Geographical basis of Indian federalism

A federation is born when the political units in a region possess strong identities which create in them a genuine desire to maintain their separate existence even as they share certain vital features which call for a strongly co-ordinated and united existence.Thus federalism can be viewed as a response to the enormous diversities that exist within the state.

An important reason for the development of a federal type of political structure is large size. The extensive geographical spread of the country is conducive to the growth of regional diversities in social milieu. Even with modern developments in transport and communications, it is difficult to administer such large territories with a unitary system. In India, there are 28 states and 7 UTs.

The diversity of natural physiographic features has contributed to the emergence of different forms and patterns of interaction between human beings and nature in the different regions of India.

Here the Vindhyas act as a formidable barrier between the northern plane and southern plateau. Thus the Aryan north is culturally different from Dravidian south. But this change from north to south is not sudden. Instead there exists a transition area consisting of the forest covered tracts of central India inhabited by the tribal groups whose culture differs from either two.

The north and south are further divided by into several smaller linguistic cultural subdivisions by certain topographical lineaments at the landscape.

The Indus valley region is separated from Ganga plain by the wide expense of the Rajasthan desert & is connected with the latter only by a narrow corridor to the north of Delhi. But from here to the Far East there is no geographical divide thus this part has seen some homogeneous cultural complex upto the Chottanagpur plateau except Bengal which has developed its own language.

Further the Brahamputra valley of Assam with its own linguistic cultural complex has also made small units of distinct identity.

South of Indus-Ganga plain are, from west to east- Gujrat, Maharashtra, MP, Jharkhand, Orissa- each of them though Indo-Aryan in their linguistic cultural complex have developed their own language and script.

The Tamil speaking area is roughly separated by Mysore Ghats from Karnataka and Western Ghats from Kerala. North of Tamilnadu and east of Kannada and Marathi speaking areas is the Telugu speaking Andhra Pradesh dominated by the riverine tracts of Krishna & Godawari.

The people of India have interacted with different environment thus their response to the distinct landscapes have distinct regional flavours. The food habits, styles of clothing and shelter, economic activities, dialects, festivals, all acquire a regional stamp.

India has been a home to immigrants from various regions over time. They have come by different routes- by sea to the west and the south, and through the mountain passes in the north-west and in the north-east. They have concentrated in different regions and given rise to distinct cultural aspects.

In the circumstances a federal system becomes necessary if the regional diversity is to be accommodated in governing the country.

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  Posted on Wednesday, October 5th, 2016 at 9:03 AM under   Geography