We find that today the unity and integrity of the nation is threatened by the divisive forces of regionalism, linguism and communal loyalties which are gaining ascendancy in national life and seeking to tear apart and destroy national integrity. We tend to forget that India is one nation and we are all Indians first and Indians last. It is time we remind ourselves what the great visionary and builder of modern India Jawaharlal Nehru said, “Who dies if India lives, who lives if India dies?” We must realise, and this is unfortunately what many in public life tend to overlook, sometimes out of ignorance of the forces of history and sometimes deliberately with a view to promoting their self-interest, that national interest must inevitably and forever prevail over any other considerations proceeding from regional, linguistic or communal attachments. The history of India over the past centuries bears witness to the fact that India was at no time a single political unit. Even during the reign of the Maurya dynasty, though a large part of the country was under the sovereignty of the Mauryan kings, there were considerable portions of the territory which were under the rule of independent kingdoms. So also during the Mughal rule which extended over large parts of the territory of India, there were independent rulers who enjoyed political sovereignty over the territories of their respective kingdoms. It is an interesting fact of history that India was forged into a nation, neither on account of a common language nor on account of the continued existence of a single political regime over its territories but on account of a common culture evolved over the centuries. It is cultural unity—something more fundamental and enduring than any other bond which may unite the people of a country together which has welded this country into a nation. But until the advent of the British rule, it was not constituted into a single political unit. There were, throughout the period of history for which we have fairly authenticated accounts, various kingdoms and principalities which were occasionally engaged in conflict with one another. During the British rule, India became a compact political unit having one single political regime over its entire territories and this led to the evolution of the concept of a nation. This concept of one nation took firm roots in the minds and hearts of the people during the struggle for independence under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. He has rightly been called the Father of the Nation because it was he who awakened in the people of this country a sense of national consciousness and instilled in them a high sense of patriotism without which it is not possible to build a country into nationhood. By the time the Constitution of India came to be enacted, insurgent India, breaking a new path of non-violent revolution and fighting to free itself from the shackles of foreign domination, had emerged into nationhood and “the people of India” were inspired by a new enthusiasm, a high and noble spirit of sacrifice and above all, a strong sense of nationalism and in the Constitution which they framed. They set about the task of a strong nation based on certain cherished values for which they had fought.
The “people of India”, as highlighted by the author in the last sentence of the passage, refer to