This is such a dangerous deleterious, and also a false thesis
There is no such thing as "South India".
A Telugu speaker is as distant from me as a Maharashtrian. A Keralite is even more distant.https://t.co/XWK1dQRyOe
— Śrīkānta (@shrikanth_krish) December 29, 2018
The original article by Mahatma’s grandson is equally intriguing, People of the South constitute an equal and single community: Rajmohan Gandhi.I don’t have too many opinions on this (for a change) but my inclination is that caste (and then creed) have dramatically reduced regional identities in India.
The states that have been most problematic to the Indian Union (East Punjab, Srinagar area, 7 sisters) have more homogenised profiles (and incidentally happen to be on the periphery).
Caste is what enabled North India Hinduism to survive the onslaught of Islam (and to a much lesser extent Christianity) by creating thousands upon thousands of autonomous communities. I can’t think of a similar example where Islam had such a sustained presence and the populations & societies resisted conversion (the rapidity with which the Iran and the Hindu-Malayan sphere turned Muslim are interesting to note).
So in many caste is the greatest curse of Hinduism but paradoxically its greatest strength. The strength of caste and communal feeling is perhaps what keeps many Hindu states in the Indian Union; a fully developed regional-national profile would invariably create problems with the centre.
As for the original piece above I imagine South India is a colonial construct but a successfully grafted one. There was enough “there” (the Dravidian exceptionalism) to create a distinct identity and in my day-to-day interactions the South Indian-North Indian divide is a very real one. However the intensity of that is up for debate and how it translates into a political framework again is debatable.
As an aside South India caught on because it’s an extraordinarily catchy term. Pakistan has a similar divide between Iranian and Indo-Aryan speakers but we can’t use West Pakistani and East Pakistani anymore. In a hypothetical scenario if post-1947 only West Pakistan had seceded (with say an enlarged portion of the Punjab, Kutch & Kashmir to offset East Bengal) then we might have seen the Pashtuns & Baloch adopt the term “West Pakistanis” for themselves and sort of be a proxy population like the South Indians.