Hinduism in India

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Indian Hindus
Om symbol.svg
Total population
966 million[1] (79.8%) (2011)
Regions with significant populations
Majority in all States except Punjab, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and in all Union territories except Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Lakshadweep
Indian languages

Sacred language


Hinduism is the largest religion in India, with 79.8% of the population identifying themselves as Hindus, that accounts for 966 million Hindus [2] as of National Census of India in 2011 making it as the world's largest Hindu populated country with around 94% global hindu population are being concentrated here.[3] While 14.2% of the population follow Islam and the remaining 6% adhere to other religions (such as Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, various indigenous ethnically-bound faiths, Atheism and Irreligion).[4][5] The vast majority of Hindus in India belong to Shaivite and Vaishnavite denominations.[6] India is one of the three countries in the world (Nepal and Mauritius being the other two) where Hinduism is the majority.

History of Hinduism[edit]

The Vedic culture developed in India between 1500 BCE and 500 BCE.[7] After this period, the Vedic religion merged with local traditions and the renouncer traditions, resulting in the emergence of Hinduism,[8] 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.[9] Another popular alternative name of India is Hindustān, meaning the "land of Hindus".[10]

India saw the rule of both Hindu and Muslim rulers from c. 1200 to 1750 CE.[11] 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.[12][13]

Partition of India[edit]

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.[14]
The Partition of British India was based on religion. The negotiations failed several times, with differing demands about boundaries, as shown in this map of 1946.

Hindu nationalism was promoted by Hindus like:

  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

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. This was a major factor in fueling Hindu,Sikh-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 Bombay riots following the demolition of Babri mosque by extremists and 2002 Gujarat riots.

Andhra Pradesh and the Northeast of India are some of the regions where conversion is prevalent. In response to the activities of Christian missionaries in India, 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 states and territories of the country. Most of the northern and north-western India, especially Gujarat remains the stronghold of Hinduism. There is even reason to believe that Hinduism is growing through the incorporation of tribal belief-systems in specific areas of the northeast. However, in the Kashmir Valley, the Hindu population has plummeted as an outcome of the terrorism when more than 550,000 members of Kashmiri Pandit community were forced to leave the valley (mass exodus) by Islamist insurgents. In Punjab, the Sikhs form the majority population.


Percentage decline of Hinduism in India

Year Percent Increase
1947 85.0%
1951 84.1%


1961 83.45% -0.65%
1971 82.73% -0.72%
1981 82.30% -0.43%
1991 81.53% -0.77%
2001 80.46% -1.07%
2011 79.80% -0.66%

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.

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 965,734,351+16.7%
Source: census of India

Among the community, it is estimated that Forward castes comprise 26%, Other Backward Classes comprise 43%,Scheduled Castes (Dalits) comprises 22% and Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis) comprises 9%.[15]

Hindu minority State/Union Territory in India[edit]

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%.[16] Out of the 9 Union territory, Hindus form majority in 6 Union territories except Ladakh (Muslim plurality; where Islam is practised by 45% and Buddhism is followed by 40%), Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshadweep (Muslim majority).[17][18]

Out of the 8 states of Northeast India, Tripura, Sikkim, Assam, Manipur are Hindu majority while the rest four have Hindus in minority.[citation needed]

Hindu population by States/Territory[edit]

Percentage of Hindus in each district. Data derived from 2011 census.

Hindu population by States/Territory in India, according to the 2011 census.[19]

Region Hindus Total % Hindus
India 980,378,868 1,210,910,328 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 in several regions of India[edit]


A decrease in 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.[20]

West Bengal[edit]

In West Bengal, two district - Malda and North Dinajpur had Hindu majority in 2001 census became Hindu minority or plurality districts in the 2011 census.[21] The percentage of Hindu population in the state have decreased from 78.45% in 1951 to 70.54% in 2011. Another district Murshidabad is also a muslim majority district where Muslim population steadily increased fron 55.24% in 1951 to 66.27% in 2011.[22][23]

Uttar Pradesh[edit]

The proportion of Hindus in the Saharanpur district was 59.49% in 2001 which went down to 56.74% in 2011- a decline of 2.74%.At the same time the Muslim population shot up from 39.11% in 2001 to 41.95% in 2011.The Deoband tehsil in the Saharanpur district saw a decline in proportion of Hindu population from 70.19% in 2001 to 59.8% in 2011-a decline of 10.39%.On the other hand the proportion of Muslim population in Deoband went up by 10.68 per cent in 2011 compared to 2001.[24]

Kairana tehsil witnessed 4.16% decline in proportion of Hindu population.The Hindu population was 49.54% in 2001 which decreased to 45.38% in 2011.

