Nationalism is love for one’s own country. Regionalism is love for one’s state or district. In my opinion the two are not opposed to each other. It would be like saying my sister vs. my mother or my brother vs. my father.
Every individual in a country is important. And so is every region. No individual or region could survive without the others. And yet the needs of every region are different. These depend upon the geography of the region and the ethnic culture of the people. When the needs of a region become such that they supersede the needs of the country, then you have a situation that could create a conflict between the region and the country.
India is a country of vast diversity. When India achieved independence there were only a few provinces and states. But by and by people of different regions identified their definite needs and clamoured for separate states. There is nothing wrong in this as long as people go about it constitutionally. It is just that they feel that the needs of their regions are quite peculiar and state governments constituted from their regions will only be able to solve their problems. Including the recently formed Telangana, now we have 29states and 7 union territories.
It is when regionalism becomes very intense that it leads to violence and the country suffers. Sometimes regionalism becomes so narrow-minded, that a people of a region do not want anyone who does not originally belong to that region to live there. Sometimes loyalty to a region comes into conflict with the loyalty to the nation. This is against the spirit of nationalism. The constitution provides that anyone who is an Indian can move freely or reside in any part of India. Sometimes the people of a region create dissentions on the issues of language or caste or creed. Such activities are anti-national. Sometimes fanatics or extremists resort to killing, arson and riots to press their demands. These activities, too, are anti-national, and only destroy the fabric of the country.
We do love the region we stay in. we do care for its culture, its social mores, its problems and needs. But this does not mean that we should put the interests of the region above that of the nation. The unity and integrity of the nation should be our foremost concern. All else comes afterwards.
– Tanvi Shah