National integration has become a vital” necessity. If we want to maintain our freedom and achieve progress and prosperity, national integration is absolutely necessary. United we stand, divided we fall.
Regionalism is harmful to the interests of the nation. Such ways of thinking have to be avoided. We are first and foremost Indians.
Communal riots that occur frequently affect the integration of the country. Religion should teach the people the necessity of tolerance, goodwill and brotherhood of man. It must be capable of deepening the solidarity of human society. Every effort must be made to root out communalism. It is against the spirit of democracy.
The caste system and untouchability affect the integration of the country. Untouchability, to quote Gandhiji, suffocates religion. Harijans are very cruelly treated. A number of them have already embraced Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Though there is legislation to curb the atrocities on Harijans, these are not properly implemented.
The lot of the Harijans must be improved. The caste-Hindus should give ‘up their sense of superiority.
The inter-state water disputes affect the unity of the country. The Cauvery water dispute between Kamataka and Tamil Nadu still remains a thorny problem. The sharing of the water in the Yamuna, between Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi remains ‘ unsolved. These basin states of the river should try to solve the dispute on a give-and-take basis.
A large number of the people live in poverty. A feeling of oneness cannot be expected if there is glaring economic inequality between people. The concept of democratic socialism was made an important objective of the Congress Party at its Avadi session. But, nowadays no leader of the Congress refers to it. Nor is there a mention about mixed economy. The free market economy and the consequent liberalization have brought about great increase in prices. This has made the life of the masses miserable. Former Prime Minister Chandrasekhar says that the reforms of the government help ten percent of the people to make money. The remaining ninety percent are in acute financial difficulties. Unless effective steps are taken by the government to wipe out this inequality that exists between the rich and the poor, the process of national integration cannot be expedited.
The mass: media have to be used to accelerate the process of national integration. Writers who try to stress the necessity of national integration should be given financial assistance. National solidarity day should be observed throughout the country. ‘The sons of the soil theory’ must be nipped in the bud itself.