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There is more to state flags than meets the eye

Those who pinpoint that national identity of US and Germany are healthy despite having state flags, are missing a point: "Sub-national identities in a territorial nation like India are stronger."

One of the unifying factors of India is the appreciation of its diversity. "Respect our sub-nationalism and we keep Indian nationalism above it"

This outward pressure is practically absent in Germany, as it is a nation based on common language, and the State of US has its own history of gradually gaining and losing streaks of legitimacy over these 200 years.

This legitimacy of German State will be under crisis only if the State fails in distributive[Aristotle] and social justice, or the pride centering its historical events of German unification is diluted.

My opinion is that the concerns and insecurity about the unity of India in this state flag issue is genuine, and must be addressed.

I don't think its not that simple to conclude that since states already have their own emblem or anthem, adding another entity like flag is no big deal.

The State of India gained its legitimacy through the nationalists' unanimous opposition to the colonial rule and the cognition of self-rule. Owing to India's diversity, our founding fathers propagated territorial nationalism.

The fundamental idea behind the secular Indian identity is this: We were oppressed together, and we feel as one for various reasons. But we have different cultures. Therefore, the more our diversity is undisturbed and cherished, the more unified we will be.

The fundamental idea behind the Indian State is this: We are still a nation in the making. Let us politically, socially and economically integrate India with a strong centre and sub-nationally backed up federal units.

Unless this unanimous struggle against the common enemy - colonial British regime - is transcended to the next generation, unless our cultural diversity is appreciated, the question of legitimacy of Indian State will arise.

Even if its done, the question of legitimacy will arise anyway, as the feel of somehow being connected to the nationalist Independence movement will gradually diminish among future generations.

Question of legitimacy will also happen if the Indian State fails cognitively, morally and pragmatically before its citizens, as Mark Suchman puts, or if the sub-national identity gets above the Indian national identity.

As a student of history, I very much love the idea of India, and its socio-political experiment of trying to be a minor model of a united world despite the differences.

And yes, the Indian State has done a pretty neat job in sustaining its legitimacy, developmentally and philosophically, over the last 70 years, though it is not perfect and pan-Indian.

But since we're dealing with an enormous population of various interests here, I don't want a 'condition of jeopardy that arises because of contradicting motivations of the subsystems within a self-enclosed system' [Jürgen Habermas]

I am not detached from this society; I do love my sub-national identity. Now what kind of changes does my state flag brings within me with respect to my allegiance to India, say in 20-30 years?

Ofcourse, I do like my state to have its own flag, and it sounds amazing! But before that I want these concerns to be addressed. I want debates on these happen as India turns 70 this year.

The question of whether state flags are necessary or not should not be reduced to constitutional possibilities alone, or to a matter of state rights. Rather, it needs a broader political scientific approach.

This actually gives us an opportunity to do one task which we will anyway be doomed to do - Looking back, introspecting, and reinventing the idea of India for the upcoming generations.


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