India is neither a melting pot nor a salad bowl

Indian religions

Hindus make up 80% of India’s population

For a long time, society has been described as a melting pot and salad bowl.

The first encourages immigrants to blend in with the dominant culture. Second, immigrants retain their unique characteristics while blending into the new society.

According to the new, India is clearly neither Research According to the Pew Research Center based in the United States. The non-profit fact tank published this comprehensive survey of Indian religions after speaking with about 30,000 people in 17 languages. Hindus make up 80% of the population and Muslims make up 14%.

When it comes to religion, studies show that Indians of all religions support religious tolerance at once. And Religious segregation.

The majority (84%) say that “respecting” other religions is an important part of their identity and being a true Indian.

However, a significant number of them do not want neighbors of other religions and oppose interpagan and caste marriages. They also prefer to make friends within their own religious community.

“This shows the unique understanding of multiple Indian societies. Thali “Indian cuisine, including a selection of separate dishes served on a platter, not a melting pot,” said Neha Sahgal, one of the lead authors of the study.

Hindu Holi Festival

Hindu Holi Festival

Indian Religious Life-Important Discovery

  • 64% of Hindus say that being a “true Indian” is very important to be Hindu

  • About two-thirds of Hindus want to prevent marriage between Hindu female or male pagans.I feel the larger share of Muslims as well

  • 36% Hindus do not want Muslims as neighbors

  • 53% of adults say religious diversity benefits India

  • 97% of Indians say they believe in God, and about 80% of most religious groups say they are absolutely confident that God exists.

(Source: Indian Religions, Pew Research Center)

Many scholars believe The founding fathers of India wanted a society in which the national identity was a more salad bowl that recognized and embraced diverse civic groups.

So did this dream fail and it turns out that India is a patchwork quilt of complex republics, people living together but separately, religions and cultures?

It’s hard to say. Despite a strong desire for religious segregation, Indians share many beliefs. For example, most Hindus (81%) believe that the Holy Ganges has the power to purify. But so are 66% (66%) of Jains, a quarter of Muslims, and a third of Christians.

Muslims may say they believe in karma as well as Hindus (77% each)-the belief that action has consequences. About 54% of Indian Christians also share this view.

“It’s not uncommon to see seemingly contradictory views in public opinion,” Jonathan Evans, the second lead author of the study, told me.

For example, 2019 Pew in Western Europe Research We found that Christians, whether or not they attend church regularly, are more likely to have a negative view of religious minorities and immigrants than those without religious identities. ..

Indian idols

India is a very religious country

As a result, many wonder how this fits into the Christian doctrine of “loving your neighbor” and the actions of Western European churches to actively resettle refugees from the Middle East. I did. This study outlined the strong link between Christian identity and religious minorities and attitudes towards immigrants.

At the same time, some of the findings in India are also significantly different. For example, only 58% of respondents said they were willing to accept a Muslim neighbor.

In the Pew survey, the majority of respondents from Italy (65%), the United Kingdom (78%), France (85%) and the United States (89%) Willing to accept Muslims as neighborsAlthough none of these countries have been freed from anti-Islamic sentiment. And throughout Western Europe, people were divided on the compatibility of Islam with their own culture and values.

In India, religious segregation is closely linked to national identity and political faults, scholars said.

Not surprisingly, according to a survey, the Hindus who voted for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are Hindus and one of the many major languages ​​spoken in India, Hindi. He said it was important to be a true Indian to speak. They also tended to be wary of people of other faiths as marriages between neighbors and heathens.

Will it lead to discrimination against minorities?

Delhi Riot 2020

More than 40 people died during a clash between Hindus and Muslims in Delhi in 2019

Studies show that about a quarter of believers in major faiths faced a lot of discrimination. Separately, one in five Muslims living in northern India (mainly governed by Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist party) said he faced religious discrimination.

Even more worrisome, the majority of Indians (65%) (Hindus and Muslims) said religious violence was a “very big problem.” Only corruption, crime and violence against women were ranked high as concerns.

Surprisingly, only 20% believed that caste-based discrimination was widespread. “It is quite possible to think that exclusion societies are not discriminatory. We are not moving from exclusion to discrimination.” Platap Banu Meta, A leading scholar.

So what does this survey, the largest survey conducted by Pew outside the United States, tell us about India?

Analysts like Professor Mehta reveal not only religious nations working on diversity, but also exclusive nations with reduced support for individual freedom and increased commitment to Hindu politics. I believe there is.

In a broader sense, according to political Islamic scholar Giral Ahmed, the study supports the fact that India is a “conservative society in a democratic framework.”

Read more by Soutik Biswas

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