NCERT Textbook - Regional Aspirations Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Political Science Class 12

Created by: Uk Tiwary

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Regional Aspirations Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


In this chapter…
In the first chapter of this book we studied the 
process of ‘nation-building’ in the first decade 
after Independence. But nation-building is 
not something that can be accomplished 
once and for all times to come. In the course 
of time new challenges came up. Some of the 
old problems had never been fully resolved. 
As democratic experiment unfolded, people 
from different regions began to express 
their aspirations for autonomy. Sometimes 
these aspirations were expressed outside 
the framework of the Indian union. These 
involved long struggles and often aggressive 
and armed assertions by the people. 
This new challenge came to the fore in the 
1980s, as the Janata experiment came to an 
end and there was some political stability at 
the centre. This decade will be remembered 
for some major conflicts and accords in the 
various regions of the country, especially 
in Assam, the Punjab, Mizoram and the 
developments in Jammu and Kashmir. In 
this chapter we study these cases so as to 
ask some general questions.
•	 Which 	 factors	 contribute	 to	 the	 tensions	
arising out of regional aspirations? 
•	 How 	 has	 the	 Indian 	 state 	 responded	 to	
these tensions and challenges?
•	 What	 kind 	 of	 difficulties	 are	 faced	 in	
balancing democratic rights and national 
unity? 
•	 What 	 are 	 the	 lessons	 here	 for 	 achieving	
unity with diversity in a democracy?
Regional aspirations 
are usually expressed 
in the language of the 
region and addressed 
to the local population 
or the rulers. This 
unusual poster from 
Uttarakhand movement 
appeals to all the 
Indian citizens in seven 
different languages 
and thus underscores 
the compatibility of the 
regional aspirations with 
nationalist sentiments. 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 2


In this chapter…
In the first chapter of this book we studied the 
process of ‘nation-building’ in the first decade 
after Independence. But nation-building is 
not something that can be accomplished 
once and for all times to come. In the course 
of time new challenges came up. Some of the 
old problems had never been fully resolved. 
As democratic experiment unfolded, people 
from different regions began to express 
their aspirations for autonomy. Sometimes 
these aspirations were expressed outside 
the framework of the Indian union. These 
involved long struggles and often aggressive 
and armed assertions by the people. 
This new challenge came to the fore in the 
1980s, as the Janata experiment came to an 
end and there was some political stability at 
the centre. This decade will be remembered 
for some major conflicts and accords in the 
various regions of the country, especially 
in Assam, the Punjab, Mizoram and the 
developments in Jammu and Kashmir. In 
this chapter we study these cases so as to 
ask some general questions.
•	 Which 	 factors	 contribute	 to	 the	 tensions	
arising out of regional aspirations? 
•	 How 	 has	 the	 Indian 	 state 	 responded	 to	
these tensions and challenges?
•	 What	 kind 	 of	 difficulties	 are	 faced	 in	
balancing democratic rights and national 
unity? 
•	 What 	 are 	 the	 lessons	 here	 for 	 achieving	
unity with diversity in a democracy?
Regional aspirations 
are usually expressed 
in the language of the 
region and addressed 
to the local population 
or the rulers. This 
unusual poster from 
Uttarakhand movement 
appeals to all the 
Indian citizens in seven 
different languages 
and thus underscores 
the compatibility of the 
regional aspirations with 
nationalist sentiments. 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
8
chapter
regional 
aspirations
Region and the Nation
1980s may be seen as a period of rising regional aspirations for 
autonomy, often outside the framework of the Indian Union.  These 
movements frequently involved armed assertions by the people, 
their repression by the government, and a collapse of the political 
and electoral processes.  It is also not surprising that most of these 
struggles were long drawn and concluded in negotiated settlements 
or accords between the central government and the groups leading 
the movement for autonomy. The accords were reached after a 
process of dialogue that aimed to settle contentious issues within the 
constitutional framework.  Yet the journey to the accord was always 
tumultuous and often violent. 
