National Integration is a process involving the development of a feeling of unity and solidarity in the hearts of people. It is a sense of common citizenship and a feeling of loyalty to the nation as a whole.

Ours is a nation of various religions and languages, caste and creeds. Despite all these we stood solidly behind great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose and fought for freedom from the foreign powers. But after 58 years of independence we still talks of ways of promoting national integration. It is really unfortunate.

There are many factors that disrupt the integrity of the nation. For example, the communal riots, the atrocities committed on Harijans in various parts of the country, the linguistic chauvinism displayed by people and terrorist activities unleashed on particular communities have threatened the integrity of the nation. All these incidents led to the need of a greater sense of national unity among the people.

Even after 58 years of independence it has not been possible to achieve the feelings of oneness. The tendency to think of only one’s state and allow purely local interest to override national considerations is seen everywhere. The concept of every citizen being Indian first and Indian last is ignored. The battle against factional loyalty should be fought right from the beginning.

To achieve the integrity the younger generations should be taught its importance. They must be taught to think in terms of the country as a whole at the school stage itself. The theme of national integration should be included in their text books.

The emphasis should clearly be on the sharing of common goals which alone can promote unity in diversity.

The social and economic integration of the population have not yet been an accomplished fact. We should try for the attainment of an effective and vital unity in diversity of faiths and cultures. We must have a strong feeling to remain one nation and one people.

But how much it is possible under the circumstances? It casts shadow over the expectations. The Sikhs in Punjab are demanding for a separate Khalistan. The Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir are asking for an independent state. They have posed a serious threat to the national integration. But how and when can we find a solution to these problems? It is yet to be seen.