India, the only country which has conquered & dominated the world, culturally, without ever having to raise a sword
-H U Shih (Former Chinese Ambassador to USA)
The last four millenniums have seen many civilisations rise & fall with time & rise again completely altered, with no traces of their predecessors. The physical boundaries of India were altered very frequently with the changing dynamics & rulers. The only constant has been the idea of the sacred India, which has survived the test of time & still stands tall on the world map. In the time frame when all civilisations have fallen & countries have been dusted & rebuilt, Indian civilization has stood tall due to its ability to adjust with the changing times & amalgamating different religions & cultures, even of the oppressors, as their own. Time & again people from different countries & faiths have fallen in love with India & its philosophy. Seleucus Nicator of Greece, Xuanzang of China, Vasco De Gama of Portugal or Steve Jobs of USA, are few of the many examples, who have spoken highly of this country & its diverse culture. It has astonished the most noted historians of the world that how India, despite so many assortments, still remains one. The answer lies in ‘Unity in Diversity’, the expression of harmony & unity between dissimilar groups. The concept, which India has the privilege to proudly show of, more than anyone else in the world.
National identity is the awareness of a common identity among the citizens of a country, the feeling of oneness. This means that we may speak different languages, belong to different caste, religions or regions, follow different faiths, traditions & cultures, but we identify ourselves as one. It is not just a national feeling, but the spirit which brings different kinds of people & beliefs together is a similar endeavor. It arises through behaviour, determination & feeling of oneness among citizens. It is the duty of every individual to oppose the idea & forces that aim to weaken national unity & integrity. Dr S Radhakrishnan said that national integration cannot be made by bricks & mortar, mould & hammer, but it quietly grows in people’s minds through education. The concept includes political, economic, social, cultural & psychological dimensions & interrelationships between them. National integration plays a very important & dynamic role in making the country as one & contribute towards its progress. This happens only by uniting every section of the society. It provides equal opportunity for each citizen. It also offers an equal platform in terms of social, cultural & economic development.
National integration provides the freedom for people from all faiths & cultures, to follow their faith. It also helps to unite the minorities & gives them the freedom to live their life in their own way, without any interference. Thus, national integration is an essential tool for a country’s progress, as it helps it to flourish in all aspects. Moreover, it reduces the conflicts among various sections of the society & helps in stabilizing the democracy, adds to the economic growth & provides all the important rights & duties to the people. It appropriately justifies the age old saying of ‘Unity is strength’. Lesser the internal issues & conflicts, more are the resources & minds to focus, that can aim for country’s growth. In such an atmosphere, it’s possible to work together towards the prosperity. Though, such societies face issues like religious or political divisions time & again, but the societies which resolve such issues amicably for the greater good, have more chances of surviving the test of time.
In India, more than 250 languages & dialects are spoken & 22 languages have been notified as national languages, in the constitution. Apart from Hindus, India is home to Muslims, Christians, Parsees, Sikhs & believers of many other religions. Naturally, there is a difference between their customs & worshipping practices. But, in spite of all these differences, there is a unity about the national interests. This spirit of ‘Unity in Diversity’ is what makes us standout in the world. Our Constitution incorporates such ideals & principles that strengthen the unity of India. These principles are democracy, fundamental rights, fundamental duties, justice system, secularism, common national emblems & national festivals etc. It endorses loyalty of the citizen for the country. It aids to make people join hands & stand for the advancement of the country, forgetting their petty issues. While, few people with radical thoughts try to upset the balance of the society by brainwashing people & provoking them against their motherland on religious or other grounds, it is the nationalist thoughts that bind them for the greater good.
The history of mankind has seen many great civilisations & countries fall apart & perish, due to internal turmoil & conflicts. As a result, it becomes vulnerable to foreign assaults also. Our own country is a live example of many such assaults by external aggressors, where they were successful only because of our internal conflicts, & took advantage of it. Taking a lesson from the history, it’s imperative, that we, forgetting our internal issues, live & rise as one. Our country has suffered under British rule for years due to lack of national integration. Presently, prolonged confusion & struggle in Kashmir is fueled by Islam radicalism supported by Pakistan. Though, it is masked as a conflict of religions, however it clearly is a political gimmick & poor attempt by Pakistan & selective separatists, to create a divide & break the spirit of our country. We must understand the evil intentions of the adversary & face it as one united power. Rather being on dividing factors, our focus should be on integrating factors. We need to recall the stories of countless nationalists & freedom fighters, who laid down their lives to gain independence & sovereignty. We must cherish the gift of freedom given to us by our ancestors after hundreds of years of struggle, & work together to foil misadventures by the adversary, so that this beautiful gift is passed onto the next generation.
Ideas, Opinions and Views expressed in articles are Writer’s own and may not be in accord with those of SUBAH KASHMIR