Unity in Diversity: The Case Study of Tripura’s Success Story
Tripura is the third-smallest state in the country. And it covers 10,491 km2 and is bordered by Bangladesh to the North, South, and West, and the Indian states of Assam and Mizoram to the East. In 2011 the state had population of 3,671,032, constituting 0.3% of the country's population. Tripura is one of the most diversified states of India in terms of geography, population, culture, religion, language, food habit. If we travel from North Tripura District to South Tripura District or from Dhalai District to West Tripura District , we will come across the various diverse aspects of this tiny states of India. Here more than 30 percent of population belong to Schedule Tribes and 17 percent population belongs to Schedule Caste. Among these 30 percent ST population there are 19 tribes and many more sub tribes. The people belonging to these 19 tribes have their own culture, food habit , language etc.
Again, the SC population have more than 34 sub castes. They also have some unique identity. Now come to the language. Here Bengali, Kokborok, Manipuri, Hindi, Garo, English, Punjabi, Oria etc are spoken. If we travel from Kailshahar to Khowai or Dharmanagar to Belonia we will have various forms of the language Bengali. Most of the people in the state follow Hinduism. However, there are many people belonging to other faith like - Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Punjabi, Janis etc live peacefully in Tripura. Dress code of people of different religion or tribes or caste is also different. So, in Tripura we find diversity everywhere. Now the question is how then unity is maintained here so smoothly. Unity of so many people having different religion, culture, food habit is maintained through mutual respect and understanding. Diversity has been the main strength of Tripura. There are many factors, which had a unifying effect in Tripura- High literacy rate, presence of media, folk culture, progressive cultural groups, NGOs, etc pressure groups etc.
Due to high literacy rate in the state any attempt to destabilise the peace and tranquillity of the state is faced with strong resistance. As the population is mostly educated, it is very difficult to spread rumour. Rumour is the main reason for mutual misunderstanding. In Tripura Mainstream Indian cultural elements and traditional culture coexists. Here you will find many Bengalis who know Kokborok better than their mother tongue. At the same time, there are many people of Tribal origin who know Bengali better than their mother tongue kokborok. Inter caste and inter tribe marriage has become a common occurrence in Tripura. Due to assimilation of different culture a much better culture has emerged in Tripura.
If the main strength of Tripura i.e. diversity is destroyed, then its unity will die a premature death. In Tripura, a Bulldozer Formula of dividing the society based on religion or other aspect will have disastrous affect on the society. Progress of society depends on many factors. And the factors varies from society to society. In case of Tripura - Unity in Diversity Model is the best suited for its development. If we try to make a heterogeneous society into a homogenous society by playing the card of tribe or caste then the result will be very dangerous , to say the truth. The responsibility of the present generation is to preserve and protect this unity for the future generation. Therefore, we should protect the unity of Tripura by respecting its diversities. Otherwise, we will have to pay a heavy price.
Disclaimer: All the views expressed here in this article are the personal opinion of the author.