Hinduism in India

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Indian Hindus
Om symbol.svg
Akshardham temple in New Delhi.
Total population
966.3 million[1] (2011)
79.8% of population Decrease
Regions with significant populations
Uttar Pradesh159,312,654
Madhya Pradesh66,007,121
West Bengal64,385,546
Tamil Nadu63,188,168
Hinduism (majority)
Tribal religion and Sarna (minority)
Bhagavad Gita, Vedas and others
Sanskrit (sacred)
Pali and Tamil (native)
Indian languages (according to the region)

Hinduism is the largest religion in India. According to the 2011 Census of India, 966.3 million people identify as Hindu,[1] representing 79.8% of the country's population. India contains 94% of the global Hindu population, the world's largest Hindu population.[2] Islam is followed by 14.2% of the population, with the remaining 6% adhering to other religions (such as Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, various indigenous ethnically-bound faiths, atheism) or having no religion.[3][4] The vast majority of Hindus in India belong to Shaivite and Vaishnavite denominations.[5] India is one of the three countries in the world (Nepal and Mauritius being the other two) where Hinduism is the dominant religion.

History of Hinduism[edit | edit source]

The Vedic culture developed in India in 1500 BCE and 500 BCE.[6] After this period, the Vedic religion merged with local traditions and the renouncer traditions, resulting in the emergence of Hinduism,[7] which has had a profound impact on India's history, culture and philosophy. The name India itself is derived from Sanskrit Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the Indus River.[8] Another popular alternative name of India is Hindustān, meaning the "land of Hindus".[9]

India saw the rule of both Hindu and Muslim rulers from c.Template:CE to Template:CE.[10] The fall of Vijayanagar Empire to Muslim sultans had marked the end of Hindu dominance in the Deccan. Hinduism once again rose to political prestige, under the Maratha Empire.[11][12]

Partition of India[edit | edit source]

The Partition of British India was based on religion. (as shown in map)

I find no parallel in history for a body of converts and their descendants claiming to be a nation apart from the parent stock.

— Mahatma Gandhi, opposing the division of India on the basis of religion in 1944.[13]

Hindu nationalism was promoted by Hindus such as:

  1. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar – for the formation of Akhand Bharat.
  2. Purushottam Das Tandon – promoted Hindi as the Official language of India.
  3. Syama Prasad Mukherjee – founder of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a Hindu nationalist political party.
  4. K. B. Hedgewar – founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindu nationalist volunteer organisation.
  5. M.S. Golwalkar – founder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a Hindu nationalist organisation.

Modern India[edit | edit source]

The 1947 Partition of India gave rise to bloody rioting and indiscriminate inter-communal killing of Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. Around 7.5 million Muslims were moved and left for West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now known as Bangladesh) and 7.2 million Hindus and Sikhs moved to India.[14] This was a major factor in fuelling animosity between Hindus and Sikhs, and Muslims. What followed over the years was the laying of secular principles in the Indian Constitution.[15] The last 60 years have been peaceful in most parts of the country apart from the notable exceptions of communal riots in 1992 Bombay riots, following the demolition of the Babri mosque by extremists, and the 2002 Gujarat riots.[16][17]

Andhra Pradesh and northeast India are two of the regions where conversion is prevalent. In response to the activities of Christian missionaries in India, hardline Hindu groups such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have aggressively started reconversion of converted Christians as well as Muslims to Hinduism.[18] The Hindus still form the majority community in most states and territories of the country. Most of the north and northwest India, especially Gujarat, remains the stronghold of Hinduism. There is reason to believe that Hinduism is growing through the incorporation of tribal belief-systems in specific areas of the northeast.[19] However, in the Kashmir Valley, the Hindu population has decreased as a result of the terrorism which forced 550,000 members of Kashmiri Pandit community to leave the valley by Islamist insurgents.[20] In Punjab, the Sikhs form the majority population.

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Historical Hindu Population
1951 303,675,084—    
1961 366,541,417+20.7%
1971 453,492,481+23.7%
1981 562,379,847+24.0%
1991 690,091,965+22.7%
2001 827,722,142+19.9%
2011 966,257,353+16.7%
Source: census of India
Percentage change of Hinduism in India[21]
Year Percent Change
1947 85.0% -
1951 84.1%


1961 83.45%


1971 82.73%


1981 82.30%


1991 81.53%


2001 80.46%


2011 79.80%


The Hindu percentage decreased steadily from 84.1% in 1951 to 79.8% in 2011. When India achieved independence in 1947, Hindus formed 85% of the total population, though pre-Partition British India had 73% of Hindus and 24% of Muslims.

