A great range of diversified religious beliefs and practices delineate the religions in India. The preamble of the Indian constitution asserts that India is a secular state. India is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions, namely- Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.
As per the current census, about 79.8 percent of the Indian population practices Hinduism whole 14.2 percent adheres to Islam, 2.3 percent to Christianity, 1.7 percent to Sikhism, 0.7 percent to Buddhism, and the 0.4 percent adheres to Jainism.
Zoroastrianism, Sanamahism, and Judaism also do exist in the ancient history of India, and each having thousands of Indian adherents. India bears the largest population of people who adhere to Zoroastrianism, i.e. Parsis and Iranis- in the world, although this religion initiated in Persia.
Religion has been a vital part of the nation’s culture all over India’s history. Religious diversity and tolerance are both developed in India by the law and custom, i.e. the Constitution of India announced the right to freedom of religion as a fundamental right.
In today’s era, India is the shelter to around 94 percent of the global population of Hindus. The Indian departure in the West made many aspects of Hindu philosophies to popularise. These philosophies include yoga, Ayurvedic, meditation, divination medicine, karma, and reincarnation. The sway of Indian religions has a major significance all over the world.
- Hinduism is an ancient religion bearing the most considerable number of religious groups in India. It ranges of around 966 million adherents, wrapping about 79.8 percent of the population of India.
- Hinduism is a diversified religion including a variety of ethics like- monotheism, polytheism, henotheism, panentheism, monism, pantheism, atheism, agnosticism, and Gnosticism which are represented in it.
- The term “Hindu” was originally a geographical description that originates from the Sanskrit word Sindhu (Indus River) which refers to a person belonging from the land of the river Sindhu.
- Several Hindu-based systems have spread Hindu spiritual and religious beliefs and practices. These include- the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the Ramakrishna Mission, the Brahma Kumaris, the Ananda Marga, etc.
- Most of the Hindu shrines and temples are located in India since they have a belief that India is the birthplace of most Hindu saints. Prayagraj or Allahabad anchors the world’s largest religious pilgrimage, i.e. “PrayagKumbhMela“. In this pilgrimage, Hindus from different parts of the world come together to take a bath in the conflux of three sacred rivers of India- the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the Saraswati.
- Buddhism is an Indian, transtheistic creed and philosophy.
- India is the shelter for around 8.5 million Buddhists, which maps about 0.7 percent of the total population of India.
- As a religion Buddhism is practiced significantly in the foothills of the Himalayas.
- It is an essential religion in Sikkim, Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling in West Bengal, and the Lahaul and Spiti locales of Himachal Pradesh.
- A significant number of Buddhists inhabit Maharashtra as well. They are the Navayana Buddhists or Neo-Buddhists who seized Buddhism under the impact of B. R. Ambedkar. They embrace this to escape the casteist practices within Hinduism.
- Ambedkar is a crucial figure in addition to “AnagarikaDharmapala” belonging to Sri Lanka and “KripasaranMahasthavira” of Chittagong following the revival of Buddhism in India in the 19th and 20th centuries.
- The getaway of the 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) to India absconding the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959 and the Tibetan Government being set up in Exile at Dharamshala in Mcleodganj, Himachal Pradesh has also augmented the upturn of Buddhism in India.
- The effectual religion in Sikkim linked with the Indian Union in 1975, and it remains Vajrayana Buddhism, and Padmasambhava or Guru Ugyen stands out as an esteemed presence there.
- Jainism is a non-theistic religion of India and a philosophical system that originated in the Iron Age of India.
- Jains compose about 0.4 percent (around 4.45 million) of India’s population.
- Jains mainly constitute the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan.
- Islam is a monotheistic religion edged on the belief in one God.
- Muslims follow the example and path of the Prophet Muhammad.
- It is the largest minority religion in India. India’s population consists of about 14.2 percent (approx. 200 million) people who are adherents of Islam.
- It embodies India to be the country with the largest Muslim population outside the Muslim-majority countries.
- Muslims are a majority in Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshadweep, and they live in high concentrations in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, and Kerala.
- Sources report the largest denomination of Sunni Islam with a considerable minority of Shiite Muslims and Ahmadi Muslims.
- Indian report sources like Times of India and DNA made a note that the Indian Shiite population in mid-2005 to 2006 was between 25 to 31 percent of the entire Muslim population of India. It accounts for up to 40 and 50 million.
- India also homes the largest population of Muslims in the world, bearing about one-third of all Muslim majority being from South Asia.
- India is the cradle of Ahmadiyya Islam, and so India is one of the countries in the world has at least two million Ahmadi Muslims.
- The topes of some of the most famous saints of Sufism, like Moinuddin Chishti and NizamuddinAuliya, found in India, attract tourists and visitors from all over the world.
- The gradual appraisal of Islam in India (over the past half-millennium) is a boggle of India’s current political status and the gist of an extensive campaign of biased misinformation.
- Christianity is a monotheistic religion axised around the life and teachings of God Jesus as briefed in the New Testament.
- It is the third-largest religion in India which makes up to 2.3 percent of the population in India.
- St. Thomas is known for introducing Christianity in India.
- He reached the Malabar Coast in 52 AD.
Christians consist of a majority in Nagaland, Mizoram, and Meghalaya, and they have considerable populations in Kerala and Goa.