Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Is India A Nation?

I saw an interesting article in a Toronto paper (National Post) today titled Is Canada a Nation?

This is not a new question for Canadians, nevertheless a sensitive one. This debate has been going for a while and each time there is an election of some kind this question props up. In Canada, this question comes around due to fact they are bilingual. While the majority speaks English, there is significant population concentrated in Quebec province that speaks French. Canadian constitution recognizes both English and French as the official languages and treat them equally as such at all levels and not just pay lip service. This is very evident from immigration forms to the freeway signs to even private conference call announcements.

Yet, there is strong under emotional undercurrent of linguistic nationalism that seems to be simmering for a long time now and doesn't appear to die down anytime soon.

Now what about India? Even after dividing India based on religion, separatist tendencies haven't died down. It has been cropping up ever so often with predictable frequency in India that begs the title of this post. Now, what are some projected motivations behind these separatist cries? If it is due to religion in Kashmir, it is due to race / language / religion in north east. Not very long ago, even the dravidian parties of Tamil Nadu wanted a separate country.

So, Is India a Nation ? or a collection of nations.

More fundamentally, what makes a Nation? Is it homogeneity by race / religion / language ? I don't know the secret sauce, but the number of countries UN general council has only risen over the years and I am quite certain will continue to raise. Does it make the world any more safer and its inhabitants any more prosperous? I doubt it..