6 details about Jains in India


Jain nuns collect beneath the monolithic statue of Gommateshvara throughout the first day of the Mahamastakabhisheka ceremony on Feb. 8, 2006, in Shravanabelagola, India. (Mario Tama/Getty Photographs)

Jainism is among the world’s oldest religions, originating in India a minimum of 2,500 years in the past. The non secular purpose of Jainism is to turn out to be liberated from the countless cycle of rebirth and to realize an all-knowing state referred to as moksha. This may be attained by residing a nonviolent life, or ahimsa, with as little unfavourable affect on different life types as attainable.   

The traditions of Jainism had been largely carried ahead by a succession of 24 tirthankaras, or academics, most notably Vardhamana Mahavira, the final of the tirthankaras and sure a recent of Gautama Buddha. Each Mahavira and Buddha emphasised the significance of self-discipline, meditation and ascetic life as the important thing to salvation. Their teachings typically stood in distinction to these of Vedic monks of the time who emphasised ritual practices and their very own function as intermediaries between humanity and the gods. 

Immediately, a sliver of India’s inhabitants (0.4%) identifies as Jain, making it the smallest of the nation’s six main spiritual teams after Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism. Indians general know little or no about this historic faith and its practices, based on a June 2021 Pew Analysis Heart report primarily based on a survey of practically 30,000 Indians. Listed here are six details about Jains in India, from the report.

Pew Analysis Heart carried out this evaluation to take a more in-depth have a look at the Jain inhabitants in India. It’s primarily based on the June 2021 report “Faith in India: Tolerance and Segregation,” the Heart’s most complete, in-depth exploration of Indian public opinion thus far. For this report, we accomplished 29,999 face-to-face interviews in 17 languages with adults ages 18 and older residing in 26 Indian states and three union territories. The pattern included interviews with 22,975 Hindus, 3,336 Muslims, 1,782 Sikhs, 1,011 Christians, 719 Buddhists and 109 Jains. An extra 67 respondents belong to different religions or are religiously unaffiliated. Interviews for this nationally consultant survey had been carried out from Nov. 17, 2019, to March 23, 2020.

Respondents had been chosen utilizing a probability-based pattern design that will permit for sturdy evaluation of all main spiritual teams in India, in addition to all main regional zones. Six teams had been focused for oversampling as a part of the survey design: Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and people residing within the Northeast area. Information was weighted to account for the totally different chances of choice amongst respondents and to align with demographic benchmarks for the Indian grownup inhabitants from the 2011 census.

Listed here are the questions used for this report, together with responses, and its methodology.

Jains are concentrated in India’s West, largely in Maharashtra. Regardless of Jainism’s historic origins in India’s Japanese area, few Jains stay within the East. The adjustments within the regional focus of Jains are believed to have began round 300 B.C.E. when Jains started migrating to the West, presumably in the hunt for extra favorable kingdoms. Immediately, 4% of the inhabitants of Mumbai – the capital of Maharashtra and the industrial and enterprise middle of India – identifies as Jain.

Jains are extra extremely educated and wealthier than Indians general, and few determine as decrease caste. Roughly a 3rd (34%) of Jain adults have a minimum of a university diploma, in contrast with 9% of most of the people, based on India’s 2011 census. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of Jains fall into India’s prime wealth quintiles, based on India’s Nationwide Household and Well being Survey.

Wealth and schooling in India are inextricably linked with caste. Jains are the one spiritual group in India the place a majority say they’re members of a better Common Class caste. Most Indians (68%) are members of decrease castes (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or Different Backwards Courses), in contrast with 20% of Jains who determine with these communities.

Nearly all Jains are vegetarian, in step with steerage to pursue ahimsa (not harming different life). Roughly nine-in-ten Indian Jains (92%) determine as vegetarian, and two-thirds of Jains (67%) go additional by abstaining from root greens akin to garlic and onion. Consuming root greens is seen as a type of violence in Jain teachings as a result of consuming the basis of a plant destroys the plant in its entirety. These dietary practices prolong outdoors the house; greater than eight-in-ten Jain vegetarians additionally say they’d not eat meals within the residence of a good friend or neighbor who was non-vegetarian (84%) or in a restaurant that served non-vegetarian meals (91%).

