Indians worth non secular freedom and tolerance however not nice at integration, finds Pew survey


South India extra inclusive, says Pew Middle report on non secular attitudes within the nation.

South India extra inclusive, says Pew Middle report on non secular attitudes within the nation.

Most Indians, reducing throughout religions, really feel they take pleasure in non secular freedom, worth non secular tolerance, and regard respect for all religions as central to what India is as a nation. On the similar time, in what would possibly appear to be a contradiction, the bulk in every of the key non secular teams present a marked desire for non secular segregation and “wish to dwell individually”, in keeping with a nation-wide survey on non secular attitudes, behaviours and beliefs performed by Pew Analysis Middle, a non-profit based mostly in Washington DC.

As an illustration, the report discovered that 91% of Hindus felt they’ve non secular freedom, whereas 85% of them believed that respecting all religions was crucial ‘to being actually Indian’. Additionally, for many Hindus, non secular tolerance was not only a civic advantage but additionally a non secular worth, with 80% of them stating that respecting different religions was an integral side of ‘being Hindu’. Different religions confirmed related numbers for freedom of faith and non secular tolerance. Whereas 89% of Muslims and Christians mentioned they felt free to observe their faith, the comparative figures for Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains have been 82%, 93%, and 85% respectively.

On the query of spiritual tolerance, 78% of Muslims felt it was a vital side of being Indian, whereas 79% deemed it part of their non secular identification as Muslims. Different non secular denominations scored equally excessive on non secular tolerance.

The survey additionally revealed various shared beliefs that minimize throughout non secular boundaries. For instance, whereas 77% of Hindus mentioned they believed in
karma , an equivalent share of Muslims mentioned in order effectively. Additionally, 32% of Christians (together with 81% of Hindus) believed within the purifying energy of the Ganga, whereas the bulk in all the key faiths mentioned respecting elders is essential to their faith.

Index of spiritual segregation

And but, paradoxically, regardless of these shared values and a excessive regard for non secular tolerance, the bulk in all of the faiths scored poorly on the metrics for non secular segregation: composition of associates circle, views on stopping inter-religious marriage, and willingness to simply accept folks of different religions as neighbours.

The report, observing that “in India, an individual’s faith is usually additionally the faith of that particular person’s shut associates”, states that comparatively few Indians (13%) had a blended associates circle. Practically half (47%) of Hindus mentioned that every one their shut associates shared their non secular identification, whereas 39% mentioned most of their associates have been fellow Hindus. The comparative figures for different faiths have been 45% and 44% for Muslims, 22% and 56% for Christians, 25% and 56% for Sikhs, and 22% and 52% for Buddhists. In different phrases, folks belonging to smaller non secular teams have been much less possible than Hindus and Muslims to say that every one their associates have been of the identical faith.


On the query of inter-religious marriage, most Hindus (67%), Muslims (80%), Sikhs (59%), and Jains (66%) felt it was ‘crucial’ to cease the ladies of their group from marrying exterior their faith (related charges of opposition to males marrying exterior faith). However significantly fewer Christians (37%) and Buddhists (46%) felt this fashion.

As for the third metric, the majorities in all of the non secular teams have been, hypothetically, keen to simply accept members of different non secular teams as neighbours, however a big quantity had reservations. Amongst Hindus, most have been keen to dwell close to a member of a non secular minority, corresponding to Muslim (57%), a Christian (59%), or a Jain (59%). However altogether 36% of Hindus mentioned they might not be keen to dwell close to a Muslim, with 31% saying the identical for Christians. Jains have been much more more likely to categorical such views, with 54% saying they might not settle for a Muslim neighbour, and 47% saying the identical about Christians.

In distinction, Buddhists have been most certainly to voice acceptance of different non secular teams as neighbours, with roughly 80% of them wiling to simply accept a Muslim, Christian, Sikh or Jain as a neighbour, and much more (89%) prepared to simply accept a Hindu neighbour. About 78% of Muslims mentioned they might be keen to have a Hindu as a neighbour.

Apparently, the survey discovered that Hindus who voted for the BJP within the 2019 elections tended to be much less accepting of spiritual minorities of their neighbourhood. Solely about half of the Hindus who voted for the BJP mentioned they might settle for a Muslim (51%) or a Christian (53%) as neighbours, in contrast with greater shares of those that voted for different events (64% and 67% respectively).

Geography was a key consider figuring out attitudes, with folks within the south of India extra religiously built-in and fewer against inter-religious marriages. Folks within the South “are much less possible than these in different areas to say all their shut associates share their faith (29%),” famous the report. Amongst Hindus within the South, 31% mentioned that every one their shut associates have been Hindu, in comparison with 47% of Hindus nationally. An excellent decrease variety of Muslims within the South (19%) mentioned that every one their associates have been Muslim, whereas 45% of Muslims throughout the nation mentioned all their shut associates have been fellow Muslims.

Non secular identification and nationalism

The survey additionally discovered that Hindus are inclined to see their non secular identification and Indian nationwide identification as carefully intertwined, with 64% saying that it was ‘crucial’ to be Hindu to be “actually” Indian. Most Hindus (59%) additionally linked Indian identification with with the ability to communicate Hindi. And amongst Hindus who believed it was crucial to be Hindu so as to be actually Indian, a full 80% additionally believed it was crucial to talk Hindi to be actually Indian. About 60% of Hindu voters who linked Indian identification to being Hindu and talking in Hindi voted for the BJP, in contrast with solely a 3rd amongst Hindu voters for whom these points didn’t matter for nationwide identification.

Southern deviation

The survey discovered that nationally, three-in-ten Hindus took each these positions: linking being Hindu and talking Hindi to being Indian, and voting for BJP. However once more, there was a transparent geographical skew of their distribution: whereas roughly half of the Hindu voters in northern and central India fell into this class, solely 5% of Hindu voters within the South did so.

Additionally, Hindu nationalist sentiments have been much less prevalent within the South. Amongst Hindus, these within the South (42%) have been far much less possible than these in Central states (83%) or the North (69%) to say that being Hindu was crucial to being actually Indian. Additionally, folks within the South have been considerably much less non secular than these in different areas: 69% mentioned faith was crucial to their lives, whereas 92% in Central India held the identical view. Solely 37% of Indians within the South mentioned they prayed daily, in comparison with greater than half of the Indians surveyed within the different areas.

The Pew Middle’s survey of faith throughout India is predicated on almost 30,000 face-to-face interviews of adults performed in 17 languages from November 17, 2019 to March 23, 2020. The biggest such survey in India until date, it covers the experiences and attitudes of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs and Jains.

The themes coated by the survey embrace non secular identification, beliefs and practices, views on Indian nationwide identification, caste, experiences with discrimination, non secular conversion, and the connection between financial growth and non secular observance.


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