Among the community, it is estimated that Forward castes comprise 26 per cent, Other Backward Classes comprise 43%, Scheduled Castes (Dalits) comprises 22% and Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis) comprise 9%.[22]

Hindu minority State/Union Territory in India[edit | edit source]

Of the 28 states in India, Hindus form majority in 22 states except for Punjab (Sikh majority), Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram (Christian majority). In Manipur, Hinduism is a plurality religion, where Hinduism is practised by 41.39% and Christianity is followed by 41.29%.[23] Out of the eight Union territories, Hindus form majority in five; Ladakh has a Muslim plurality, where Islam is practised by 46% and Buddhism is followed by 40%, while Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshadweep have a Muslim majority.[23][24]

Hindus are minority in six states and three union territories of India namely—[25][26]

  1. Mizoram – (2.75%),
  2. Lakshadweep – (2.77%),
  3. Nagaland – (8.74%),
  4. Meghalaya – (11.52%),
  5. Ladakh – (12.11%),
  6. Jammu and Kashmir – (28.8%),
  7. Arunachal Pradesh – (29.04%),
  8. Punjab – (38.49%) and
  9. Manipur – (41.39%)

Out of the eight states of northeast India, Tripura, Sikkim, and Assam are Hindu majority while four have Hindus as a minority, and one as a plurality.[27]

Hindu population by States and Territories[edit | edit source]

Percentage of Hindus in each district. Data derived from 2011 census.
Hindu in India population by States and Territories, according to the 2011 census.[23]
Region Hindus Total % Hindus
India 966,257,353 1,210,854,977 79.80%
Himachal Pradesh 6,532,765 6,864,602 95.17%
Dadra and Nagar Haveli 322,857 343,709 93.93%
Odisha 39,300,341 41,974,218 93.63%
Chhattisgarh 23,819,789 25,545,198 93.25%
Madhya Pradesh 66,007,121 72,626,809 90.89%
Daman and Diu 220,150 243,247 90.50%
Gujarat 53,533,988 60,439,692 88.57%
Rajasthan 60,657,103 68,548,437 88.49%
Andhra Pradesh 74,824,149 84,580,777 88.46%
Tamil Nadu 63,188,168 72,147,030 87.58%
Haryana 22,171,128 25,351,462 87.46%
Puducherry 1,089,409 1,247,953 87.30%
Karnataka 51,317,472 61,095,297 84.00%
Tripura 3,063,903 3,673,917 83.40%
Uttarakhand 8,368,636 10,086,292 82.97%
Bihar 86,078,686 104,099,452 82.69%
Delhi 13,712,100 16,787,941 81.68%
Chandigarh 852,574 1,055,450 80.78%
Maharashtra 89,703,056 112,374,333 79.83%
Uttar Pradesh 159,312,654 199,812,341 79.73%
West Bengal 64,385,546 91,276,115 70.54%
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 264,296 380,581 69.45%
Jharkhand 22,376,051 32,988,134 67.83%
Goa 963,877 1,458,545 66.08%
Assam 19,180,759 31,205,576 61.47%
Sikkim 352,662 610,577 57.76%
Kerala 18,282,492 33,406,061 54.73%
Manipur 1,181,876 2,855,794 41.39%
Punjab 10,678,138 27,743,338 38.49%
Arunachal Pradesh 445,876 1,383,727 30.04%
Jammu and Kashmir 3,566,674 12,541,302 28.43%
Meghalaya 342,078 2,966,889 11.53%
Nagaland 173,054 1,978,502 8.75%
Lakshadweep 1,788 64,473 2.77%
Mizoram 30,136 1,097,206 2.75%

Decreasing Hindu population share by region[edit | edit source]

Manipur[edit | edit source]

A decrease in the 1991–2001 period is observed in Manipur, from 57% to 52% population share, where there has been a resurgence of the indigenous Sanamahi religion. The Hindu Population share in Manipur decreased also in 2001–2011 from 52% to 41.4%. The religious conversion of Hindus to Christianity and migration of Christians from Nagaland are considered as the reason for this decrease in Hindu population.[28]

West Bengal[edit | edit source]

Two districts in West Bengal, Malda and North Dinajpur, had a Hindu majority in 2001 census which, by the time of the 2011 census, had become a Hindu minority or plurality.[29] The percentage of Hindu population in the state has decreased from 78.45% in 1951 to 70.54% in 2011. Another district, Murshidabad, is a Muslim majority district where the Muslim population steadily increased from 55.24% in 1951 to 66.27% in 2011.[30][31] In 2021 census, 68% are Hindus, 30% are Muslims, 2% from other faiths.

