Hinduism in India

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Indian Hindus

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Total population
1.15 Billion (2016 estimate)
Regions with significant populations
Majority in all Indian states except Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep Islands, Punjab, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland. Large concentrations in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Tripura. Large populations in Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, and Uttarakhand.
Indian languages · Indian English

Hinduism is the major religion of India, with over 80% of the population identifying themselves as Hindu, that accounts for roughly 97 crore (~ 1 billion) Hindus in India, while 14% of the population follow Islam and the remaining 6% adhere to other religions (such as Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and various indigenous ethnically-bound faiths)(2011 census).[1][2][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 majority.

The Vedic culture originated in India between 1800 BC and 500 BC.[6] As a consequence, Hinduism, considered to be the successor of Vedic religion,[7] 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.[8] Another popular alternative name of India is Hindustān, meaning the "land of Hindus".[9] The Marathas of India have been famed in history as champions of Hinduism.[10]


Reform movements[edit]

In response to the high rate of religious conversions during the Muslim Mughal and Christian British rule, Hinduism in India and abroad (such as 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.[citation needed] One example of such reform is when the Hindu body began in 1915. This led to a launch of the shuddhi and sangathan on a large scale in 1923. This is when one of the many movements of reform began when the militant Muslim population poised to wipe out the Hindus and their culture. At this time, the Hindu population was the creation of urban, educated, middle-class leaders. Thus, the sense of religious caste and community identity was far more widespread than ever. The Shuddhi movement stated that anyone who was not Hindu was to convert, and through the Shuddhi movement came the Sangathan movement, a purity movement, which took action against those who were non-Hindu. As northern India was becoming more colonial, the British image of masculinity was projected throughout the different Indian communities. Hinduism was in between what it once was and what others were trying to transform it to be, the new Hindu image was intended to portray a man who could add strength to the community. The Shuddhi and Sangathan programs were launched in 1923 by Arya Samaj and the Hindu Mahasabha, and was intended to combat the growing Muslim population who were trying to remove the Hindus. There were many fights between the Hindus and Muslims as well as abuse toward the Hindu women. These are some of the drivers of the Hindu campaign to "reclaim the victims and protect the faithful" (Gupta). With this new system, the Muslims who were to be converted to Hindus would be put in the same caste system as before with no way of moving up, this caused a struggle between groups. This movement grew quickly for it emphasised the ideal of Hindu masculinity. Through this campaign, the Hindu people were feared and respected and no longer seen as cowardly or helpless. Shuddhi and Sangathan represented the idea that masculinity was restored, and Hinduism would thrive with Shuddhi practices and return power to the Hindu male. Although the Hindu males were gaining more power, they were also illustrating more negative male violence. [11] In 1923, multiple Hindu-Muslim riots broke out to gain the province of India. After the riots broke out, Hindu organizations attained a new importance and conversions were then challenged in an organised manner.[12] 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. This religion varies from Monotheism, Polytheism, Pantheism, Atheism and other tendencies, so considering another conception of God another form or avatar of the ultimate reality or creator is certainly possible.

Another reason could be like Buddhism, Hinduism is an ancient religion (the most ancient religion in the world, as a matter of fact) 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[edit]

Hindu nationalism fueled Indian nationalism following partition. Hindu nationalism was aggressively promoted by right wing Hindus like:

  1. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar - for the formation of Akhand Bharat
  2. Purushottam Das Tandon - promoted Hindi as the Official language of India

Others include: Syama Prasad Mookerjee, K.B. Hedgewar.

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 Bombay riots following the demolition of Babri mosque by extremists and 2002 Gujarat riots and the wars fought against Pakistan.

Christian missionary groups from the West seek to convert the populace, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu, to Christianity, often using external aid, education and medical care as an inducement or bribe, and thus have been at loggerheads with right wing Hindu groups.

Kerala, 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, 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 states and territories of the country. Most of the northern and north-western India, especially Gujarat remains the stronhold 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 Pandits (Hindus) were forced to leave the valley (mass exodus) by Pakistani militants. Pakistan sponsored the militants attempt to overtake 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.

Hindu population in India[edit]

File:2001 Census India religion distribution map, percent Hindu in states and union territories.svg
Hindus as percentage of total population in different states of India (Census 2001).[13]

The Hindu population of India according to the official 2011 census[14] 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), parts of North-East India and Lakshadweep (UT), the other 24 Indian states and 6 union territories have an overwhelming majority of Hindus. Out of the 8 states of Northeast India, Tripura, Sikkim, Assam, Manipur are Hindu majority while the rest four have Hindus in minority. For more detailed figures from 2011 census, see this table.[15]

Region Hindus Total % Hindus
India 966,378,868 1,210,910,328 79.8%
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 89,703,057 112,374,333 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 401,876 1,383,727 29.04%
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%

See also[edit]


  1. Abantika Ghosh , Vijaita Singh (24 January 2015). "Census 2011: Muslims record decadal growth of 24.6 pc, Hindus 16.8 pc". Indian Express. Indian Express. Retrieved 27 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Muslim representation on decline". The Times of India. 31 August 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Hindus 79.8%, Muslims 14.2% of population: census data".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "India Census 2011". Censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 25 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Hinduism". Adherents.com. Retrieved 17 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. N. Siegel, Paul. The meek and the militant: religion and power across the world. Zed Books, 1987. ISBN 9780862323493.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Hoiberg, Dale. Students' Britannica India. Popular Prakashan, 2000. ISBN 9780852297605.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "India", Oxford English Dictionary, second edition, 2100a.d. Oxford University Press.
  9. Thompson Platts, John. A dictionary of Urdū, classical Hindī, and English. W.H. Allen & Co., Oxford University 1884.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/363851/Maratha
  11. Gupta, Charu (2 October 2014). "Anxious Hindu masculinities in colonial North India: Shuddhi and Sangathan movements". ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials: 441–454.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Gupta, Charu (1 January 2011). "Anxious Hindu masculinities in colonial North India: Shuddhi and Sangathan movements". ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials: 441–454.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Population by religious communities Census of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India
  14. "Indian Census". Censusindia.gov.in. 14 May 2012. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "C-1 Population By Religious Community". Census of India. Retrieved 23 June 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>