ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Partnership on New Terms

or the demands of the people of the hill areas for autonomy. But only a a few days later a prominent member of the Council was attacking political parties which preached that India was a subcontinent composed of a num- ber of sub-nations. This mechanical approach to national unity was in the past responsible for the resistance to formation of unilingual States, for the attempt to enforce a uniform official language on the whole country and for excessive centralisation in planning; it is now at the bottom of the opposition to the demands for autonomy of the hill tribes. Experience in each case has shown that such a view of national unity can only generate ten- sions ; it has also shown that genuine integration has to be based on a realistic acceptance that India is a multinational state with many languages and cultures. Given the democratic political framework, a large multinational state can be viable only on the basis of autonomy for the constituent sub-nationalities, The State government is more directly accountable to the people of the State than the government at the Centre. So it should have adequate powers and enough room for initiative so that its policies and programmes have a fair chance of being tested out in. action. The need for greater decentralisation and more powers for th-s States in economic matters has long been conceded on grounds of efficiency ; now the case acquires a vital political aspect. The autonomy has, of course, to be within the framework of the Constitution, though EMS Namboodiripad may feel, with much justification, that though the Constitution guarantees a number of Fundamental Rights, in fact every other right is subordinated to the right to property and though, by contrast, the Constitution places no comparable hurdles in the way of a government wedded to free enterprise capitalism. But here it has to be accepted that so long as it does not have the necessary support to enable it to have the Constitution amended, a political party has to function within the limits imposed by the Constitution.

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