Jains really feel they’ve so much in frequent with Indian Hindus. Regardless of theological variations between Jain and Hindu teachings – as an example, Hinduism teaches that the universe was created, however Jainism doesn’t – the 2 religions share many similarities of their teachings and practices. For instance, each religions train about karma, and roughly three-quarters of each Jains (75%) and Hindus (77%) say they consider in karma. (Karma is usually understood as the concept that people will finally reap the advantages of their good deeds and pay the worth for his or her unhealthy deeds, typically of their subsequent life, although survey respondents weren’t supplied a definition.)

Furthermore, when requested whether or not Jains and Hindus in India have so much in frequent or are very totally different, about two-thirds of Jains (66%) say that the 2 communities have so much in frequent.

Nevertheless, that feeling is just not absolutely reciprocated. Simply 19% of Hindus see quite a lot of commonality with Jains. One purpose for this mismatch could also be that Jains are likely to know extra about Hindus – who make up 81% of the Indian inhabitants – than vice versa. Three-in-ten Jains say they know “an excellent deal” concerning the Hindu faith and its practices, whereas simply 3% of Hindus say they know so much about Jainism.

Like many Indians, Jains are likely to favor residing individually from different spiritual and caste teams. Whereas practically all Jains (92%) say they’d be prepared to simply accept a Hindu neighbor, considerably fewer say they’d be prepared to simply accept a Muslim (38%), Christian (46%), Sikh (55%) or Buddhist (58%) within the space the place they reside. Furthermore, massive majorities of Indian Jains say it is very important cease each ladies (82%) and males (81%) from marrying into different spiritual teams. And regardless of making up a small share of the nationwide inhabitants, practically three-quarters of Jains say that each one or most of their shut buddies are additionally Jain (72%).

These attitudes usually are not unusual in India – majorities of Hindus additionally oppose spiritual intermarriage – and will partly be tied to Jains’ specific demographic make-up. For instance, whereas a majority of Jains determine as members of the upper Common Class castes, Buddhists in India overwhelmingly determine as Dalits, or members of the decrease Scheduled Castes. The truth is, Jains are more likely than different Indians to say that they’d not settle for a member of a Scheduled Caste as a neighbor (41% vs. 21% nationally). Furthermore, massive majorities of Jains say it is very important cease each ladies (79%) and males (74%) of their group from marrying into different castes.

Dietary preferences may additionally play a job in Jain attitudes about different teams; in contrast to Jains, most Muslims and Christians in India, for instance, say they aren’t vegetarian.

Politically, Jains lean towards the nation’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Get together (BJP). Seven-in-ten Jains say they really feel closest to the BJP, whereas simply 8% say they really feel closest to the Indian Nationwide Congress (INC), the primary opposition social gathering. The truth is, Jains are extra possible than different spiritual communities in India, together with Hindus, to really feel political affinity with the BJP: Fewer than half of Hindus (44%) say they really feel closest to the BJP, a celebration that some say promotes a Hindu nationalist agenda.

Jains’ political choice for the BJP might partly be tied to their views on faith and nationwide id, which in some methods replicate Hindu nationalist sentiments extra akin to their Hindu compatriots than different minority communities in India. A major share of Jains (44%) say being Hindu is essential to actually being Indian, as do a majority of Hindus (64%). Amongst different spiritual teams, far fewer folks share this view, together with simply 21% of Sikhs. A slim majority of Jains (54%) additionally tie genuine Indian id with talking the Hindi language, one of many dozens of languages spoken in India. Amongst Hindus, these sentiments are carefully related to help for the BJP.

Kelsey Jo Starr  is a analysis analyst specializing in faith at Pew Analysis Heart.


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