National integration means combing all the people of the nation into a single whole. It is a particular sentiment that binds together all people in one common bond no matter what their religion, language or history be.
It is strong cementing force whereby all kinds of people live together peacefully and can identify themselves as a part of a single whole. We belong to India. India is our's is the feeling which constitutes the very basis of national integration.
India is a vast country with a vast population. If we get united, this great human force with great resources of the country can carry the whole world with us.
The worst tragedy that has devoured up India is complete national disintegration. It appears that India is not a nation, but simply a crowd of separate individuals each differing fro the other, yet living together. The history of India presents a very poor record of national integration. Disunity is a very old evil. In the pages of history, we find innumerable instances to show that we suffered indignities and humiliations because of our disunity. Even at the time of national crisis the whole country could not pull together and the result was defeat the subjugation. We know that a few thousands of Mughal soldiers conquered India, because the native rulers could not unite together, rather they worked against each-other and helped the enemy. The Rajputs, the Jats, the Marathas and the Sikhs all were brave people beyond doubt, but they could not sit together. They fought separately and were defeated one-by-one.
The British regime in India made the first attempt at the unification of the whole country, however superficial. The English education, dress and habits brought down the some extent the cultural difference. Indians for the first time began to feel a kind of bond among themselves. Another bond which bounded the people was the subjugation under the British. The bond became very prominent towards the closing year of the British rule in India. Indians at the time were fired with the spirit of nationality. The national leaders coming fro different states were so much fused that they forgot all the petty differences of caste, creed and language that divided them.
But as soon the British left India, trivial issue began to raise their ugly heads. Every state turned to itself and tried to look to the interest of its own. New slogans were raised and the spirit of fellow feeling and co-operation was substituted by forces that began to play and interplay. The result was that within a very short time after independence the different regions began to show off their supremacy over others. The disruptive problems of linguist created series cleavage between the two sections of the people of one state. The shameful happenings in Assam over Bengali, Assam controversy and the illegal demand of Khalistan by Akali proved beyond doubt that we have not been able to realize the very fundamental ideal of national integration. The division of the Punjab over the language issue to a large extent impaired the national unity. A part from this the caste rivalries assumed a dreadful proportions.
Though today India is a free country, yet that spirit of unity appears to have evaporated which had made people think that they are one family and one nation. The crying need of the hour is national integration for a developing country like India. We Indians cannot afford to be parochial, narrow-minded, provincial and communal because we have a great mission to accomplish. Keeping our feet firmly on the ground we should bring about the integration of the Indian people. Political integration has already taken place, but emotional integration is a must for national integration. Political freedom has brought in its wake new forces of fanaticism which threaten to destroy the noble concept of one country and one people. Attachment to caste and community is given priority over devotion to the motherland. Regionalism is raising its ugly head.
There are several obstacles in the way of national integration of our country. The most formidable obstacles are linguism, communalism and regionalism. India is a multi-lingual country. The language controversy started with Hindi being given the place of official language of India. In South India people revolted against this and demanded secession from India. The constitution has been amended to meet the demand of these people. In the Indian Union the states have been organized on the linguistic basis. The question of language is a sensitive one. People get very easily provoked over this issue. The linguistic fanaticism has got to be fought with love, understanding and accommodation. Communalism is an another obstacle. There have been communal riots in the country before and even after the partition. This is a poison deeply rooted in our polity. India cannot succeed in forging any unity, if communalism continues. Casteism is an offshoot of communalism which is equally dangerous to national integration. Another fissiparous tendency is regionalism. Aggressive regionalism has gravely underminded the feeling that the whole of India is the home land of her inhabitants. Regionalism creates parochial outlook and narrow mindedness.
It is beyond doubt that the threats of disintegration are staring us in the face. If we Indian keep on remaining disunited in the name of religion, community or language, the country will go to dogs. If we do not sink petty differences our freedom is in peril. Divisions on the basis of language or community will have serious repercussions. We must realize that we have the strong bond of same cultural heritage and must not let ourselves fall apart and disintegrate. We must show to the world that a country with as old a tradition as ours can holds back personal differences for the sake of higher interest of the country. Toleration, co-operation and feeling of brotherhood should guide us in maintaining the national unity of our country. Let us echo what Pandi Nehru said, "There is no division between North and South, East and West of India. There is only one India of which all us are inheritors, it belongs to all of us."