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Modis of the future

8 9 0

India has always been an amalgamation of provinces ruled by regional satraps. From the Marathas of Maharashtra to the Rajputs of Marwar, regional dominance of individual leaders evolved and thrived giving the country its quintessential composite culture.

At the time of British withdrawal in 1947, India comprised 565 kingdoms. Each province commanded a loyal mass base and was governed by hierarchical orders. At the top of this order were rulers whose claim to power was mostly based on inheritance.

These regional entities were dealt with by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to join the independent and united republic of India. Today, hundreds of members of the erstwhile royal families are elected or nominated members of Parliament and legislative assemblies, and preside over their respective constituencies as part of our democratic set-up.

Beyond this 'regional kingdoms' (modern day states)-based governance set-up, there is a unique and natural regional influence to our existence as Indians.

Decade after another, we continue to exhibit a special adherence and comfort towards the eclectic mix of local food, language, people, traditions and regional political leaders. The idea of regional existence is so ingrained that only mega events such as India's victory in cricket World Cup or the narrative of finding a national enemy in Pakistan, manage to unite our regional dominions to act as a common nation. Barring such rare opportunities, we are a nation which is a collective of regional identities and leadership.

Issues concerning any one region are likely to have a greater impact on the people of that particular region. When Maratha forces fight a war, regional hero Shivaji Maharaj takes centre-stage and when sugarcane farmers in Uttar Pradesh protest for better support prices, we find another regional leader, Mulayam Singh, assuming significance. The entire country has seen the rise of such cult state-level leaders from Maharana Pratap to J Jayalalithaa from time to time.

Face of........

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