NEW DELHL India: Punjab has represented to the Sarkaria Commission that only way to contain a multinational society in a single state is to have a genuinely federal form of government. Other considerations also call for this approach. Punjab has suggested that to remove all doubts about the character of the Constitution, the expression Federal may be added after the expression Democratic in the Preamble. At present main threat to India’s unity and integrity is that the nationalist centralization drive may alienate many nationalities and ethnic groups from a United India.
These views have been expressed ‘by the Punjab government in a 283 page memorandum submitted to Sarkaria Commission by the Chief Minister. Interestingly the memorandum was submitted to the Commission on the eve of non-Congress (I) Chief Minister’s conference. It said that the process of centralization was accelerated in the post-independence period by several new factors. It has led to the emergence of multinational societies in India. At the same time powerful social forces have emerged which are working for a highly centralized de facto unitary state under their own domination. They are increasingly strengthening their bases.
To fight forces of Hindi Hindu Hindustan chauvinism, the memorandum says, the multinational federal state is the only feasible proposition. There are several multinational states in the world. A genuinely federal state structure provides an effective device to base the unity and integrity of multinational state on a solid foundation.
Giving reasons for Centre state problems it blamed contradicting policies of the Center. On the one hand several states were organized on linguistic basis that became homelands of distinct people. On the other hand additional unity features are being introduced by a centralization drive by the Center. On the questions of greater state autonomy, the memorandum said this case is based not on traditional notion of federalism but in the fact that only genuinely federal state structure can provide an enduring basis for the country’s unity and integrity in a society which has increasingly acquired multinational character. The linguistic reorganization of states has been an act of great foresight and this process must be taken to a principled and logical! conclusion:
It says constitution contains many provisions for safeguarding country’s unity and integrity. Some of these are not necessary and appropriate. There is a need for economic and political measures to reinforce the constitutional provisions for safeguarding country’s unity and integrity.
Article extracted from this publication >> May 1, 1987