is a sovereign country with a socialist, secular, democratic and republican
polity. But in contemporary India the daily ongoing problems on the basis of
Religion, Caste, region, minority etc. drove my focus on the concept of
national integration in India. The importance of national integration is
obvious. The integrity implies that all people are equal regardless of their
interests, religion, race, sex, and class. National integration is a helpful
way to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of people. Promoting
national integration means the country gives its people an opportunity to live
together in peace and prosperity. The concept of Communalism, Regionalism, Linguism, Casteism, and
Religion etc. in the minds of the people of India makes them
parochial, narrow-minded, provincial, communal and caste-minded, which are said
to be the greatest hurdles in the process of National integration.
Words: National Integration, Religion, Caste, fundamental rights, Regionalism,
As the great scholar, Aristotle posited
“man is a social creature”. This implies in each general public,
there must exist individual differing interest and that of India is no
exception. India is a nation with much assorted variety. The limits of India
stretch out from the immense Himalayas to low profundities of the Indian Ocean.
It touches the nations like China, Russia, Pakistan, Tibet and Burma. The
general population of this nation has assorted traditions and customs and talk
diverse dialects which have their own particular excellence, style and legacy.
They have confidence in various religious beliefs and thoughts. History
demonstrates that India had never one dialect talked all through the nation or
one religion took after by all. At no other time, the whole region of
geological India was ruled from one focus. Thus, India presents a remarkable
variety of people who differ from one another in every respect. Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru observed that national integration would weld Indian people
into one and make India into ‘one strong national unit maintaining at the same
time all our wonderful diversity’ According to Dictionary of Political thought,
“Integration means different groups within a jurisdiction may have the same
rights in law that nevertheless enjoy unequal privileges and desperate social,
educational and recreational institutions, integration is the process, where by
all such institutions are made available to all members of the state regardless
of creed, race and origin with the intention of forming a unified civil society
within the jurisdiction of a unified state” 1
Meaning of National Integration
The term national integration is composed of
two words: ‘Nation’ and ‘Integration’. Nation is a stable historically evolved
community of territory, common economic life and a common psychological makeup
either independent or struggling to be independent.2 National
integration is a positive concept to inculcate feeling of togetherness amongst
diverse sections of society. It is not the uniformity of all religions, dress
and food habits etc. It means both preservation of diverse cultures and at the
same time living, respecting and working in harmony with each other for the
overall prosperity of the nation.
The meaning of national integration touches
almost all points of national life. It synthesizes the sentiments and values of
different castes, linguistic, regional and religious communities emotionally
into a compact whole. It checks out narrow tendencies which are great
hindrances to national unity and national progress. In brief it is can be
easily understood by these lines:
(i) A feeling of brotherhood in the minds of
the citizens of a country.
(ii) A feeling of cohesion.
(iii) A feeling of harmony.
(iv) A feeling of loyalty to the country.
(v) A feeling of patriotism.
(vi) A feeling of oneness.
(vii) A feeling of solidarity.
(viii) A feeling of tolerance, especially
tolerance of others, beliefs, etc.
(ix) A feeling of unity of the country and
(x) ‘We feeling’ and not ‘I feeling’.
In simple words we can say National
Integration means the process as a result of which community attains a
psychological emotional and spiritual unity and solidarity and starts behaving
as a strong and united nation committed to secure the national goals of
socioeconomic- politico-cultural development. National integration refers to
national unity and a sense of belonging to the nation. It is an essential
aspect in the making of a nation. Integration means that all the individuals of
the society feel that they are an important part of the society every member of
the society identifies himself with the society state and nation in which he
resides and inculcates the societal values rules and regulations and behaviour
of that society even though every individual has his own aims and ambitions
behaving in a way that his own welfare depends on the welfare of the society is
called integration. A society and such a state comprises individuals and
communities associations institutions group’s families etc. built on the basis
of race, colour, religion, caste, sex, etc…
National Integration was defined by the first
National Integration Conference in 1965 as: “a psychological and educational
process, involving the development of a feeling of unity (oneness) solidarity
(team spirit) and cohesion (bond) in the hearts of the people, a sense of
common citizenship and a deep feeling of loyalty to the nation”. 3
According to Rupert Emerson,
“Integration is the process followed by the ethnically plural society in
which different groups having different language, customs, values and cultures,
bring them into one national culture by eliminating their parochial loyalities.
National integration refers specifically to the problem of creating a sense of
territorial nationality which overshadows or removes subordinate parochial
J.A. Cutlet defines National Integration “as a process of
becoming a whole, of acquiring consciousness, of having a goal which makes it
possible to rally round a pole of conjuction.” Another scholar defines National
Integration in terms of emotional and psychological integration of the people
through the inculcation of a spirit of spiritual, moral, national unity-
Myron Weiner ” National integration covers a vast range of
human relationship and attitudes- the integration of diverse and discrete
cultural loyalties, and the development of a sense of nationality (unity), the
integration of political units into a common territorial framework with a
government which can exercise authority, the integration of the rulers (Elites)
and the ruled (Masses), the integration of the citizens into a common political
process, and finally, the integration of individuals and organizations for
Myron Weiner further observes that National
Integration is the sum total of Territorial Integration and National Identity,
Political Integration, Elite Mass Integration, Cultural Integration,
Integrative Behaviour and defines them briefly as:
(i) Territorial Integration and National
Identity is the way toward uniting socially and socially discrete gatherings
into a solitary regional unit, and the foundation of a national personality.
(ii) Political Integration is the Process of
building up a national focal specialist over subordinate political units or
(iii) Elite Mass Integration is the forging
of links between the ruling elite and the broad mass of people who are ruled,
i.e. reducing the gulf between the elite and the masses in terms of aspirations
and life conditions.