Uttar Pradesh[edit | edit source]

The proportion of Hindus in the Saharanpur district was 59.49% in 2001. This had declined to 56.74% by 2011 – a drop of 2.74%age points. At the same time the Muslim population increased from 39.11% in 2001 to 41.95 per cent in 2011. The Deoband tehsil in the Saharanpur district saw a decline in the proportion of the Hindu population from 70.19% in 2001 to 59.8% in 2011, a drop of 10.39%age points. The proportion of the Muslim population in Deoband increased by 10.68%age points in the same period.[32]

Kairana tehsil witnessed a 4.16%age points decline in the proportion of Hindus in its population, dropping from 49.54% in 2001 to 45.38% by 2011.

In Amroha tehsil the Hindu population decreased from 2001 to 2011 by 2.38%age points; in Sardhana by 3.58%age points; in Baghpat by 7.49%age points; and in Baraut by 2.21%age points.[32]

Assam[edit | edit source]

A study on population composition of Assam reveals that the Hindu population in Assam has declined from 70.78% in 1951 to 61.47% in 2011. Whereas in 1891, the Muslim population in Assam was only about 5%, by the 2001 census it had risen to above 30% and by 2011 to above 34% of the total Assam population.[33]Template:Verification needed According to the 2001 census, there were six Muslim-majority districts in Assam, increasing to nine by the time of the 2011 census.[34]

Kerala[edit | edit source]

Kerala—like Assam, West Bengal, and many of the states in the northeast—has seen a drastic change in its religious demography in the census periods from 1901. The share of Indian Religionists in Kerala, who are almost all Hindus, has declined from nearly 70% in 1901 to 55% in 2011, marking a loss of 15 percentage points in eleven decades.[35] In 2015, 42.87 % of births were recorded as Hindus, 41.45 % Muslim, and 15.42% Christian.[36] In 2016, total annual births to Muslim parents surpassed that of Hindus for the first time.[37]

Projections[edit | edit source]

According to the Pew research center, by 2050 India will have largest population of Hindus in the world. The world Hindu population will closely reach 1.4 billion around that time, of which 1.3 billion Hindus (93% of the world's Hindus) will continue to live in India and will constitute 77% of the country's population, down from 80% in 2010.[38][39]

Hindu Rashtra[edit | edit source]

Hindavi Swarajya (independent map of overwhelming Hindu majority provinces of India)