Indian approach
In studying the Indian Constitution and the process of nation-building 
we have repeatedly come across one basic principle of the Indian 
approach to diversity – the Indian nation shall not deny the rights of 
different regions and linguistic groups to retain their own culture. We 
decided to live a united social life without losing the distinctiveness 
of the numerous cultures that constituted it.  Indian nationalism 
sought to balance the principles of unity and diversity. The nation 
would not mean the negation of the region. In this sense the Indian 
approach was very different from the one adopted in many European 
countries where they saw cultural diversity as a threat to the nation.
India adopted a democratic approach to the question of diversity. 
Democracy allows the political expressions of regional aspirations 
and does not look upon them as anti-national. 
Besides, democratic politics allows parties and groups 
to address the people on the basis of their regional 
identity, aspiration and specific regional problems. 
Thus, in the course of democratic politics, regional 
aspirations get strengthened. At the same time, 
democratic politics also means that regional issues 
and problems will receive adequate attention and 
accommodation in the policy making process.  
Such an arrangement may sometimes lead to 
tensions and problems. Sometimes, the concern for 
national unity may overshadow the regional needs 
Does it mean 
that regionalism is 
not as dangerous as 
communalism? Or may 
be, not dangerous at 
all?
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 3


In this chapter…
In the first chapter of this book we studied the 
process of ‘nation-building’ in the first decade 
after Independence. But nation-building is 
not something that can be accomplished 
once and for all times to come. In the course 
of time new challenges came up. Some of the 
old problems had never been fully resolved. 
As democratic experiment unfolded, people 
from different regions began to express 
their aspirations for autonomy. Sometimes 
these aspirations were expressed outside 
the framework of the Indian union. These 
involved long struggles and often aggressive 
and armed assertions by the people. 
This new challenge came to the fore in the 
1980s, as the Janata experiment came to an 
end and there was some political stability at 
the centre. This decade will be remembered 
for some major conflicts and accords in the 
various regions of the country, especially 
in Assam, the Punjab, Mizoram and the 
developments in Jammu and Kashmir. In 
this chapter we study these cases so as to 
ask some general questions.
•	 Which 	 factors	 contribute	 to	 the	 tensions	
arising out of regional aspirations? 
•	 How 	 has	 the	 Indian 	 state 	 responded	 to	
these tensions and challenges?
•	 What	 kind 	 of	 difficulties	 are	 faced	 in	
balancing democratic rights and national 
unity? 
•	 What 	 are 	 the	 lessons	 here	 for 	 achieving	
unity with diversity in a democracy?
Regional aspirations 
are usually expressed 
in the language of the 
region and addressed 
to the local population 
or the rulers. This 
unusual poster from 
Uttarakhand movement 
appeals to all the 
Indian citizens in seven 
different languages 
and thus underscores 
the compatibility of the 
regional aspirations with 
nationalist sentiments. 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
8
chapter
regional 
aspirations
Region and the Nation
1980s may be seen as a period of rising regional aspirations for 
autonomy, often outside the framework of the Indian Union.  These 
movements frequently involved armed assertions by the people, 
their repression by the government, and a collapse of the political 
and electoral processes.  It is also not surprising that most of these 
struggles were long drawn and concluded in negotiated settlements 
or accords between the central government and the groups leading 
the movement for autonomy. The accords were reached after a 
process of dialogue that aimed to settle contentious issues within the 
constitutional framework.  Yet the journey to the accord was always 
tumultuous and often violent. 
Indian approach
In studying the Indian Constitution and the process of nation-building 
we have repeatedly come across one basic principle of the Indian 
approach to diversity – the Indian nation shall not deny the rights of 
different regions and linguistic groups to retain their own culture. We 
decided to live a united social life without losing the distinctiveness 
of the numerous cultures that constituted it.  Indian nationalism 
sought to balance the principles of unity and diversity. The nation 
would not mean the negation of the region. In this sense the Indian 
approach was very different from the one adopted in many European 
countries where they saw cultural diversity as a threat to the nation.
India adopted a democratic approach to the question of diversity. 
Democracy allows the political expressions of regional aspirations 
and does not look upon them as anti-national. 
Besides, democratic politics allows parties and groups 
to address the people on the basis of their regional 
identity, aspiration and specific regional problems. 
