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Absurdity of national borders: How LBA will challenge the concept of national identity

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By Prachi Mishra

Recently Bangladesh and India sealed a historic land pact, ending the boundary dispute through exchange of territories. This agreement will allow people living in border enclaves to choose whether they want to live in India or in Bangladesh, with the option of being granted citizenship in the newly designated territories.

This land swap agreement deal has brought into focus the significance of national borders and their role in forming national identity of a citizen. It has raised several questions like how with a stroke of pen, a new territory is created, granting a new national identity to the citizens and how rigid are the identities thus formed.

National identity can be termed as one’s sense of belonging to a particular nation. It is something which differentiates a set of people belonging to one nation from the people of other nations.

However, this concept again raises a variety of questions – How is this sense of belonging created? Is national identity determined by the spatial demarcations? How stable are such identities? Does birth in a country determines one’s national identity? And most importantly do the individuals themselves have a role in the construction of their national identity?

In order to determine what forms a national identity, it’s necessary to talk about the concept of nation and what constitutes it. A nation can be referred to as a definite social space demarcated and bounded by territory. These definite boundaries create a sense of belonging to a particular space. However, these spaces are not that definite as we have seen in the historic partition of India or in the recent land swap deal.

When a nation is partitioned, borders are drawn between the two nation-states, separating one from the other. The border lines thus drawn, contribute only to problematize the situations and relations of a large number of people across it.

After the partition the refugees’ identities undergo a significant transformation, dictated by the changing landscape. A new national identity which is based on geographical grounds is imposed upon them.

Then, another factor which seems to be essential to create a sense of belonging is the law or the legal institutions of a nation. The people have some common legal institutions and a single code of rights and laws for all the members of the community. However one might question that the people, whose national identity is determined by these laws, are they involved in the making of such laws?

Other than the legal system, another factor which evokes a sense of belonging is the common civic culture. The common culture and religious practices are used to create a sense of belonging to a unified nation. Ethnicity is said to be one of the major influence in determining the national identity.

While talking about the concept of national identity one also needs to consider the effect of globalization in identity formation. In the modern world people migrate from one nation to territory, but do their national identity also changes?

One might question that when a new territorial boundary is etched, forming a new space, do the ethnicity and the adherence to specific set code of rights and laws also undergo a transformation? Can cultures be contained within boundaries demarcated by maps?

The geographical boundaries determine a demarcated territory of a state. However, these boundaries are dynamic and unstable; they change, shift and rearrange themselves as a result of multiple factors like politics, religion and language. So it won’t be erroneous to say that concepts like ‘nation’ and ‘national identity’ based on the geographical borders seem to be in flux rather than fixed.

 

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Big reforms made India fastest growing major economies globally: Garg

It also has enormous implications for emerging markets and developing countries

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The RBI building in Mumbai. Photo credit: AFP/Sajjad Hussain

The major reforms undertaken by the Indian government for raising economic growth and maintaining macroeconomic stability have made the country one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, said Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA).

Garg was addressing the Special Event hosted by US-India Strategic Partnership Forum on ‘Indian Economy: Prospect and Challenges’ in Washington D.C on Friday.

Indian economy needs big reform.

He said the launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) represented an “historic economic and political achievement, unprecedented in Indian tax and economic reforms, which has rekindled optimism on structural reforms.” He further emphasized that India carried-out such major reforms when the global economy was slow.

“With the cyclical recovery in global growth amid supportive monetary conditions and the transient impact of the major structural reforms over, India will continue to perform robustly,” Garg said.

During his meetings, Garg highlighted that the digital age technologies have profound implications for policies concerning every aspects of the economy. It also has enormous implications for emerging markets and developing countries.

Also Read: Biggest Bank Frauds Which Shook The Indian Economy

He expressed that the response to such a transformation will have to shift from ‘catch up’ growth to adoption/adaption of digital technologies for development and growth.

Garg also informed that India has started adopting policies and programmes for transforming systems of delivery of services using digital technologies and connecting every Indian with digital technologies and access through Aadhaar and other such means.

Indian economy should be on rise. www.mapsofindia.com

While citing the example of expanding mobile data access, he mentioned that India is now the largest consumer of mobile data in the world with 11 gigabytes mobile data consumption per month. He informed that India is investing in digital technologies, encouraging private sector to adapt these technologies and also addressing the taxation related issues by introducing equalisation levy.

Garg is currently on an official tour to Washington D.C. to attend the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and other associated meetings. He is accompanied by Urjit Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India and other senior officials. IANS