Upon close examination of the reform proposals put forth by the BJP, a recurring theme emerges: ‘One Nation’ is consistently prefixed to specific reforms. Phrases such as ‘One Nation, One Tax’, ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’, ‘One Nation, One Market’, and ‘One Nation, One Grid’ have become almost trivialized. The opposition has gone as far as deriding it as ‘One nation, one mistake, and that is Narendra Modi’.

The concept of ‘One-ness’ inherently implies singularity, centralization, and homogenization. It is no secret that the BJP’s ideology favors a singular, unitary conception of Indian identity. What’s noteworthy about the frequent use of ‘One Nation’ in reform discussions is its merging of political objectives with policy and governance agendas. In doing so, it juxtaposes core democratic values ingrained in our policy processes—deliberation, consensus-building, accommodation—with the notion of governance efficiency through uniformity. It posits that effective governance can only be achieved through a unitary, non-federal form of administration, thereby legitimizing centralized control and authoritarian tendencies.

In a diverse democratic society, the imposition of homogeneity presents significant challenges and drawbacks. While unity and cohesion are valued, the enforcement of uniformity disregards the myriad cultures, beliefs, and perspectives that define the nation’s diversity. Suppressing individuality and cultural identity is a primary concern. Each community within a diverse society contributes unique traditions, languages, and customs that enrich the national fabric. However, enforcing homogeneity risks marginalizing minority groups and erasing their cultural heritage.

Furthermore, homogeneity can foster intolerance and discrimination. Elevating certain groups’ values as the norm while silencing dissenting voices undermines democratic principles, fueling resentment and social unrest, and potentially leading to political turmoil and violence. By perpetuating systemic barriers, homogeneity exacerbates existing inequalities, widening the gap between privileged and marginalized communities.

In an ideal democratic society, unity should not come at the expense of diversity. Instead of imposing homogeneity, democratic nations should prioritize inclusivity, striving to create environments where all individuals can thrive and contribute to collective welfare.