We have always been taught all our lives - India represents Unity in Diversity. Spread over more than 26 states and union territories, we stand united whenever we are in dire straits. Indian Army, Indian Bureaucracy, Indian Sports teams etc. are made up of people from all the places in the country we can think of. We said moving from Kashmir to KanyaKumari we would change language every 500 kilometers and change lifestyle every 1000 kilometers. But in effect everyone "different" was bound by identical spirit of Indianism.
However behind this rosy picture, there is something glaring that probably we all have continued to miss and we maintain a blind eye towards it.
Anywhere in the country, schools, colleges, workplaces, research institutions, even defense forces, it is very easy to spot groups of people moving together. Groups not made out of interest, but groups made on regional basis. All north Indian stick together, all Maharastriyans move as a group, all Tamilians prefer to speak in Tamil even when in company of other people, all Bengalis would prefer to find other Bengalis. Army has a separate Jaat Regiment, Gurkha Rifles, so forth and so on (I don't know much about army though). And with this kind of segregation, where is the "unity in diversity" we always preached?
There was a time when people of the entire nation would stand together and fight for the common cause. Remember the fight for independence? Now people from a particular region would come together and demand their own state because they think that they are a distinct group and their unique problems can only be sorted out by a separate state.
It's a shame but I admit I don't know the exact number of states that we have now, when I was in school there were 25 states and 7 UTs but there have been splits ever since, difficult to keep track. I don't even remember how many splits have we had in last 15 years. There was one in Bihar, one in Madhya Pradesh, one in Uttar Pradesh. That's all I remember as of now. Are we soon approaching time when we have more than 1000 regions because we have that many number of major dialects?
People often ask me "where are you from?" question. If I say I am an Indian, they need further explanations. They just can not digest the fact that a person could just be an Indian. He has to be Marwari, Baniya, Punjabi, Sindhi etc. Can we come out of this silo mentality? What would it take to come out of the silo mentality?
As an Indian - only Indian, not as a Baniya, Marwari, Haryanvi I sincerely feels something ought to be done about this. Of course I don't have a "sensational" issue. There would be no support from Indian media until I throw some allegations of caste discrimination on a prominent leader.