Thus, in the course of democratic politics, regional 
aspirations get strengthened. At the same time, 
democratic politics also means that regional issues 
and problems will receive adequate attention and 
accommodation in the policy making process.  
Such an arrangement may sometimes lead to 
tensions and problems. Sometimes, the concern for 
national unity may overshadow the regional needs 
Does it mean 
that regionalism is 
not as dangerous as 
communalism? Or may 
be, not dangerous at 
all?
2015-16(21/01/2015)
150                                                                 Politics in India since Independence
and aspirations.  At other times a concern for region alone may 
blind us to the larger needs of the nation. Therefore, political 
conflicts over issues of power of the regions, their rights and 
their separate existence are common to nations that want to 
respect diversity while trying to forge and retain unity. 
Areas of tension
In the first chapter you have seen how immediately after 
Independence our nation had to cope with many difficult issues 
like partition, displacement, integration of princely States, 
reorganisation of states and so on. Many observers, both within 
the country and from outside, had predicted that India as one 
unified country cannot last long. Soon after Independence, 
the issue of Jammu and Kashmir came up. It was not only a 
conflict between India and pakistan. More than that, it was a 
question of the political aspirations of the people of Kashmir 
valley. Similarly, in some parts of the north-east, there was no 
consensus about being a part of India. First Nagaland and then 
Mizoram witnessed strong movements demanding separation 
from India. In the south, some groups from the Dravid movement 
briefly toyed with the idea of a separate country. 
These events were followed by mass agitations in many parts 
for the formation of linguistic States. Today’s Andhra pradesh, 
Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat were among the regions 
affected by these agitations. In some parts of southern India, 
particularly Tamil Nadu, there were protests against making 
Hindi the official national language of the country. In the 
north, there were strong pro-Hindi agitations demanding that 
Hindi be made the official language immediately. From the late 
1950s, people speaking the punjabi language started agitating 
for a separate State for themselves. This demand was finally 
accepted and the States of punjab and Haryana were created 
in 1966. Later, the States of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and 
Jharkhand were created. Thus the challenge of diversity was 
met by redrawing the internal boundaries of the country.
Yet this did not lead to resolution of all problems and for 
all times. In some regions, like Kashmir and Nagaland, the 
challenge was so complex that it could not be resolved in the 
first phase of nation-building. Besides, new challenges came 
up in States like punjab, Assam and Mizoram. Let us study 
these cases in some detail. In this process let us also go back 
to some of the earlier instances of difficulties of nation building. 
The successes and failures in these cases are instructive not 
merely for a study of our past, but also for an understanding 
of India’s future.
Why does the 
challenge always 
come from the border 
States? 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 4


In this chapter…
In the first chapter of this book we studied the 
process of ‘nation-building’ in the first decade 
after Independence. But nation-building is 
not something that can be accomplished 
once and for all times to come. In the course 
of time new challenges came up. Some of the 
old problems had never been fully resolved. 
As democratic experiment unfolded, people 
from different regions began to express 
their aspirations for autonomy. Sometimes 
these aspirations were expressed outside 
the framework of the Indian union. These 
involved long struggles and often aggressive 
and armed assertions by the people. 
This new challenge came to the fore in the 
1980s, as the Janata experiment came to an 
end and there was some political stability at 
the centre. This decade will be remembered 
for some major conflicts and accords in the 
various regions of the country, especially 
in Assam, the Punjab, Mizoram and the 
developments in Jammu and Kashmir. In 
this chapter we study these cases so as to 
ask some general questions.
•	 Which 	 factors	 contribute	 to	 the	 tensions	
arising out of regional aspirations? 
•	 How 	 has	 the	 Indian 	 state 	 responded	 to	
these tensions and challenges?
•	 What	 kind 	 of	 difficulties	 are	 faced	 in	
balancing democratic rights and national 
unity? 
•	 What 	 are 	 the	 lessons	 here	 for 	 achieving	
unity with diversity in a democracy?
