Hasan Rasheed Siddiqui
As a neutral person and as a journalist, I am often surprised to find that a country like India is home to people of almost every religion and has been dubbed the world’s largest secular state. The aspiring leaders of an extremist party there openly say that they will eradicate Islam and Christianity from India by 2021! Which has been endorsed and condemned by the American Institute for Religious Freedom.
As far as I know, religion is religious freedom in India and this country is characterized by diversity of beliefs and practices. According to the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution of 1976, India is a secular state, which means that the state will treat all religions equally. The subcontinent is the birthplace of many major religions; That is, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Throughout India’s history, religion has been an integral part of the country’s culture. Religious diversity and religious moderation were both established in the country by law and custom; The Constitution of India clearly states that religious freedom is a fundamental right. 90% of the total Hindu population of the world is in India. Most Hindu samadhis and temples are in India, as is the birthplace of most Hindu saints. Allahabad hosts the Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest religious pilgrimage, where Hindus from all over the world come to bathe at the confluence of the three sacred rivers of India, the Ganges, the Jumna and the Saraswati. In the West, Indian immigrants have popularized many aspects of Hindu philosophy such as yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, priesthood, karma and reincarnation. According to the 2011 census in India, 79.8% of the total population are Hindus and 14.2%. Muslims, while 6% are other religions such as Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc. Christianity is the third largest religion in India. Parsis and Jews also live here.
Religious freedom in India is a fundamental right guaranteed in Articles 25-28 of the Indian Constitution. Modern India dates back to 1947 and the Indian Constitution was amended in 1976 to make the country a secular state. According to which every citizen has the full right to live his life according to his religion. However, there have been several incidents of religious violence and riots, most notably the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, the anti-Hindu riots in Kashmir in 1990, the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat and the anti-Christian riots in 2008. Despite widespread condemnation, some of the perpetrators of the 1984 Sikh riots in Delhi have not been brought to justice.
India is one of the most diverse countries in terms of religion, 4 of the world’s major religions Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism originated here. Although Hinduism is the religion of 80% of the population, some regions of India are also the majority of some other special religions, Jammu and Kashmir is Muslim-majority, Punjab is Sikh-majority, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram are Christian-majority states and Indian Himalayan states like Sikkim and Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and the state of Maharashtra and Darjeeling district in West Bengal have a majority Buddhist population. Populations of Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians are important in the country. Islam is the largest minority religion in India.