Meaning of National Integration and Communal Harmony:
National Integration refers to the perception of single national identity among people of a country belonging to various races, castes and religion.
Communal Harmony refers to the harmony, acceptance and love among the people of various communities belonging to different castes, races and religion.
Communal Harmony is the most important pre-condition for feeling of Unity and National Integration in India.
From time Immemorial, it has been seen that different races fought battles against each other on Indian soil and got themselves firmly entrenched, but India has assimilated them all into her blood. The conflicting cultures were at last modeled by this country to her own genesis and pattern.
India has witnessed a great diversity of faith and religion from the earliest times, but this has not interfered with the peaceful pursuit of the ways of life of different sections. Christians and Jews who came to India in the first century of the Christian era found hospitable reception here. After several centuries, the Parsis and Muslims received equal reception. Ever since then, India has been marked by the prosperity of communities belonging to different religions. The people of India values the importance of National Integration.
The dictum of catholicity of Indian Culture, ‘live and let live’, have been forged through ages, different religious races and cultures of the vast country into a united concept of oneness that is India. It was this inherent unity and communal harmony which enabled India to fight against the British might as one man for freedom.
What Constitution says?
The Preamble to the Constitution described India as a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and secures to all citizens liberty of thought, expression belief, faith and worship.
Articles 25 to 30, in particular, guarantee to everyone the right of freedom of religion freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion.
Communal Harmony is a pre-requisite for National integration in India
Communalism endangers National Integration. National integration is thus an established fact. Why are we then worried? The cause of anxiety is the separatist tendency which tends to endanger the age-old communal harmony and unity of the country. The fissiparous tendencies like aggressive communalism, regionalism, linguism, religious bigotry and casteism are threatening the natural integration. Let us therefore, study the genesis and forms of operation of these tendencies, so that concrete steps may be taken to eliminate these trends from our society.
The foremost danger to National Integration is rapid communalism.
Communalism’s ugliest manifest is communal riots which occur in this country with a disconcerting frequency. The worst affected States are Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar and also in Delhi city.
Admittedly, there is no doubt that the communal question was nurtured and grew to menacing proportions with the politically motivated encouragement given by British rulers to certain communities. The expectations of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru did not come into reality. The spurt of communal riots in the post independence years is as a reminder of the harsh reality and proved that communalism has now deeper roots than before. Now, steps should therefore, be taken to to strengthen the feeling of National Integration, Unity and Communal Harmony.
Linguism is yet another problem and sectarian sentiment which has been granulated in the recent past. The reorganization of states on linguistic basis is considered to have given impetus to linguism. Again, the adoption of Hindi as the official language of India roused linguistic sentiments.
Casteism constitutes yet another potential threat to the Communal Harmony and National Integration in India. From the time immemorial this system has been grown up. Now it is one of the great problems of our society. Casteism might have done well but at the moment it endangers our national unity. But it is a misfortune that our political parties in their keenness to win the elections have revived caste feelings.
It is the sacred duty of our political leaders to inject the importance of communal harmony in their political programs. The danger of communalism can be averted if the self-defeating and suicidal slogans like ‘my state’, my language’, my caste’ and after all ‘my religion’ are supreme, give way to the noble sentiment of India first and last and always. It will integrate our emotions and aspirations and ensure Communal Harmony and National integration of the country. Then the slogan ‘unity in diversity’ will be true and be our hopes and aspirations.