Regional aspirations 
are usually expressed 
in the language of the 
region and addressed 
to the local population 
or the rulers. This 
unusual poster from 
Uttarakhand movement 
appeals to all the 
Indian citizens in seven 
different languages 
and thus underscores 
the compatibility of the 
regional aspirations with 
nationalist sentiments. 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
8
chapter
regional 
aspirations
Region and the Nation
1980s may be seen as a period of rising regional aspirations for 
autonomy, often outside the framework of the Indian Union.  These 
movements frequently involved armed assertions by the people, 
their repression by the government, and a collapse of the political 
and electoral processes.  It is also not surprising that most of these 
struggles were long drawn and concluded in negotiated settlements 
or accords between the central government and the groups leading 
the movement for autonomy. The accords were reached after a 
process of dialogue that aimed to settle contentious issues within the 
constitutional framework.  Yet the journey to the accord was always 
tumultuous and often violent. 
Indian approach
In studying the Indian Constitution and the process of nation-building 
we have repeatedly come across one basic principle of the Indian 
approach to diversity – the Indian nation shall not deny the rights of 
different regions and linguistic groups to retain their own culture. We 
decided to live a united social life without losing the distinctiveness 
of the numerous cultures that constituted it.  Indian nationalism 
sought to balance the principles of unity and diversity. The nation 
would not mean the negation of the region. In this sense the Indian 
approach was very different from the one adopted in many European 
countries where they saw cultural diversity as a threat to the nation.
India adopted a democratic approach to the question of diversity. 
Democracy allows the political expressions of regional aspirations 
and does not look upon them as anti-national. 
Besides, democratic politics allows parties and groups 
to address the people on the basis of their regional 
identity, aspiration and specific regional problems. 
Thus, in the course of democratic politics, regional 
aspirations get strengthened. At the same time, 
democratic politics also means that regional issues 
and problems will receive adequate attention and 
accommodation in the policy making process.  
Such an arrangement may sometimes lead to 
tensions and problems. Sometimes, the concern for 
national unity may overshadow the regional needs 
Does it mean 
that regionalism is 
not as dangerous as 
communalism? Or may 
be, not dangerous at 
all?
2015-16(21/01/2015)
150                                                                 Politics in India since Independence
and aspirations.  At other times a concern for region alone may 
blind us to the larger needs of the nation. Therefore, political 
conflicts over issues of power of the regions, their rights and 
their separate existence are common to nations that want to 
respect diversity while trying to forge and retain unity. 
Areas of tension
In the first chapter you have seen how immediately after 
Independence our nation had to cope with many difficult issues 
like partition, displacement, integration of princely States, 
reorganisation of states and so on. Many observers, both within 
the country and from outside, had predicted that India as one 
unified country cannot last long. Soon after Independence, 
the issue of Jammu and Kashmir came up. It was not only a 
conflict between India and pakistan. More than that, it was a 
question of the political aspirations of the people of Kashmir 
valley. Similarly, in some parts of the north-east, there was no 
consensus about being a part of India. First Nagaland and then 
Mizoram witnessed strong movements demanding separation 
from India. In the south, some groups from the Dravid movement 
briefly toyed with the idea of a separate country. 
These events were followed by mass agitations in many parts 
for the formation of linguistic States. Today’s Andhra pradesh, 
Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat were among the regions 
affected by these agitations. In some parts of southern India, 
particularly Tamil Nadu, there were protests against making 
Hindi the official national language of the country. In the 
north, there were strong pro-Hindi agitations demanding that 
Hindi be made the official language immediately. From the late 
1950s, people speaking the punjabi language started agitating 
for a separate State for themselves. This demand was finally 
accepted and the States of punjab and Haryana were created 
in 1966. Later, the States of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and 
Jharkhand were created. Thus the challenge of diversity was 
met by redrawing the internal boundaries of the country.
Yet this did not lead to resolution of all problems and for 
all times. In some regions, like Kashmir and Nagaland, the 
challenge was so complex that it could not be resolved in the 
first phase of nation-building. Besides, new challenges came 
up in States like punjab, Assam and Mizoram. Let us study 
these cases in some detail. In this process let us also go back 
to some of the earlier instances of difficulties of nation building. 
The successes and failures in these cases are instructive not 
merely for a study of our past, but also for an understanding 
of India’s future.
