[Answered] At the heart of the Belagavi dispute is monolingualism that seeks to refute the existence of multilingual cultures and communities. Critically Analyze the statement.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.

Body: Explain why Belagavi dispute seeks to refute the existence of multilingual cultures and communities.. Also write significance of multilingual cultures and communities.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The Karnataka-Maharashtra Border Dispute has its origins in the reorganisation of states along linguistic lines via the State Reorganisation Act, 1956. Since its creation on May 1, 1960, Maharashtra has claimed that 865 villages, including Belagavi (then Belgaum) should be merged into Maharashtra. These regions have a significant Marathi-speaking population. On the other hand, some villages in Maharashtra want to join Karnataka.

Counter the existence of multilingual cultures and communities:

  • Linguistic Identities: Several inter-state border disputes have their roots in the reorganisation of states in the 1950s, which was primarily based on language. As a result, there have been a border disputes between Karnataka and Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana and so on.
  • The division of states linguistic basis removed the major discord and disharmony among people. For ex. separation of Andhra from Madras addresses the agitation and protest by Telugu speaking people.
  • Creation of state which are homogeneous in nature improved the functioning of the state and government has been able to better connect with the masses in the language in which they understand. For ex. creation of Gujarat from Bombay.
  • States can have their own official languages and official works could be carried on more efficiently to the lowest level.
  • Fear of majority language imposition on minorities can be averted.

Significance of multilingualism:

  • Cultural Diversity: Diversity in languages reflects and enhances cultural diversity. Unwritten languages rich in oral traditions, stories, songs, poetry, and ritual passed down through the generations constitute cultural diversity of a nation.
  • A glimpse of our past: Languages provides a glimpse of our history. Once a language is lost it is a loss of history and culture associated with that language.
  • Environment: The biological diversity and linguistic diversity go hand in hand. If one is threatened, then so is the other. Languages contain rich, detailed and technical knowledge about the flora, fauna, and habitat of that area.

Way forward:

  • The Supreme Court should take a more proactive approach in settling the Inter-State Disputes.
  • Inter-State Council should be enabled to play a more proactive role in Centre-State/Inter-state cooperation and dispute settlement.
  • All Stakeholders (Union Government, State Governments, Political Parties) should be mindful of the concerns of the local residents and should settle disputes taking into account their interests.
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