Indians have many reasons of keeping India united. Most widely argued reason is that India may look diverse but internal structure of culture is quite similar across all over the country. I was never moved by this argument. This argument can easily be extended to world level. One can further argue that world may look diverse but internal structure of each society of the world based on same values so world should be one country. I don´t think there are many who will accept this extended argument. In my opinion, the fundamental reason of existence of a country is ‘practicality’. If people of a piece of land can organize themselves with reasonable amount of effort and peacefully develop their society then they can be in one country. The amount of effort, which goes in keeping a country organized, depends on the cultural diversity, historical animosities, availability of technology, and international politics. Here, I want to develop an argument in favor of Indian unity in the light of International politics.
India came into being when people started calling this peninsula as India. It was popularized when Europeans started calling us Indians during the era of Imperialism. Mugals and British played an important role to create and intensify the feeling of India. Against Mugal, Hindus were united only at the level of identity but there was no organized unity. Against British, Hindu and Muslims achieved a certain level of brotherhood. This course of history may not have created a perfect concept of one nation but it injected the feeling of nationhood. Indians attempted an impulsive and violent freedom struggle in 1857 which was terribly failed. After that, along side of the rise of karl marx and socialism, Indians created their own version of socialist and sluggish freedom movement.
British let us achieve our freedom in 1947 with a partition. It can’t be called strictly a partition. There was no free country before British occupation. If an external occupying force (British) call a region with a same name (India) then it doesn’t imply the region is one nation. Although i disagree with the reasons given for justification of creation of Pakistan but I strongly think that existence of Pakistan is as legitimate as existence of India. (Need better wordings)
India was liberated in the background of two mutually hostile world powers. By the time of 1960, world was in a really hot ‘cold war’. Both the parties of the cold war wanted as many countries in their camp. It was a significant political dynamics. There were so many poor countries with desperate need of help. All kinds of dirty games were played to influence the alignment of these countries in cold war. South America, Africa, Middle East, and South east Asia (approximately whole world) were the play grounds of these games. US used series of covert or direct military interventions in internal politics of many countries. Main objective of these operations were to keep governments of these poor countries aligned to US. In the same way, Soviets were directly using military forces to make countries communist. These interventions destroyed political structure of many countries. Due to these political turmoils, dictators easily grabbed power in many countries and they were able to rule by harsh repression of their population. People were forced to be poor and in ever lasting need for help.
India was lacking behind in technology, economic structure, and many basic resources. It needed external help. This made India very susceptible to similar kind of interventions (by US or Soviet) in the name of help. India wanted to avoid to join any side of cold war. India started non-alignment movement. Indian politician played very careful game to seek as much help as possible from these powers. Sometimes US and Soviet succeeded in influencing fate of India but failed to intercept in Indian government at large scale. India was consolidated as a significantly large union. This gave a kind of immunity from external manipulation. Socialism was deeply rooted in early Indian leadership. There were greedy Indian politicians but they mostly tried to work in a socialist framework. This lead to a complicated system of politics in which it is very difficult for an external force to manipulate.
India and Middle East can be compared for ‘American or western influence in the internal politics’. Historically Middle east and India share a quite similar history. Both had a history of quarreling kings which were taken over by an organized power. India was taken over by British for approx 250 years and liberated after second world war. Middle East and North Africa were ruled by Ottoman empire for 500 year.
In first world war, Europeans took over Middle East from Ottoman empire and distributed territory among themselves. By the end of second world war, Middle east was freed and divided into many countries. Most of the them were taken over by feudal rulers who inherit their royal kingdom which were lost to Ottoman empire or to Europeans. These rulers were hand picked by Europeans such that European interest is continued to be protected.
Things happened in India in a different way. Failure of freedom struggle of 1857 played a significant role in rest of freedom fighting politics. This failure destroyed many significant royal families in North India. In result, There was a political void to represent Indians which used to be filled by hereditary kings. This political void gave way for socialist leaders to take over. These new wave of leaders believed in relatively advance form of government. They recognized that Indian nationalism has to be solidify to gain political strength. At the time of freedom, There were no strong kings who were able to make claim for independent countries.
During the last 60 years, Middle East has been victim of mutual animosities which are actively exploited by US. If India is divided like Middle East countries then there would have been such massive intervention by US. Rajsthan might have been attacking UP with the help of US arms. Or Goa would have been occupied by Maharashtra and US would be attacking Maharastra for the crime of international aggression. My opinion is that unification of India has saved hundreds of year of learning curve of mutual peace and brotherhood.
India is not a perfect country. There are many forces which still wants to split it in parts. I hope they will soon learn why it is good to live together and solve the problems peacefully.