Regional Consciousness increases the sense of identification with a particular geographical area in relation to National Identity.
Regionalism is an anti-thesis of Nationalism and refers to the lack of commonality of ideas and aspirations of different groups within the country.
Regional Consciousness is present in the structure of Indian society and geography. Several factors have contributed to the regional consciousness in India.
Factors Influencing Regional Consciousness in India
1. Human Diversity
a) Multi-Cultural Diversity
A Multi-cultural Society spread in a large geographic area is a favorable condition for the development of regional sentiments.
If multicultural groups are present in small countries, their frequent interaction does not allow for regionalism (This would reduce the appeal of group Identity and therefore, dilute the sense of regional consciousness) but India is a vast country so, definitely it becomes the problem.
b) Linguistic Diversity
Language as a cultural medium has been an important factor and has promoted regional consciousness in India. The splintered groups rely on language as a binding force, thus exerting regionalism.
2. Economic Roots of Regional Consciousness
The acute economic backwardness of some regions has favored regionalism as these groups see advantages to them by using primordial identities. For example, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, and Uttarakhand.
Economically prosperous states have developed a regional consciousness by refusing to share their resources with other states. For example, Punjab and Haryana.
3. Social Roots of Regional Consciousness
At the sociological level, an identity crisis has developed in the Indian society as medieval institutions and practices are increasingly being replaced by modern institutions and practices.
In these transitional societies, people rely on primordial identities such as caste, religion, language, race, and region to achieve emotional security.
4. Historical Factors
The colonial policy favored the division of India on multiple factors. Indian population was divided on caste, religion, language, region, etc.. British were successful in dividing regions on caste and religious considerations.
5. Geographical Factors
The physical geography of India has played a role in strengthening regional consciousness.
Few isolated and protected regions, such as the northeastern states of India have developed regional sentiments in mountainous terrain and geographical discontinuity with mainland India has promoted regional consciousness in these regions.
6. Political Factors
Some politico-administrative policies of Independent India have also strengthened regionalism. For example, Political parties used caste, religion, and the region to create vote-banks.
The Neglect of some regions by the political parties coming to power has also promoted regional consciousness in these regions (lack of political will to respond to the needs and aspirations of some regions within a state has promoted regional consciousness).