In: Social Issues

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Social and Religious Diversity of India
The Census of India records the religion of each and every Indian after every ten years. The person who fills the Census form visits every household and records the religion of each member of that household exactly the way each person describes it.
If someone says she has ‘no religion’ or that he is an ‘atheist’, this is exactly how it is recorded. Thus we have reliable information on the proportion of different religious communities in the country and how it has changed over the years. The pie chart below presents the population proportion of six major religious groups in the country.
Since Independence, the total population of each group has increased substantially but their proportion in the country’s population has not changed much. In percentage terms, the population of the Hindus, Jains and Christians has declined marginally since
1961. The proportion of Muslim, Sikh and Buddhist population has increased slightly.
There is a common but mistaken impression that the proportion of the Muslims in the country’s population is going to overtake other religious groups. Expert estimates done for the Prime Minister’s High Level Committee (popularly known as Sachar Committee) show that the proportion of the Muslims is expected to go up a little, by about 3 to 4 per cent, in the next 50 years. It proves that in overall terms, the population balance of different religious groups is not likely to change in a big way.
The same is true of the major caste groups. The Census of India counts two social groups: the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. Both these broad groups include hundreds of castes or tribes whose names are listed in an official Schedule.
Hence the prefix ‘Scheduled’ in their name. The Scheduled Castes, commonly known as Dalits, include those that were previously regarded as ‘outcaste’ in the…...

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