Why does the 
challenge always 
come from the border 
States? 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Regional Aspirations                                                                151  
Jammu and Kashmir
You may have heard about the 
violence in Jammu and Kashmir 
(J&K). This has resulted in 
the loss of many lives and the 
displacement of many families. 
The ‘Kashmir issue’ is always 
seen as a major issue between 
India and pakistan. But the 
political situation in the State 
has many dimensions. 
Jammu and Kashmir 
comprises three social and 
political regions: Jammu, 
Kashmir and Ladakh. The heart 
of the Kashmir region is the 
Kashmir valley; the people are 
Kashmiri speaking and mostly 
Muslim with a small Kashmiri 
speaking Hindu minority. 
Jammu region is a mix of 
foothills and plains, of Hindus, 
Muslims and Sikhs and speakers of various languages. The Ladakh 
region is mountainous, has very little population which is equally 
divided between Buddhists and Muslims.
The ‘Kashmir issue’ is not just a dispute between India and 
pakistan. This issue has external and internal dimensions. It 
involves the issue of Kashmiri identity known as Kashmiriyat and the 
aspirations of the people of J&K for political autonomy. 
Roots of the problem
Before 1947, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was a princely State.  Its 
Hindu ruler, Hari Singh, did not want to merge with India and tried to 
negotiate with India and pakistan to have an independent status for 
his state. The pakistani leaders thought the Kashmir region ‘belonged’ 
to pakistan, since majority population of the State was Muslim. 
But this is not how the people themselves saw it – they thought of 
themselves as Kashmiris above all.  The popular movement in the 
State, led by Sheikh Abdullah of the National Conference, wanted to 
get rid of the Maharaja, but was against joining pakistan. The National 
Conference was a secular organisation and had a long association 
with the Congress. Sheikh Abdullah was a personal friend of some of 
the leading nationalist leaders including Nehru. 
In October 1947, pakistan sent tribal infiltrators from its side 
to capture Kashmir. This forced the Maharaja to ask for Indian 
military help. India extended the military support and drove back 
In that 
case, why don’t 
they rename the 
State as “Jammu, 
Kashmir and Ladakh”? 
Besides, JKL makes 
for an easy 
abbreviation!
Note: This illustration 
is not a map drawn to 
scale and should not be 
taken to be an authentic 
depiction of India’s 
external boundaries. 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 5


In this chapter…
In the first chapter of this book we studied the 
process of ‘nation-building’ in the first decade 
after Independence. But nation-building is 
not something that can be accomplished 
once and for all times to come. In the course 
of time new challenges came up. Some of the 
old problems had never been fully resolved. 
As democratic experiment unfolded, people 
from different regions began to express 
their aspirations for autonomy. Sometimes 
these aspirations were expressed outside 
the framework of the Indian union. These 
involved long struggles and often aggressive 
and armed assertions by the people. 
This new challenge came to the fore in the 
1980s, as the Janata experiment came to an 
end and there was some political stability at 
the centre. This decade will be remembered 
for some major conflicts and accords in the 
various regions of the country, especially 
in Assam, the Punjab, Mizoram and the 
developments in Jammu and Kashmir. In 
this chapter we study these cases so as to 
ask some general questions.
•	 Which 	 factors	 contribute	 to	 the	 tensions	
arising out of regional aspirations? 
•	 How 	 has	 the	 Indian 	 state 	 responded	 to	
these tensions and challenges?
•	 What	 kind 	 of	 difficulties	 are	 faced	 in	
balancing democratic rights and national 
unity? 
•	 What 	 are 	 the	 lessons	 here	 for 	 achieving	
unity with diversity in a democracy?
Regional aspirations 
are usually expressed 
in the language of the 
region and addressed 
to the local population 
or the rulers. This 
unusual poster from 
Uttarakhand movement 
appeals to all the 
Indian citizens in seven 
different languages 
and thus underscores 
the compatibility of the 
regional aspirations with 
nationalist sentiments. 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
8
chapter
regional 
aspirations
Region and the Nation
1980s may be seen as a period of rising regional aspirations for 
autonomy, often outside the framework of the Indian Union.  These 
movements frequently involved armed assertions by the people, 
their repression by the government, and a collapse of the political 
and electoral processes.  It is also not surprising that most of these 
struggles were long drawn and concluded in negotiated settlements 
or accords between the central government and the groups leading 
the movement for autonomy. The accords were reached after a 
process of dialogue that aimed to settle contentious issues within the 
constitutional framework.  Yet the journey to the accord was always 
tumultuous and often violent. 