(iv) Cultural Integration is the development
of minimum value-consensus necessary to maintain a social order.
(v) Integrative Behaviour is Securing of
integrative behaviour which involves the capacity of the people in a society to
organize for some common purpose5.
Considering all facts we can state that
National Integration is the process of joining together and arranging the
general population of the nation into a well-knit country, group candidly
joined together and resolved to serve the national enthusiasm through
integrative endeavors involving territorial integration, emotional integration,
political integration, cultural integration, elite-mass integration and
integrative behaviour. In fact, National Integration means the inculcation of a
spirit of unity in diversity and emotional integration among the people6.
Prof. Rasheeduddin Khan’s model of
National Integration that has been accepted in India, which is rightly observed as “It means and ought to
mean cohesion not fusion, unity but not uniformity, reconciliation but not
merger, agglomeration but not assimilation of the discrete segments of the
people who constitute a political
community or state.”7
According to Dorothy Thomoson, ‘National
Integration’ ‘is a feeling that binds the citizens of a country together’.
National integration is ‘the job to inculcate knowledge of our county, pride in
it, and respect for the best in our national environment, aspiration and
traditions and a wish to improve our country’.
According to Dr. Radhakrishnan ‘National
integration cannot be built by brick and mortar. It cannot be carved by chisel
and hammer. It has to grow silently in the minds and hearts of men. The only
process is the process of education.
According to Kothari Commission (1964 – 66)
‘National integration is the first step for creation of a strong united country
which is an essential precondition for all progresses. And further explained
that national integration is a blend of sentiments resulting in love for the
According to Iqbal Narain “National
Integration as a concept is at once wholistic and multi dimensional. It is
wholistic because it takes into account society, culture, economy, polity,
administration and even education by way of t r i b u t a r i e s. It is
multi-dimensional because it is a question of cultural politico administrative,
economic and emotional integration”.8 The prime minister, Mrs.
Indira Gandhi once remarked in her speech in 1969 that integration is a vital
condition of national life and progress and that the greatest threat to
integration came from communalism. She appealed to all political leaders to
treat the problem of national integration as national not as a political issue.
While addressing a meeting of the steering commission of the national
integration council, she said that the barriers in the minds of the people
standing in the way of national integration could be knocked down one by one,
when we take it up as a national issue and do not try to take political
advantage out of it. She further added that the government was keen on the
cooperation of all parties and the people in promoting the task of national
Smt. Indira Gandhi made every possible way to
integrate India into a single unit and led her life in the way of national
integration. Her views on National integration of India can be seen from the
lines which will give a proper knowledge how conscious she was for national
integration. “If I die a violent death, as some fear and a few are plotting, I
know that the violence will be in the thought and the action of the assassins,
not in my dying. But every drop of my blood will strengthen the unity, peace and
brotherhood of the Country” Smt. Indira Gandhi in her speech at Bhubaneswar on
30th October 1984-a day before her death. India observes 19th November, the
birth anniversary of former Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, every year, as
National Integration Day. Its main aim is to promote among the peoples unity,
peace, affection and brotherhood. On 31st October 1984, Indira Gandhi was
assassinated by her own body guards. She was the victim of the demand for the
creation of a separate state of Khalistan out of the state of Punjab. The
commemoration of Mrs. Gandhi birth anniversary as National Integration Day
speaks volumes about her commitment and the supreme sacrifice that she made for
protecting and promoting the unity and integrity of India, since independence, has
been struggling to keep its unity intact. Mrs. Gandhi has done yeomen service
for the cause of National Integration. In fact, she had laid down her life for
it. She made it amply clear in her last speech on 30th October 1984 at
Bhubaneswar that she was prepared to go to any length to protect and promote
the unity and integrity of the nation.12When the country was
partitioned, communal clashes culminated in the death of thousands of innocent
people and in the martyrdom of the father of the Nation, Fifteen years after
the independence, the situation was not much better. The then Prime Minister,
Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, convened National Integration Conference in
September-October, 1961 to find ways and means to combat the evils of
communalism, casteism, regionalism, linguism and narrow mindedness, and to
formulate definite conclusions in order to give a lead to the country. This
conference decided to set up a National Integration Council (NIC) to review all
matters pertaining to national integration and to make recommendations thereon.
The NIC was constituted accordingly and in 1962, Jawaharlal Nehru convened the
first National Integration council to discuss the question of national
integration and to evolve the methods of making every Indian realize the importance
of national unity. At the time of Chinese invasion of India (1962), the whole
country rose as one man, condemned the aggression and was prepared to make any
sacrifice in order to save every inch of the country’s territory. When in later
years, there was no common enemy to fight with how ever Indians started
quarrelling with one another.
It is extremely significant to note that
Indira Gandhi, whenever she talked of national integration, appealed to the
people to derive their inspiration from the glorious epoch of nationalist
struggle launched under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Her world view of the nationalist phase of struggle was colored by her faith on
non-violence, secularism and democratic values, which provided sustenance and
inspiration to Indian people as a whole. The Government of India, after the
achievement of independence, assiduously sought to promote these values. Indira
Gandhi often stressed the efficacy of a policy of right means and right ends
following Gandhiji philosophy. She said so often: “Violence never solved any
problem however noble our objectives might be; if we adopt wrong means we
cannot achieve these objective satisfactorily”. 9
The concept of national integration refers to
national unity or we can say oneness of the whole country. The main motive of
national integration in India is to build the nation within the nation.
National integration has played a key role in the development of nations. One
can find a sense of strong national integration in any developed nation. India
is leading among the developing nations and the problem of national integration
is one of the hindrances in its way. A need of strong national integration is
the need of hour to change the status of our nation from developing to