There has been a gradual shift from regionalism to nationalism, from nationalism to humanism, worldwide. While all the three traits, in different extent, are visible in every modern human being one or two of them are dominant in nations, regions and communities. But there is hardly a good balance seen among the all three in most parts of the world. One comes at the cost of the other! People often overlook humanism in the name of regionalism and nationalism. Even regionalism grows at the cost of nationalism. The spirit of the three human traits is also based on issues. One person with strong regional spirit – even at the cost of being ‘anti-national’ – on one issue can be very patriotic, even to the extent of sacrificing human values.
Very strong spirit of regionalism is a prime cause of conflicts in the North-east, Jammu and Kashmir, the Naxal belt etc. The North-east being the home to several hundred tribes and communities, with different dialects and languages, has suffered from conflicts for decades. States like Manipur, Nagaland, Assam and Meghalaya have seen many ethnic massacres over the decades. However, the frequency of such incidents has come down, to a great extent. Regionalism is slowly being replaced by nationalism, and also humanism. Bangladeshi migrants are no more beaten in public in Assam.
The growing spirit of nationalism is also seen during celebration of Independence Day, Republic Day etc. Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, while reacting to ‘serial blasts’ on Independence Day in upper Assam sans any human casualty, rightly pointed out the blasts failed to prevent people from coming to the celebration. Nowadays, every institution is proud to celebrate the national days. Schools are in a race to outdo each other in terms of volume and quality of Independence Day programmes. There is a competitive spirit among district authorities to become innovative in the celebration. West Garo Hills district in Meghalaya hosted a football tournament with teams renamed as ‘Bhagat Singh’, ‘Mangal Pandey’ etc.
As the gradual shift from regionalism to nationalism is visible, humanism has still taken the backseat. In a globalised world, conflicts between races and nations will continue unless humanism spirit takes root in humans. Natives of the world must learn to live like one, else the future is doomed.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on August 19, 2016)