Regionalism – Meaning, Definition, Causes, Regionalism UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Regionalism, in its true sense, can be defined as the political ideology of some people coming from a particular region or any other sub-national entity. In general terms, the origin can be defined as a particular area that has a population coming from different backgrounds but common political viewpoints. The causes for regionalism range from cultural, historical, and geographical reasons. It is also influenced by caste and religious factors.

Regionalism is one of the most important factors that affect the political mindset of people in a nation. The topic of regionalism is studied in Indian Polity and for the GS1 segment of the IAS exam. Below in this article, you will find all the information about regionalism. The aspirants preparing for the IAS exam can get access to the notes and kickstart their preparation in the right direction.

What is Regionalism?

The meaning of Regionalism in this contemporary world can be explained as an insider-outsider concept in which loyalties to a region of origin are central. A regional movement has the same characteristics as an identity movement except that the demands have some special privileges. People who have been deprived or neglected for a long time tend to assert their regional identity as a remedy for states and their favorable policies toward them.

Geographical and social factors play a significant role in allowing regionalism to appear and enhance itself. But it should also be kept in mind that regionalism can be a result of various disputes and bitterness among the regions. For example, disputes related to river waters in India.

Definition of Regionalism

The regionalism definition can be stated as ” Regionalism is the doctrine carved by the political pursuits that favors the interests and beliefs of a specific group, region, subnational entity.” The meaning of regionalism range from the influence of caste, religion, and geographical factors.

Objective of Regionalism

The doctrine of regionalism focuses on the ideology of surging the political authority of a region by the influence of the civilians of the particular region. The believers of regionalism claim that the surge in the political power of a particular region will contribute to an increase in the economy by attributing the resources to residents of the region. This leads to the debilitating of the powers of the central government.

Types of Regionalism

Regionalism has varied forms, the major three types have been listed here. It is a carved ideology that is motivated by the shared and common interests of a particular group and regional movements.

Supra-State Regionalism

Supra-state regionalism is where a common interest is shared among the people residing in more than one state. Such a community works to promote the local agenda and regional autonomy. According to the concept of supra-state regionalism, one large state having common interests will have a better chance of success than multiple smaller states.

Inter-State Regionalism

Inter-state regionalism creates differences among two or more states. The territorial component is contiguous with provincial territories and a juxtaposition of the identities of two or more states. This is also something that is discussed since it undermines the interests of some people.

Intra-State Regionalism

Intra-State regionalism comes into the picture when one region or a state stands up to fight for its autonomy, self-identity, and self-reliance. But, since this type of regionalism forces a particular region to be self-dependent, it can be considered a good form of regionalism.

Types of Regional Movements

There are numerous types of regional movements that have been listed herewith. The regional moments that resulted from the regionalism can be subdivided into-

  • Secessionism: It involves the fundamentalist groups advocating the separation of militants. Eg, Isac Muivah’s National Socialist Council of Nagaland, and the Islamic fundamentalist groups in J&K.
  • Separatism: It demands a separate state. Eg, the formation of Telangana, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, etc.
  • Demand for Full Statehood: This demand is accounted from the Union territories. For eg, the NCT of Delhi. Such demands are mostly accepted. One such good example is Arunachal Pradesh (former NEFA) and Sikkim got full statehood.
  • The Demand for Autonomy: It results from central political interference, because of which, it is gaining strength since the 1960s.
  • Demand for Regional Autonomy within a State: In this, people of a particular region demand their recognition on the basis of their respective regional identities.

History of Regionalism in India

Regionalism in India finds its roots in colonial policies. The concept of regionalism evolved in India from the difference in British attitude and treatment towards De residences developed regional East tendencies and princely states. Because of the differences, the British economic policies didn’t give much importance to some regions and this resulted in regional imbalance and economic disparities among them.

  • It was the time when the Indian national movement gave wings to the idea of a pluralistic India. In 1940, the non-Brahmin movement or properly known as Dravida the moment has already begun because the independent Tamil state was created.
  • Not only the state was created, but this moment also resulted in the creation of parties like the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) which demanded the separation of the Andhra region just like the Tamil state.
  • The wind Demand for different statehood resulted in violent mass in the decades the 1950s to 1960s. Defier for D separate states continued because of the political regionalism that happened because of Sri Ramulu’s eventual death.
  • This became a matter of concern and because of the increasing demands, the state reorganization committee was created. The committee was headed by Faiz Ali. The main idea behind the formation of the particular committee was to properly reinforce the regional stick tendencies.
  • It recommends the reorganization of the Indian states. The states reorganization act, of 1956 turned the idea of creating linguistic states into reality.
  • In the 1970s and 1980s, the Union government came up with the northeastern states reorganization act 1971 which dealt with the demands of separation and statehood by the tribals.
  • Later in 1986, the status of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh were changed into states (prior, they were the union territories). However, the urge for regional deprivation was witnessed because of the idea of creating separate states in the 2000s.

India witnessed the formation of three new states from the existing ones that is Jharkhand from Bihar, Chhattisgarh from Madhya Pradesh, and lastly Uttarakhand from Uttar Pradesh. Recently, in 2014, Telangana was created as a separate state out of Andhra Pradesh.