Indian approach
In studying the Indian Constitution and the process of nation-building 
we have repeatedly come across one basic principle of the Indian 
approach to diversity – the Indian nation shall not deny the rights of 
different regions and linguistic groups to retain their own culture. We 
decided to live a united social life without losing the distinctiveness 
of the numerous cultures that constituted it.  Indian nationalism 
sought to balance the principles of unity and diversity. The nation 
would not mean the negation of the region. In this sense the Indian 
approach was very different from the one adopted in many European 
countries where they saw cultural diversity as a threat to the nation.
India adopted a democratic approach to the question of diversity. 
Democracy allows the political expressions of regional aspirations 
and does not look upon them as anti-national. 
Besides, democratic politics allows parties and groups 
to address the people on the basis of their regional 
identity, aspiration and specific regional problems. 
Thus, in the course of democratic politics, regional 
aspirations get strengthened. At the same time, 
democratic politics also means that regional issues 
and problems will receive adequate attention and 
accommodation in the policy making process.  
Such an arrangement may sometimes lead to 
tensions and problems. Sometimes, the concern for 
national unity may overshadow the regional needs 
Does it mean 
that regionalism is 
not as dangerous as 
communalism? Or may 
be, not dangerous at 
all?
2015-16(21/01/2015)
150                                                                 Politics in India since Independence
and aspirations.  At other times a concern for region alone may 
blind us to the larger needs of the nation. Therefore, political 
conflicts over issues of power of the regions, their rights and 
their separate existence are common to nations that want to 
respect diversity while trying to forge and retain unity. 
Areas of tension
In the first chapter you have seen how immediately after 
Independence our nation had to cope with many difficult issues 
like partition, displacement, integration of princely States, 
reorganisation of states and so on. Many observers, both within 
the country and from outside, had predicted that India as one 
unified country cannot last long. Soon after Independence, 
the issue of Jammu and Kashmir came up. It was not only a 
conflict between India and pakistan. More than that, it was a 
question of the political aspirations of the people of Kashmir 
valley. Similarly, in some parts of the north-east, there was no 
consensus about being a part of India. First Nagaland and then 
Mizoram witnessed strong movements demanding separation 
from India. In the south, some groups from the Dravid movement 
briefly toyed with the idea of a separate country. 
These events were followed by mass agitations in many parts 
for the formation of linguistic States. Today’s Andhra pradesh, 
Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat were among the regions 
affected by these agitations. In some parts of southern India, 
particularly Tamil Nadu, there were protests against making 
Hindi the official national language of the country. In the 
north, there were strong pro-Hindi agitations demanding that 
Hindi be made the official language immediately. From the late 
1950s, people speaking the punjabi language started agitating 
for a separate State for themselves. This demand was finally 
accepted and the States of punjab and Haryana were created 
in 1966. Later, the States of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and 
Jharkhand were created. Thus the challenge of diversity was 
met by redrawing the internal boundaries of the country.
Yet this did not lead to resolution of all problems and for 
all times. In some regions, like Kashmir and Nagaland, the 
challenge was so complex that it could not be resolved in the 
first phase of nation-building. Besides, new challenges came 
up in States like punjab, Assam and Mizoram. Let us study 
these cases in some detail. In this process let us also go back 
to some of the earlier instances of difficulties of nation building. 
The successes and failures in these cases are instructive not 
merely for a study of our past, but also for an understanding 
of India’s future.
Why does the 
challenge always 
come from the border 
States? 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Regional Aspirations                                                                151  
Jammu and Kashmir
You may have heard about the 
violence in Jammu and Kashmir 
(J&K). This has resulted in 
the loss of many lives and the 
displacement of many families. 
The ‘Kashmir issue’ is always 
seen as a major issue between 
India and pakistan. But the 
political situation in the State 
has many dimensions. 
