Hinduism in India
|Regions with significant populations|
|Majority in all States except Kashmir, Punjab and parts of Northeast.|
|Indian Languages · Indian English|
Hinduism is a religion of the Indian subcontinent of India, with 80.5% of the population identifying themselves as Hindu. The vast majority of Hindus in India belong to Vaishnavite and Shaivite denominations.
The Vedic culture originated in India between 2000 and 1500 BC. As a consequence, Hinduism, considered to be the successor of Vedic religion, has had a profound impact on India's history, culture and philosophy. The name India itself is derived from Greek Ἰνδία for Indus, which is derived from the Old Persian word Hindu, from Sanskrit Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the Indus River. Another popular alternative name of India is Hindustān, meaning the "land of Hindus". The Marathas of India are considered as champions of Hinduism.
In response to the high rate of conversions during the Muslim Mughal and Christian British rule, Hinduism in India and abroad (like Guyana and Suriname) underwent a series of reforms, the spearheading organisations being Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj. Religious leaders like Swami Vivekananda, Dayanand Saraswati, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Sri Aurobindo and political leaders like Gandhi called for reform and complete turnover of the social structuring. Tulsidas, Sant Kabeer Das, Raidas, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu etc. were pioneer of the bhakti movement for the social reformation.
India saw Muslim and later European rule; yet the country remains dominated by Hindus. Some account the strength of Hinduism for the sponge-like nature of the religion, in that to worship Jesus Christ or Allah does not necessarily contradict Hinduism. This religion has polytheistic tendencies, so considering another conception of God another form or avatar of the ultimate reality or creator is certainly possible. While most Hindus do not worship non Hindu God(s), it is possible in the explanation.
Another reason could be like Buddhism, Hinduism is an ancient religion with well established traditions that cut deeply into Indian daily life. Unlike indigenous American or African religions, which vary from tribe to tribe, these Indian religions spread across the vast entity that was the Indian subcontinent, generally accepted by a majority of Indian ethnic and tribal groups. Hindu civilisation had a long history on its own, with well developed scriptures and traditions. It would be much more difficult to convert members of a religion that was accredited with defining a civilisation than would be tribal peoples.
Hindu nationalism fuelled Indian nationalism following partition. Hindu nationalism was aggressively promoted by right wing Hindus like:
- Vinayak Damodar Savarkar - for the formation of Akhand Bharat
- Purushottam Das Tandon - promoted Hindi as the Official language of India
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 forced out and left for West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now known as Bangladesh) and 7.2 million Hindus moved to India. This was a major factor in fueling Hindu-Muslim animosity. What followed over the years was the laying of secular principles in the Indian Constitution. The last 60 years have been seemingly peaceful in most parts of the country except with the notable exception of communal riots in 1992 and 2002 and the wars fought against Pakistan.
Kerala, Andhra, and the North East are some of the regions where conversion is prevalent.In Response to the activities of Christian Missonaries in India,the Hardline Hindu groups like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have aggressively started reconversion of converted Christians as well as Muslims back to Hinduism. The Hindus still form the majority community in most regions of the country, except the Valley of Kashmir, Punjab and three states in the North-East - namely Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya. However, when considered as a region the North-East still has a slight Hindu majority. There is even reason to believe that Hinduism is growing through the incorporation of tribal belief-systems in specific areas of the North-East. However, in the Kashmir valley the Hindu population has plummeted as an outcome of the civil unrest when more than 500,000 members of Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus) were forced to leave the valley by fanatic muslim terrorists. Pakistan sponsored terrorists attempt to liberate Kashmir from Indian rule in line with presumably the majority Muslim population's desire for independence, which was expressed at independence but overruled by the ruling Hindu Maharajah and the British during partition. In Punjab the Sikhs form the majority population.
Census of 2001
The Hindu population of India according to the official 2001 census is given below. Most drastic decrease in 1991-2001 period is observed in Manipur, from 57% to 52%, where there has been a resurgence of the indigenous Sanamahi religion. Except for Punjab (Sikh majority), Kashmir (Muslim majority) and parts of North-East India the other Indian states and union territories have an overwhelming majority of Hindus. Out of the 7 states of Northeast India, only Assam, Sikkim and Tripura are Hindu majority while the rest have Hindus in minority. For more detailed figures from 2001 census, see this table.
|Dadra and Nagar Haveli||206,203||220,490||95.52%|
|Daman and Diu||141,901||158,204||90.69%|
|Andaman and Nicobar Islands||246,589||356,152||70.24%|
|Jammu and Kashmir||3,005,349||10,143,700||34.63%|
- Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia, Merriam-Webster, 2000, p. 751
- Hinduism is variously defined as a "religion", "set of religious beliefs and practices", "religious tradition" etc. For a discussion on the topic, see: "Establishing the boundaries" in Gavin Flood (2003), pp. 1-17. René Guénon in his Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines (1921 ed.), Sophia Perennis, ISBN 0-900588-74-8, proposes a definition of the term "religion" and a discussion of its relevance (or lack of) to Hindu doctrines (part II, chapter 4, p. 58).
- "India Census 2001". Censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
- "Hinduism". Adherents.com. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
- N. Siegel, Paul. The meek and the militant: religion and power across the world. Zed Books, 1987. ISBN 9780862323493.
- Hoiberg, Dale. Students' Britannica India. Popular Prakashan, 2000. ISBN 9780852297605.
- "India", Oxford English Dictionary, second edition, 2100a.d. Oxford University Press.
- Thompson Platts, John. A dictionary of Urdū, classical Hindī, and English. W.H. Allen & Co., Oxford University 1884.
- "Maratha (people) - Encyclopedia Britannica". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
- "Conflict in Afghanistan: A Historical Encyclopedia - Frank Clements - Google Books". Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
- "The Positive Background of Hindu Sociology: Introduction to Hindu Positivism - Benoy Kumar Sarkar - Google Books". Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
- "The Cambridge History of India: The Indus civilization. Supplementary volume - Sir Mortimer Wheeler - Google Books". Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
- "Indian Census". Censusindia.gov.in. 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2013-10-17.