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Before we begin a discussion on national integration, it will be better to understand its meaning. This term has two words: nation and integration. What do we mean by the term nation? A nation is a country with a unified socio-economic and political structure. It denotes a body of people who have a feeling of oneness, built on the basis of common history, society, culture and values. This feeling of oneness binds the people together in to a nation. In general terms it is this feeling which is known as national integration. National integration is the awareness of a common identity amongst the citizens of a country. It means that though the individuals belong to different communities, castes, religions, cultures and regions and speak different languages, all of them recognize the fact that they are one. This kind of integration is very important in the building of a strong and prosperous nation.
National integration means “creating a mental outlook which will promote and inspire every person to place loyalty to the country above group loyalties and the welfare of the country above narrow sectarian interests.” – Dorothy Simpson
As we all know, India is a nation having great diversities. The people who inhabit this nation belong to different races, communities and castes. They reside in different geographical regions and speak different languages. They believe in and practice different religions and have varied life styles. But with all these diversities, they all are Indians and they feel like that. They may have many religious identities such as Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, or Zoroastrians. They may also be identified as Punjabis, Tamils, Malayalis, Bengalis, Manipuri, and so on, or South or North or North-East Indians. But their national identity is supreme.