Jammu and Kashmir 
comprises three social and 
political regions: Jammu, 
Kashmir and Ladakh. The heart 
of the Kashmir region is the 
Kashmir valley; the people are 
Kashmiri speaking and mostly 
Muslim with a small Kashmiri 
speaking Hindu minority. 
Jammu region is a mix of 
foothills and plains, of Hindus, 
Muslims and Sikhs and speakers of various languages. The Ladakh 
region is mountainous, has very little population which is equally 
divided between Buddhists and Muslims.
The ‘Kashmir issue’ is not just a dispute between India and 
pakistan. This issue has external and internal dimensions. It 
involves the issue of Kashmiri identity known as Kashmiriyat and the 
aspirations of the people of J&K for political autonomy. 
Roots of the problem
Before 1947, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was a princely State.  Its 
Hindu ruler, Hari Singh, did not want to merge with India and tried to 
negotiate with India and pakistan to have an independent status for 
his state. The pakistani leaders thought the Kashmir region ‘belonged’ 
to pakistan, since majority population of the State was Muslim. 
But this is not how the people themselves saw it – they thought of 
themselves as Kashmiris above all.  The popular movement in the 
State, led by Sheikh Abdullah of the National Conference, wanted to 
get rid of the Maharaja, but was against joining pakistan. The National 
Conference was a secular organisation and had a long association 
with the Congress. Sheikh Abdullah was a personal friend of some of 
the leading nationalist leaders including Nehru. 
In October 1947, pakistan sent tribal infiltrators from its side 
to capture Kashmir. This forced the Maharaja to ask for Indian 
military help. India extended the military support and drove back 
In that 
case, why don’t 
they rename the 
State as “Jammu, 
Kashmir and Ladakh”? 
Besides, JKL makes 
for an easy 
abbreviation!
Note: This illustration 
is not a map drawn to 
scale and should not be 
taken to be an authentic 
depiction of India’s 
external boundaries. 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
152                                                                 Politics in India since Independence
Dravidian movement
‘Vadakku Vaazhkirathu; Therkku Thaeikirathu’ 
[The north thrives even as the south decays]. 
This popular slogan sums up the dominant 
sentiments of one of India’s most effective 
regional movements, the Dravidian movement, 
at one point of time. This was one of the 
first regional movements in Indian politics. 
Though some sections of this movement 
had ambitions of creating a Dravida nation, 
the movement did not take to arms.  It used 
democratic means like public debates and the 
electoral platform to achieve its ends. This 
strategy paid off as the movement acquired 
political power in the State and also became 
influential at the national level. 
The Dravidian movement led to the formation of  
Dravidar Kazhagam [DK] under the leadership 
of  Tamil social reformer E.V. Ramasami 
‘Periyar’. The organisation strongly opposed 
the Brahmins’ dominance and affirmed 
regional pride against the political, economic 
and cultural domination of the North. Initially, 
the Dravidian movement spoke in terms of
the whole of south India; however lack of support from other States limited the 
movement to Tamil Nadu.
The DK split and the political legacy of the 
movement was transferred to Dravida  
Munnetra Kazhagam 
(DMK). The DMK made 
its entry into politics 
with a three pronged 
agitation in 1953-54. 
First, it demanded the 
restoration of the original 
name of Kallakudi railway 
station which had been 
renamed Dalmiapuram, 
after an industrial house 
from the North.  This demand 
brought out its opposition to 
the North Indian economic 
and cultural symbols. The 
second agitation was for 
E.V. 
Ramasami 
Naicker 
(1879-1973): 
Known as 
Periyar (the 
respected); 
strong 
supporter of 
atheism; famous for his anti-
caste struggle and rediscovery 
of Dravidian identity; initially 
a worker of the Congress 
party; started the self-respect 
movement (1925); led the 
anti-Brahmin movement; 
worked for the Justice party 
and later founded Dravidar 
Kazhagam; 	 opposed	to	 Hindi	
and domination of north India; 
propounded the thesis that 
north Indians and Brahmins 
are Aryans.
Anti-Hindi agitation in Tamil Nadu, 1965
Credit: The Hindu
152                                                                 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
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