"India is predominantly an orthodox country", suggests PEW Survey

The Pew Research Centre of US has conducted a survey on religion in India titled ‘Religion In India: Tolerance and Segregation.

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India has a vast population that is diverse as wells as religious. The country is home to not only the majority of the world’s Hindus, Jains and Sikhs, but also constitutes one of the world's largest Muslim populations along with millions of Christians and Buddhists.

The Pew Research Centre of US has conducted a survey on religion in India titled ‘Religion In India: Tolerance and Segregation'. The survey was based on face-to-face interaction with over 29,999 Indian adults. It was conducted between late 2019 and early 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic hit the world and most of it was forced to go under lockdown.

The PEW Research Centre survey examines religious identification, nationalism, and tolerance in Indian society. Local interviewers surveyed in 17 languages and covered nearly all of the Indian states and Union territories. The research centre has released its survey report and here are its key findings.

Indians value religious tolerance, but also live religiously segregated lives

According to the survey report, most people across the country, around 84 percent believe it is necessary to respect all religions to be ‘truly Indian.’ Around 80 percent of Indians agree that respect for other religions is an integral part of what it means to be a member of their own religious group.

However, at the same time, the majority of people in each of the major religious groups express a preference for religious segregation and ‘wish to live separately,’ which seems like a contradiction to prior statements.

Indians claim to have little in common with people of other religions and their close friends mainly or entirely are from their own religious community.

Also, a majority of the population in each religion does not believes in interreligious marriage and opposes the same.

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Majority of Hindus believe national identity, religion and language to be intertwined

For over 64 percent of Hindus, it is important to be a Hindu to be truly Indian. Around 80 percent of these 64 percent Hindus also believe speaking Hindi is equally essential to be truly Indian. Also, individuals who link nationality to being a Hindu express a keen desire for religious segregation.

For Hindus, national identity and politics go hand in hand

According to the survey, Hindus who strongly identify their religious identity and the Hindi language as being really Indian are more likely to support the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This was witnessed in the 2019 national elections, in which about 60 percent of Hindus who link national identity to religion voted for BJP.

Religious identity of Indians is shaped by dietary regulations.

Over 72 percent of Hindus say that a person can not be Hindu if he eats beef as the cow is considered sacred in the Hindu religion. Also, around 49 percent of Hindus believe that an individual can not be Hindu if he/she does not believe in god or never go to a temple(48%).

Likewise, over 77 percent of Muslims feel that a person cannot be a Muslim if they consume pork and 60% believe that a person cannot be a Muslim if they do not believe in God or never attend a mosque (61%).

Also Read: VIRAL Video: When Shahrukh khan’s daughter asked him ‘Papa what is our religion?’ See his tremendous answer

Muslims prefer to have their own religious courts

Over 74 percent of Muslims support having access to the existing system of Islamic courts. So far, whether Muslims should be allowed to have their own religious courts is a topic of debate.

As compared to Hindus, Muslims are more likely to believe the 1947 India-Pak partition affected Hindu Muslim relations

Around 48 percent of the Muslim population in India believes that the partition of India and Pakistan was bad for Hindu-Muslim relations. However, 43 percent of Hindus believe the partition was beneficial to Hindu Muslim relations.

Cast system originated & glorified in Hindu writings continue to destroy society

About 70 percent of Indians say that most, if not all, of their close acquaintances, are of the same caste. Also, 64 percent of Indians oppose inter-caste marriage, similar to opposition face by interreligious marriages.

Indians believe in God and consider religion to be extremely essential in their lives

Almost the entire Indian population, i.e 97 percent believe in God and over 80 percent of people say ‘they are absolutely certain that God exists.’