Hindus in India see spiritual and nationwide identities as carefully linked


Artists create Hindu ritual art work depicting India as a mom goddess holding the nationwide flag and a logo of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s Independence Day on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on Aug. 15, 2020. (Sam Panthaky/AFP through Getty Photographs)

A minimum of for the reason that Bharatiya Janata Get together’s (BJP) electoral victories in 2014, the time period “Hindu nationalism” has been continuously invoked in each Indian and Western media, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling celebration usually described as selling a Hindu nationalist agenda. However there isn’t any broadly accepted definition of what the time period means, and little knowledge exists on how frequent Hindu nationalist attitudes are in India and the way they fluctuate throughout the nation.

A brand new Pew Analysis Middle survey of almost 30,000 Indian adults sought to measure a number of dimensions of Hindu nationalism by asking individuals how necessary sure attributes or behaviors are to “true” Indian id. This survey was carried out a number of months after the BJP’s victory within the 2019 parliamentary elections and earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pew Analysis Middle carried out this evaluation to shed extra mild on nationalism in India. It’s primarily based on the 2021 report “Faith in India: Tolerance and Segregation,” the Middle’s most complete, in-depth exploration of Indian public opinion up to now. For this report, we accomplished 29,999 face-to-face interviews in 17 languages with adults ages 18 and older dwelling 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 have been carried out from Nov. 17, 2019, to March 23, 2020.

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

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

A bar chart showing that Hindus in India say being Hindu, speaking Hindi very important to being ‘truly’ Indian

Hindus are much more seemingly than members of different spiritual teams to hyperlink Indian and Hindu identities: Practically two-thirds of Hindus (64%) say it is vitally necessary to be Hindu to be actually Indian. Far fewer respondents amongst different spiritual communities within the nation reply the identical method, together with 27% of Muslims who say being Hindu is essential to being actually Indian.

Hindu nationalism in India additionally has a linguistic dimension. Hindus are extra seemingly than different Indians to affiliate nationwide id with the Hindi language. Whereas India has dozens of main languages, a majority of Hindus (59%) really feel that having the ability to converse Hindi is essential to being actually Indian. Hindus who hyperlink their faith with nationwide id have a tendency additionally to hyperlink the Hindi language with being authentically Indian.

Altogether, about half of Hindus (51%) say being Hindu and talking Hindi are each crucial to being actually Indian. A considerable share of Jains (36%) additionally categorical each these sentiments, however Buddhists (25%), Muslims (23%), Sikhs (18%) and Christians (15%) are much less inclined to supply these definitions of nationwide id. In contrast, massive majorities of Indians throughout all main religions usually agree that respecting elders, respecting all religions, and respecting the nation’s establishments and legal guidelines are every paramount to being actually Indian.

A bar chart showing that Hindus’ views on religion and national identity vary by region

Amongst Hindus, opinion varies broadly in several components of the nation on the significance of Hindu id and talking Hindi in relation to nationwide id. Hindus within the Northern (69%) and Central (83%) areas are the most certainly to say being a Hindu is essential to be actually Indian, whereas Hindus within the South (42%) and Northeast (39%) categorical the weakest affiliation between nationwide and non secular identities. Equally, Hindus within the Northern (71%) and Central (87%) areas – which embrace the nation’s “Hindi belt,” the place Hindi is most prevalent – are the most certainly to say it is vitally necessary to have the ability to converse Hindi to be actually Indian. 

Hindus with a school diploma are much less prone to join language and faith with nationwide id. Roughly half of Hindu faculty graduates (53%) tie being Hindu with being actually Indian, in contrast with almost two-thirds of different Hindus (65%). Non secular observance performs a task as effectively: Amongst Hindus who say faith is essential of their lives, 70% say being Hindu is essential to being actually Indian, in contrast with 34% amongst much less religiously dedicated Hindus.

A bar chart showing that beliefs about Indian identity are tied to voting patterns

These beliefs about Hindu nationalism are strongly mirrored in political habits. Roughly half of Hindus who say they voted within the 2019 election say they voted for the ruling BJP (49%), however assist for the BJP is significantly larger amongst those that say each being Hindu and talking Hindi are crucial to be actually Indian. Six-in-ten Hindu voters who place nice significance on each of those attributes say they voted for the BJP within the 2019 parliamentary election. By comparability, 33% of those that say neither being Hindu nor having the ability to converse Hindi is essential to nationwide id reported voting for the celebration.

Though this group of Hindu BJP voters may even see a particular place for Hindus in India, they’re simply as seemingly as different Hindus to say respecting different religions is essential to being actually Indian. And they’re much more prone to say that spiritual variety advantages India. Practically two-thirds (65%) of this group – Hindus who say that being a Hindu and talking Hindi are crucial to be actually Indian and who voted for the BJP in 2019 – say spiritual variety is an effective factor for the nation, in contrast with about half (47%) of different Hindu voters who say the identical.

On the identical time, Hindus who categorical this mixture of Hindu nationalist positions are also extra inclined to assist a religiously segregated India – by opposing interreligious marriage, for example. Greater than eight-in-ten on this group (83%) say it is vitally necessary to cease Hindu ladies from marrying into one other faith, in contrast with roughly six-in-ten (61%) amongst different Hindu voters.

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

Manolo Corichi  is a analysis analyst specializing in faith analysis at Pew Analysis Middle.

Jonathan Evans  is a analysis affiliate specializing in faith analysis at Pew Analysis Middle.



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