Fluid boundaries – Inter-State disputes resolution lies in a political culture respectful of diversity

Source: The post is based on the following articles

“Fluid boundaries – Inter-State disputes resolution lies in a political culture respectful of diversity” published in The Hindu on 21st November 2022.

“The battle for Belagavi” published in the Indian Express on 21st November 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure.

Relevance: About Inter-State disputes.

News: The dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra over areas that both States claim to be theirs has led to violence recently. Both the Maharashtra and Karnataka legislative assemblies are prepared to pass resolutions that frame a hardening of their respective stances. The centre asked the states to wait for the Supreme Court to adjudicate the matter.

What is the Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute?
Read here: Explained | What is the Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute?

In 1957, Maharashtra claimed 814 villages and the three urban settlements of Belagavi, Karwar and Nippani in Karnataka. Karnataka on the other hand claim areas in Kolhapur, Sholapur and Sangli districts in Maharashtra.

What are the challenges in resolving inter-State disputes?

a) Many boundary disputes originated along with the 1956 linguistic reorganisation of Indian States. Hence, it is not easily amenable to technical and legal solutions, b) Not only Belagavi, but many other border towns and villages also have multilingual populations. Hence, carving out a political area that neatly fits with various linguistic groups is impossible in India. Further, almost all States have linguistic minorities that are accorded special rights.

Must read: Karnataka-Maharashtra Border Dispute – Explained, pointwise
What should be done to resolve inter-State disputes?

-India’s fluid political and cultural boundaries crisscross the entire landscape of India. So, harmony can be achieved only by embracing and promoting a political culture that is respectful of diversity that cannot be neatly demarcated.

-States should understand that language has been central to the formation of social identities, it became a marker of state boundaries only after Independence. So, the state boundaries were expected to be soft borders that allowed bilingual or multilingual communities to flourish, as they did in the past.

India’s multilingualism cross-fertilised the production of literature in Indian languages and ensured the seamless transfer of ideas across linguistic subcultures. It is time for our states to ensure and embrace multilingualism.

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