Religious composition of India

Indian population have a very complex structure of religion. It is one of the important characteristics of its masses. Religion is a way of life in India and it affects the social, economic and political structure of society. Introduction of different religion in different pre historic time, to Indian land, have created a diversity of culture and brought about changes in life style of the masses, somewhere a fusion of different religion could be seen, evolved as new culture.

India is the mother land of four major religions- Hinduism, Budhism, Jainism, Sikhism. Hinduism, a religion thousands of years old and whose origin is difficult to trace, evolved out of varied indian ways of life, so different and yet in some intangible way unified. The most dominant religion, however, is Hinduism, while other three religion were founded by different person in post Vedic period.In addition to being the birth place of four major religions of the world, India has embraced other world religions also. Christianity and Islam came to India from the other lands. The entry of these two religions in India goes back to almost the first days of their prophets. Syrian Christians appeared on the west coast of India in the very first century of Christian era. The arab traders brought Islam to west coast of India much before the Muslim conquest of this country. The prosecuted Jews and Zoroastrians (parsis) found sanctuary on the Indian soil. Sikhism appeared on the religious scene of indian only about five centuries ago.
There have been large scale changes in the religous composition of popullation due to various factors two of them are as follows:

•Conversion from one faith to another.
•Partition of India in 1947 resulting large scale migration of religious group due political pressure.

Before partition-Hindu accounted for 66.5% of the population and muslim 23.7% (census 1941).
After partition-Large number of Muslim migrated from India to Pakistan and vice versa. Consequently, the proportion of these two religious communities changed. Hindu rose to 84.1% and that muslim fell to
9.8% (census 1951).

One heartening fact about religious composition of India is that different religious groups have coexisted for the last several centuries even during the troubled times when there have been clashes based on religion. India is the only country in the world where people belonging to different religious faiths are coexisting in peace and harmony.
Religion           Population         (%)
Hindus            827,578,868     80.5
Muslims         138,188,240     13.4
Christians        24,080,016       2.3
Sikhs               19,215,730      1.9
Buddhists         7,955,207        0.8
Jains                 4,225,053        0.4
Religions         6,639,626         0.6
not Stated       727,588             0.1
  Total             1,028,610,328 100.0

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