[Solved] In the context of the diversity of India, can it be said that the regions form cultural units rather than the States? Give reasons with examples for your viewpoint. ( UPSC GS-1 Mains 2017)
The Indian nation-state is socially and culturally one of the most diverse countries of the world. The billionplus people speak about hundreds of different languages and dialects. Language coupled with regional and tribal identity and other factors such as food habits have therefore provided the most powerful instrument for the formation of ethno-national identity in India
Regions as cultural units:
• India can be divided among may major regions, such as southern peninsular India, gangetic belt in north India, western India, North-east of India. While states have been redrawn several times as per popular demand and administrative convenience, regions can’t be predetermined as per wish of people and government and it takes a very long time to introduce new regional identity.
• For example, the region of chota-Nagpur has been divided among various states in past, such as MP, Bihar and Bengal and Orrisa. However, the people in this region always found more affinitywith people of their region even in other states than the people outside their region within their state. This was also the reason, two new states were carved out in that region.
• Thus, in the creation of three new states in 2000, namely Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal and Jharkhand, language did not play a prominent role. Rather, a combination of ethnicity based on tribal identity, language, regional deprivation and ecology provided the basis for intense regionalism resulting in statehood.
• With respect to food despite diversity clearly visible dishes are regionally dominated like south Indian delicacies like Dosa, Idli are part of not just a particular state but southern region as a whole.
• Despite Delhi being separate political entity along with NCR which is from a different state across it becomes a cosmopolitan cultural region.
• The staple food depends on regions rather than states like Rice is mostly eaten in southern states and West Bengal whereas predominant use of Wheat is in the Northern region.
States as cultural units:
• Language was the main aspect which made states cultural units. For instance, People from Tamilnadu speak Tamil. And this was the precise reason for creation of Andhra Pradesh. Thus, while a region certainly has a culture and social character, a further specialization happens at even smaller levels, which has been the reason to create various states.
• Some states like Goa, Kerala have unique cultures which are different from other states
whether it is with respect to food, dressing, religious views, etc For administrative convenience we divided country into states, though we consider language as parameter in dividing the states, language was not the lone factor.
- That means every state is not having a homogenous culture, same culture may prevails over on or more states.
- When it come to the diversity of India, if at all we want to divide it into regions we may divide on the basis of cultural practices instead of regions of states.
- Then possibly we might get more number of states, that is richness of India in diversity point of view. If at all you want to identify a region in state its better to figure out with culture rather than state. For example : Rajgond region, Guttikoya region, chenchu region, Yaksha gana region, are the some of regions in Telangana state, which covers on or more districts or sometimes part of a district, which is cultural unit.
- If we go to north east it looks like all are belong to same culture , though the belong to mongoloid , their culture vary from state to state and even within the state we have much diversity.
- In Tamilnadu also people along border with karnataka, south of Tamilnadu, bordering district with Andhra Pradesh, bordering with Pondicherry have different cultures.
- India has been a country of multiple diversities like linguistic, religious, and cultural diversities since ancient times.
- After independence, various demands of reorganization of states on the basis of various aspirations comprising of cultural similarity, linguistic identity and others emerged from different parts of India.
- Though the government reorganized various states and also formed new states but cultural units have been intact in India till this day.
- Recently Chhath parv has been celebrated in Purvanchal region, which comprises the eastern end of Uttar Pradesh and western end of Bihar, where Hindi-Urdu and its dialects Awadhi and Bhojpuri are the predominant language.
- Population living in green revolution area that comprises Punjab, Haryana and west Uttar Pradesh practices nearly same traditions and represents a single cultural unit.
- Influence of Dravidian culture can be seen across all South Indian states, food habit of people living in these states is similar, wedding rituals are same.
- North eastern region comprising 8 states represents as a single cultural unit in terms of their traditions.
- Rice fish culture has also been practiced across all coastal regions in different states.
- It shows that cultural units in India are not necessarily concurrent with states and beyond the boundaries of formal division of states.
- In the post-independence time, demand for different states was raised on the basis of different languages. And in 1953, Andhra Pradesh emerged as the first linguistic state of India but as of now, the cultural harmony is still unharmed.
Different cultures of India: We can divide the states of India in the category of more or less similar culture In southern states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, the traditional Lungi is a common dress. Dosa, Idli, Sambhar are the common food. Vishnu and Shiva are the common revered god.
- The northeastern region is a mixed cultural region. Hindu, Christian, Buddhist cultures are practiced here. Nagaland and Manipur have patriarchal whereas Meghalaya’s Garo and Khasi tribes practice the Matrilineal law of inheritance.
- In the states of western India (Gujarat, Rajasthan), common foods are Daal-Baati, Churma. In Maharashtra, it is Pohay, Misal Paav, etc. In Gujarat and Rajasthan, people use a turban In the eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar Hindi, Urdu and Bhojpuri are common languages. In Delhi, the culture is a little different.
- In the Himalayan region like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, the dominance of Buddhism is evident. conclusion It clearly indicates that the cultural units of different states in India are identical. Even amid the different cultural variety, unity and harmony are there regardless of the boundary./diversity/
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