In Amroha tehsil the Hindu population decreased by 2.38 per cent.Sardhana witnessed 3.58 per cent decline in Hindu population in 2011.Baghpat tehsil the Hindu population was declined by 7.49 per cent and Baraut tehsil witnessed 2.21 per cent decline in 2011.[25]


A study on population composition of Assam reveals that the Hindu population in Assam has declined from 70.78 percent in 1951 to 61.47 percent in 2011. [26] According to 2001 census, there were 6 Muslim-majority-districts in Assam but in 2011 census, it have risen to 9 Muslim-majority-districts in Assam due to illegal immigration from Bangladesh.[27]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Shourie, Arun (1979). Hinduism, essence, and consequence: A study of the Upanishads, the Gita, and the Brahma-Sutras. Sahibabad, District. Ghaziabad: Vikas. ISBN 9780706908343
  • Ram Swarup, The Word as Revelation: Names of Gods (1980), (1982, revised 1992)
  • Ram Swarup, On Hinduism: Reviews and reflections (2000)
  • Ram Swarup, Hinduism and monotheistic religions (2015)
  • Ram Swarup, Meditations: Yogas, Gods, religions (2000)
  • Rajiv Malhotra (2011), Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism (Publisher: HarperCollins India; ISBN 978-9-350-29190-0)
  • Rajiv Malhotra (2014), Indra's Net: Defending Hinduism's Philosophical Unity (Publisher: HarperCollins India; ISBN 978-9-351-36244-9)


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  3. ^ http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/21/by-2050-india-to-have-worlds-largest-populations-of-hindus-and-muslims
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ "Muslim population growth slows". The Hindu. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Major Branches of Religions". www.adherents.com. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  7. ^ N. Siegel, Paul. The meek and the militant: religion and power across the world. Zed Books, 1987. ISBN 9780862323493.
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  10. ^ "Hindustan definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". www.collinsdictionary.com. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  11. ^ Neusner, Jacob (7 October 2009). World Religions in America, Fourth Edition. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 189. ISBN 9781611640472.
  12. ^ Tinker, Hugh (1966). South Asia: A Short History. University of Hawaii Press. p. 18. ISBN 9780824812874.
  13. ^ Ganesha on the Dashboard p. 176, V. Raghunathan, M. A. Eswaran, Penguin
  14. ^ Prof. Prasoon (1 January 2010). My Letters.... M.K.Gandhi. Pustak Mahal. p. 120. ISBN 978-81-223-1109-9.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "C-1 Population By Religious Community". Census of India. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  17. ^ "C-1 Population By Religious Community". Census of India. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  18. ^ ""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.
  19. ^ "C-1 Population By Religious Community". Census of India. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Christian population on the rise in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur". City: New Delhi. Hindustan Times. TNN. 9 March 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  21. ^ "Bengal beats India in Muslim growth rate". Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  22. ^ "The rise and rise of Muslims in West Bengal". Dinajpur-Maldah-Murshidabad-Birbhum region. Hindu Post. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  23. ^ "Report taking shape amid infiltration buzz".
  24. ^ {{Cite news|url=https://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2017/feb/05/assembly-elections-minorities-on-majority-route-in-uttar-pradesh-1567017.html%7Ctitle=Assembly elections: Minorities on majority route in Uttar Pradesh|access-date=}16 March 2020}
  25. ^ {{Cite news|url=https://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2017/feb/05/assembly-elections-minorities-on-majority-route-in-uttar-pradesh-1567017.html%7Ctitle=Assembly elections: Minorities on majority route in Uttar Pradesh|access-date=}16 March 2020}
  26. ^ https://www.firstpost.com/india/citizenship-amendment-bill-bjp-chasing-ghosts-in-assam-as-census-data-shows-number-of-hindu-immigrants-couldve-been-exaggerated-5640511.html/amp
  27. ^ https://m.timesofindia.com/india/Muslim-majority-districts-in-Assam-up/articleshow/48682463.cms