Berkley Center Knowledge Resources Home Berkley Center Home Berkley Center on iTunes U Berkley Center's YouTube Channel Berkley Center's Vimeo Channel Berkley Center's YouTube Channel Berkley Center's iTunes Page Berkley Center's Twitter Page Berkley Center's Facebook Page Berkley Center's Vimeo Channel Berkley Center's YouTube Channel Berkley Center's iTunes Page WFDD's Twitter Page WFDD's Facebook Page Doyle Undergraduate Initiatives Undergraduate Learning and Interreligious Understanding Survey Junior Year Abroad Network Undergraduate Fellows Knowledge Resources KR Classroom Resources KR Countries KR Traditions KR Topics Berkley Center Home Berkley Center Knowledge Resources Berkley Center Home Berkley Center Forum Back to the Berkley Center World Faiths Development Dialogue Back to the Berkley Center Religious Freedom Project Back to the Berkley Center Religious Freedom Project Blog Back to the Berkley Center Catholic Social Thought Back to the Berkley Center Normative Orders Collaborative
April 24, 2014  |  About the Berkley Center  |  Directions to the Center  |  Subscribe
 
Topics Traditions Countries Classroom US/China  
India

POPULATION

1,205,073,612 (July 2012 est.)

GDP PER CAPITA

$3,700 (2011 est.)

RELIGIONS

Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)
> source

ALSO IN SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Afghanistan
Bangladesh
Kazakhstan
Pakistan
Uzbekistan

IndiaPrinter-icon

South and Central Asia

Religion has consistently played an important and contentious role in Indian politics and society. The country has a long history of religious diversity; it has given rise to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, and over the course of centuries Islam has become India’s second largest faith. The largest community of Zoroastrians has made their home in Mumbai, India for hundreds of years and the country boasts the oldest Jewish population outside of Jerusalem. Amidst this diversity, India has developed a tradition of religious tolerance, personified by figures like Akbar the Great, a Muslim Mughal King (1556-1605) and Mohandas Gandhi, the Indian nationalist leader (1869-1948). Yet, from Timur’s invasion in 1398 to the Gujarat riots of 2002, the country has also suffered many tragic episodes of religio-political violence. Following Independence from the British, India’s government embraced secular democracy and religious pluralism; the Indian Constitution guarantees religious freedom, mandates the government treat all religions equally, and in certain cases allows religious communities to use their own legal systems for adjudication. For example, an Indian Muslim may choose to pursue divorce proceedings in the Indian civil court or in the Islamic Shariah court. However, these pluralistic government policies are currently contested by Hindu nationalist groups that call for greater recognition and adherence to of the country’s Hindu heritage.

ESSAYS ON INDIA

The Emergence of Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim Dynasties
From the Colonial Era to Independence
Religious Pluralism and Religious Conflict
Contemporary Affairs
Religious Freedom in India
Religion in the Indian Constitution