Causes of Regionalism

Regionalism in India is a complex phenomenon because it consists of various factors like cultural, economic, geographical, historical, and psychological influences. Let’s see them one by one.

  • Cultural and Historical: This could be one of the most obvious causes of regionalism. The people belonging to a particular community of origin can have some glorious history and local heroes from which they derive inspiration, which leads to regionalism with another region or state.
  • Geographical conditions can also prove to be the cause of regionalism as the territorial organization and geographical boundaries of a particular region are symbolic and the people living in that region also develop linguistic homogeneity among themselves.
  • Caste and Religion: Even though India has grown significantly, caste and religion remain significant barriers to growth, as well as the primary causes of regionalism. It is, in fact, generally a secular phenomenon, and it crosses over into class and religious affiliations.

Effects of Regionalism in India

Regionalism has led to the rise of many effects, such as the rise of political parties, the rise of certain political ideologies, etc. The effects of regionalism in India have been stated here:

  • It has led to the rise of new regional political parties, say the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) which demanded the separation of the Andhra region just like the Tamil state.
  • The upcoming new political parties can become a possible chance to refocus on certain regional problems.
  • This regionalism sometimes leads to misunderstandings and violence among the classes that disturb the law and order of a particular region or maybe a state.
  • Regionalism is not limited to specific regions or states within India’s borders, but it also spreads internationally, as India-Sri Lanka relations remain tied due to domestic politics over the state of Tamilnadu.
  • Regionalism, if considered good for a reason, can be bad, even worse, and cause a threat to national security too. For example, the Kashmir issue.

Regionalism – A Threat to Integrity and National Unity

Regionalism is a real threat to the sovereignty of India. The country has witnessed some prime examples of negative regionalism. The anti-Bihari or anti-migrant issue of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), resulted in hatred because of which it opposes the employment or any kind of residence of non-state people.

The other example is from Punjab where regionalism has led to successionism because of which the state is witnessing Khalistani terrorism growing there. Not only is it a threat to sovereignty, but it also possesses an effect on national integrity by promoting vote bank politics. Seeing the broader picture, regionalism in principle needs to be considered an antinational phenomenon. However, these regional moments had a good side as well it has given exposure to the local emphases in the field of art and culture.

Difference Between Regionalism and Regional Political Parties

Regional political parties that belong to a specific region or state are not required to be called regional parties. These parties do not adhere to a specific ideology. Any party that has its roots in a region can be considered a regional party, whereas a regionalist party advocates for independence and autonomy in its region.

Due to the limited number of votes and legislative seats received by the regional parties, they may join hands to form political coalitions or be a part of a coalition government. An example of the statement could be the coalition government formed in 1996 when two major political parties, Congress and BJP, worked together along with the regional parties to form the government.

Ways to Mitigate Regionalism

Since regionalism has been considered a threat to the integrity of the nation and creates a political imbalance, it must be restrained and mitigated. There are some ways to curb regionalism, that have been listed here. Take a look at the ways to mitigate regionalism.

  • The sensitization towards culture and national integrity will help flourish the pluralistic nature of India.
  • The Government must focus on the economically backward communities and provide the basic amenities to them.
  • Promotion of the schemes that promote the integrity of the state such as “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat”.

Regionalism UPSC

Regionalism UPSC topic comes under the syllabus of Indian Polity. It is essential for the aspirants to comprehensively prepare for this topic to proceed on the way to success. Regionalism UPSC questions can be widely asked in the GS1 paper of Prelims and Mains exam. For this, to have a thorough revision for the Regionalism topic, you can access the reference books for Indian Polity and the study material. You can also download the previous year’s question paper for practice.

The aspirants preparing for the IAS exam must be conversant with the meaning of regionalism and the concept. You can get access to the notes by clicking on the link. You can get an in-depth knowledge of the important topic and solve the questions asked from this topic in prelims and mains exams. It is highly recommended to the candidates practice the previous year papers and get in touch with the pattern and type of questions asked from this segment.

Regionalism UPSC Mains Sample Question

Regionalism is a wide topic and is mostly covered in the descriptive section of the mains examination. Here is the Regionalism UPSC mains sample question that might help you to have a better understanding of the questions asked-

Question: Regionalism in India is a result of many interlinking factors, concerning this, explain the types of regionalism in India and suggest some suitable solutions to curb this problem and its negative impact.

Question: Is regionalism a threat to ‘unity in diversity’ in India? Elucidate the statement.

UPSC Articles
Extremist Phase Woods Dispatch 1854
Continental Drift Theory Judicial Review
44th Amendment of Indian Constitution Sessions of Parliament
Principles of Natural Justice Pardoning Power of President
Drainage Pattern Heads of Important Offices in India
King Harshavardhana Vijayanagar Empire
Our Apps Playstore
SSC and Bank
Other Exams
GradeStack Learning Pvt. Ltd.Windsor IT Park, Tower - A, 2nd Floor, Sector 125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201303
Home Practice Test Series Premium