The All India Hindu Convention demanded that India should be declared "Hindu state" officially as well as various pro-Hindu and patriotic organisations all over India and abroad are striving to establish Hindu Rashtra.[40] Earlier Saint Mahant Paramhans Das of Tapasvi Chhavni Ayodhya, has written a letter to India's President Ram Nath Kovind listing his seven demands and the one of them is to declare India as Hindu state. Copies of the letter have been forwarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah, chief minister Yogi Adityanath, and district magistrate of Ayodhya.[41] There is no mention of the term “Basic Structure” anywhere in the Indian Constitution. The idea that the Parliament cannot introduce laws that would amend the basic structure of the constitution evolved gradually over time.[42] Constitutionally speaking, the declaration of a Hindu rashtra would merely require a 15-judge Supreme Court bench to overrule the basic structure limitation on the Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution.[43] However, "Project Hindu Rashtra bill" has been stopped before 2024 election which is also an ultimate goal for upcoming Lok Sabha election.[44] Earlier, Uttar Pradesh's BJP MLA Surendra Singh have also given a hint, that by 2024, India will be officially declared as Hindu Nation.[45] The idea of India as a Hindu State has been advocated many a times by right-wing Hindu nationalist political parties.[46]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "India's religions by numbers". 26 August 2015 – via www.thehindu.com.
  2. "By 2050, India to have world's largest populations of Hindus and Muslims". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  3. "Census 2011: Hindus dip to below 80 per cent of population; Muslim share up, slows down". The Indian Express. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  4. "Muslim population growth slows". The Hindu. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  5. "Major Branches of Religions". www.adherents.com. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  6. N. Siegel, Paul (1986). The meek and the militant: religion and power across the world. Zed Books, 1987. ISBN 9780862323493.
  7. Hoiberg, Dale. Students' Britannica India. Popular Prakashan, 2000. ISBN 9780852297605.
  8. "India", Oxford English Dictionary, second edition, 2100a.d. Oxford University Press.
  9. "Hindustan definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". www.collinsdictionary.com. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  10. Neusner, Jacob (7 October 2009). World Religions in America, Fourth Edition. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 189. ISBN 9781611640472.
  11. Tinker, Hugh (1966). South Asia: A Short History. University of Hawaii Press. p. 18. ISBN 9780824812874.
  12. Ganesha on the Dashboard p. 176, V. Raghunathan, M. A. Eswaran, Penguin
  13. Prof. Prasoon (1 January 2010). My Letters.... M.K.Gandhi. Pustak Mahal. p. 120. ISBN 978-81-223-1109-9.
  14. Talbot, Ian; Singh, Gurharpal (23 July 2009). The Partition of India. Cambridge University Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-521-85661-4.
  15. Safran, William (2003). The Secular and the Sacred: Nation, Religion, and Politics. Psychology Press. pp. 241-. ISBN 978-0-7146-5368-6.
  16. "Hindu-Muslim Communal Riots in India I (1947-1986) | Sciences Po Mass Violence and Resistance - Research Network". hindu-muslim-communal-riots-india-i-1947-1986.html. 6 January 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  17. "Hindu-Muslim Communal Riots in India II (1986-2011) | Sciences Po Mass Violence and Resistance - Research Network". hindu-muslim-communal-riots-india-ii-1986-2011.html. 16 April 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  18. "Ghar Wapsi, The Legal Way". Outlook India. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  19. "'Ghar wapsi' has become a bad phrase despite Article 25 guaranteeing it-India News , Firstpost". Firstpost. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  20. Singh, Devinder (2015), Brunn, Stanley D. (ed.), "Reinventing Agency, Sacred Geography and Community Formation: The Case of Displaced Kashmiri Pandits in India", The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics, Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, pp. 397–414, doi:10.1007/978-94-017-9376-6_20, ISBN 978-94-017-9376-6, retrieved 7 June 2021
  21. "India - share of Hindus 2011". Statista. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  22. Sachar, Rajinder (2006). "Sachar Committee Report (2004–2005)" (PDF). Government of India. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 "C-1 Population By Religious Community". Census of India. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  24. ""Religion Must Be Viewed Pan-India": Top Court On Hindus-As-Minorities Plea". City: Thiruvananthapuram. The Times of India. TNN. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  25. "SC quashes plea on minority status for Hindus in 8 states". Hindustan Times. 18 December 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  26. "'Minority' plea on Hindus in 9 states". www.telegraphindia.com. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  27. Gheewala, C. L. (1942). "WAS THE HINDU STATE PLURALISTIC?". The Indian Journal of Political Science. 3 (3): 237–248. ISSN 0019-5510.
  28. "Christian population on the rise in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur". City: New Delhi. Hindustan Times. TNN. 9 March 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  29. "Bengal beats India in Muslim growth rate". Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  30. "The rise and rise of Muslims in West Bengal". Dinajpur-Maldah-Murshidabad-Birbhum region. Hindu Post. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  31. "Report taking shape amid infiltration buzz". www.telegraphindia.com.
  32. 32.0 32.1 "Assembly elections: Minorities on majority route in Uttar Pradesh". Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  33. "Citizenship Amendment Act: BJP chasing ghosts in Assam; Census data shows number of Hindu immigrants may have been exaggerated – India News , Firstpost". Firstpost. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  34. Jain, Bharti (26 August 2015). "Muslim majority districts in Assam up | India News – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  35. Raghunath, Arjun (16 March 2016). "Kerala: Muslims will be double the number of Christians by 2051". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  36. "Government of Kerala Annual Vital Statistics Report - 2015" (PDF). February 2017: 21. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  37. "Government of Kerala Annual Vital Statistics Report - 2016" (PDF). September 2017: 21. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  38. "Projected Changes in the Global Hindu Population". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  39. "By 2050, India to have world's largest populations of Hindus and Muslims". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  40. "Declare India a 'Hindu Rashtra': Hindu convention resolution". Hindustan Times. 17 June 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  41. Desk, Trending (1 December 2020). "'Declare India a Hindu Rashtra': Ayodhya Mahant Writes Letter to President, Threatens to End Life If 7 Demands Not Met". India News, Breaking News | India.com. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  42. https://cdn1.byjus.com › Lan...PDF Web results Landmark Cases relating to the Basic Structure of the Constitution
  43. "Narendra Modi government over Hindu Rashtra". The Indian Express. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  44. "'Project Hindu Rashtra' must be stopped well before 2024: P Chidambaram". The Financial Express. 29 December 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  45. "India will become 'Hindu rashtra' by 2024, says Uttar Pradesh's BJP MLA Surendra Singh-India News , Firstpost". Firstpost. 14 January 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  46. "The Hindu Phenomenon". web.archive.org. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2021.

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