Despite the efforts being made for securing a high level of national integration in India, the sad fact remains that even after about six decades of independence this objective is yet to be fully secured. Several hindrances continue to the pose a challenge before this objective.
Eight Major Hindrances:
It has been the biggest hindrance in the way of national integration. Communal riots, communal tensions and terrorism continue to be present in the Indian environment. It is indeed very unfortunate that communal violence continues to claim several precious human lives in different parts of our country. The menace of communalism continues to adversely affect the process of national integration.
Attempts to give more value to local and regional interests and demands over the national interests and needs continues to be a feature of Indian political system. It exists in the form of secessionism, localism, parochialism, linguistic regionalism, sons of the soil principle, and inter-state disputes on sharing of river waters.
Regionalism as love for ones regional interests over and above the national interests and without any care for the interests of the neighboring people provides strength to the forces of disintegration, It continues to act as a big hindrance in the way of national integration.
It has been a major irritant in the way of national integration. The absence of a national language has been a big weakness. The strong controversy, between pro-Hindi North and anti-Hindi South has always adversely affected the process of national integration. Linguistic regionalism and linguistic riots have been recurrent features of Indian political system. The linguistic reorganisation of states has proved to be counter- productive. It has strengthened linguistic regionalism in India.
(4) Existence and operation of Terrorist and Militant Organisations:
Existence of terrorist organisations and their activities based on communalism and in support of secessionism have always adversely affected the process of national integration. Continued activities of Peoples-War Groups (PWG), increasing role of violence in almost all the North-eastern states, continued operation of militant out-fits in Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland and the presence of terrorism in J & K, have all been putting grave strains on the efforts towards national integration.
(5) Existence of some Communal Organisations:
Another major constraint upon the process of National Integration in India happens to be the existence and popularity of several communal and sectarian organisations in various parts of the country. These have been depending upon bigotism, regionalism, parochialism, linguism, communalism, casteism, religious fundamentalism and tribalism for getting support from the local people. Almost all the political parties have been using these undesirable means for securing political gains.
Sectarianism also poses a big threat to national integration. Clashes among the religious sects and their organisations often engulf the entire nation. Shia-Sunni conflict often leads to riots in some parts of India. The Punjab problem had its origin in the form of dispute between Akalis and Nirankaris over the issue of religion. Sectarian conflicts in India have always hindered the process of National Integration.
Casteism is proving to be a cancerous trouble for India. It has been keeping the people divided in the name of caste. It has been limiting the process of adoption of secularism as the way of life. It has emerged as the strongest political party in India which always works for maintaining caste identities over and above the national identity.
(8) Politics of Reservations vs. Anti-Reservations:
The policy of reservation of seats and jobs and grant of special privileges to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled tribes. Other Backward Classes and weaker sections of society was adopted on the principle of protective discrimination, and was designed to help the socio-economic uplift of these downtrodden classes with a view to secure their integration in the nation as equal and well-functioning partners. The policy has, however, failed to generate the desired results.
It has failed to give due benefits to all the people belonging to these classes. It has, even encouraged the perpetuation of class distinctions for getting periodic extensions of privileges and reservations. It has led to the emergence of strong anti-reservation thinking among the uncovered classes. The conflict between the pro-reservationists and anti-reservationists has been always adversely affecting the cause of national integration.
All these have been hindering the factors of National Integration in India. Since regionalism, casteism and communalism constitute three biggest hinderance in the way of national integration.