Integration is the most pressing need of all societies as it plays a vital role in achieving the dream of development. The more a society is integrated, the more it would be developed. As a great unifying factor, it is the national integration that transforms a heterogeneous society into a strong, united nation.
National Integration proves to be a great help in social, economic and political development. It advocates political stability and economic development, creates a sense of loyalty, eradicates corruption, promotes justice and eliminates inequality. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that national integration is the oxygen for a society, without which a society cannot survive. National integration can be achieved through assimilation policy and through unity in diversity. In addition, quality education, media, mass participation and, last but not least, a charismatic leadership can play a highly constructive role in this regard.
What is integration?
The literal meaning of integration is, when discrete parts are united as a single whole or when scattered parts of anything are united and transformed into a single entity. In political context, however, integration is a process through which different groups and classes are united into one community which represents itself as one nation.
Concept of national integration
There are four types of integration i.e. territorial integration, national integration, valued integration and mass-elite integration. However, national integration is the most important of them. It is the superlative form of integration because when a society becomes integrated, it means it has achieved other three types of integration. Thus, it can be said that integration and national integration are synonymous.
For national integration, socially, culturally and ideologically different people give up their parochial identities and create one national identity. In spite of all the differences, they stand and act as one unit.
Role in different spheres
National integration plays a pivotal role in nation-building and development. It gives real shape to the society. It moulds social, political, economic and ideological aspects of the society. The role of national integration in a nation’s uplifting and development can be summarized on the following:
i. Brings political stability
Political stability is a sine qua non for development. The more a country is politically stable, the more it is developed. One of the most important roles of national integration is to create political stability. In political process, it acts as a stabilizer. Moreover, it plays a crucial role in ensuring smoothness and transparency in political processes.
ii. Promotes economic activity
The constructive role of national integration is not limited only to political aspect rather it impacts the economic aspect as well. It helps a great deal in boosting economic activities of a country. Political stability and economic development go hand in hand and it is said that a politically-stable country marches on the path to economic prosperity. A politically-stable country attracts more foreign investment which enhances economic activities in the country. In this way, national integration opens doors for economic development which is a prerequisite for nation-building and development.
iii. Creates great sense of loyalty
The beauty of national integration lies in the citizens’ loyalty to the state. It creates great sense of loyalty in the people by inculcating the true spirit of devotion in them. They abide by the law and remain loyal to the state. This devotion is only possible through national integration.
iv. Eradicates corruption
Corruption, no doubt, is the root cause of all evils. It creates political instability, economic disparity and all other social ills. In the eradication of this menace, national integration plays a decisive role.
v. Advocates for justice
Justice is the absolute need of the society. Political stability, economic development, loyal citizens and minimal corruption are the hallmarks of a just society. In this context, national integration is the vital source to let justice prevail.
vi. Eliminates inequality
Where justice lives inequality dies. Justice is the enemy of inequality. In this way, national integration nurtures justice which ultimately eliminates inequality.
5. How to achieve national integration?
i. Assimilation policy
One way to achieve national integration is the assimilation policy. Assimilation is done through imposing the culture of majority over minority and by eliminating the parochial identities in such a way that with the passage of time the minority groups adopt the culture of majority groups. For instance, in America, the state imposed the American popular culture on the entire people in a process known as “Americanization”.
ii. Unity in diversity
National integration can be achieved through diversity. Without eliminating parochial identities, national integration cannot be achieved. There are different forums and modules but federalism is the best example through which national integration can be achieved. Federalism is the great unifying factor for a heterogeneous society.
iii. Quality education
Nelson Mandela says, “Education is the most powerful weapon through which you can change the world.” In this way, national integration can be gained through imparting quality education. According to Plato, all the people of the state should have same education system. Furthermore, he says that uniform education system can bring unity in the state.
iv. Role of media
In today’s world, media is the most powerful and influential institution. Therefore, it is considered the fourth pillar of democracy, or for that purpose, of society. Media can play a constructive role in the promotion of national integration. They can promote such events, programmes and views which can bring the society on one page.
v. Mass participation
Deprivation and frustration pop up when people are not allowed to freely participate in the political, social and economic activities. This leads to disintegration of the society. Thus, to achieve national integration, people’s participation in all societal activities is more than necessary.
vi. Charismatic Leader
Last but not least, a charismatic leader can play a crucial role in national integration. Leader is the driver of vehicle of the nation. A farsighted and intellectual leader brings the nation under the umbrella of national integration.
To conclude the whole discussion, it can be said that national integration plays a very productive role in the nation-building and development. It opens the doors for social, political and economic prosperity. Moreover, it transforms a dejected society into a fortunate one. In short, without national integration, a society is nothing but anarchy and chaos. In order to achieve national integration, the above-mentioned strategies can be of crucial import.
The writer is a student of Political Science at University of Peshawar.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org