continues to strain relations between the States. Then there is the problem of the terrorist activities. So there is the problem of the Naga and the Mizo rebels and the problems of the Gorkhaland and Kamtapuri issues which are cruel blows to national integration. The situation in Assam, Jammu and Kashmir Is alarming. The ULFA and the rebels in Kashmir are throwing a challenge to the unity of our nation.
Communalism is being aggravated at the same time. The Ram Janmabhumi-Babri Maszid debate has added to the gravity of the situation. Which was resolved by the court in 2019 AD? But at present, communalism has taken an extreme shape. Different media in India have always been at odds between Hindus and Muslims. For this, the present government is directly involved. The reservation policy for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribes and backward classes has added flame to the fire for narrow political gains. Thus the disruptive forces of casteism, communalism, inter-State differences and parochialism have begun to raise their ugly heads to threaten the country’s unity. And in such a situation we must note that diversity in language, culture, religion etc. should be preserved, but not at the cost of our national unity.
Since Independence, the Government of India has been adopting a number of steps to encourage national integration in our country. But not by passing laws only. but by social mixing and mutual understanding, we may ensure our national integration to a greater extent. At the government level, it should be obligatory for the personnel of the All India services to learn at least one language of a State other than that to which they may belong. Through the various media of mass education like the radio, the cinema, the television. the Press, and above all, by spreading literacy We can awake consciousness for the spirit of integration among the People. The Work must be begun at the grass-root levels. Let us learn from the history of nations that teaches us—’United we stand, divided we fall.’