Religious Composition

Indian society is divided into a large number of religious communities. But, broadly there are seven major religions. The majority of people follow one of these seven major religions.

These are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Budhism, Sikhism and Zoroastrians. Hindus are the largest religious community in India. According to 2001 census, 80.5% percentage of population follow this religion. Followers of this religion are more concentrated in the northern plains and the northern parts of the plateau region.

However they are sufficiently numerous in all parts of the country except a few north-eastern states and union territory of Lakshadweep. But the distribution of the other religious communities is less continuous and there are only some pockets in which they have larger concentration.

The largest number of Muslim population is in Uttar Pradesh followed by West Bengal and Bihar. But the Muslim population make a large proportion of the total population in Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Lakshadweep. Apart from these states and Union Territory, other states where Muslims have significant presence (more than national average) are Assam and Kerala. If we look at spatial distribution, then it is observed that most of these states stretch over northern great plains except Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir.

The largest concentration of Christians is found in the state of Kerala followed by Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. But if we look at the proportion to total population, then it is found in some of the north eastern states namely Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland.

As far as Sikhs are concerned more than three-fourth Sikh population are found in Punjab alone. Besides Punjab, neighbouring districts of Haryana and Rajasthan also have concentration of Sikh population. Apart from these states, Terrai region of Uttarakhand and National Capital Territory of Delhi have significant number of Sikh population.

As far as Buddhists and Jains are concerned, Maharashtra has the largest number of population belong to both the religion. Apart from Maharashtra, traditional pockets of Buddhists are Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir, Dharamsala (Mcleodganj) and surrounding districts of Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.

Similarly, besides Maharashtra, Jains have significant presence in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh. Zoroastrains are as such very few in numbers and most of them are found in and around Mumbai in Maharashtra.

Summary

  • There are seven major religions and to which most of the Indians subscribe.
  • Hindus are the largest group followed by Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.
  • Concentration of different religions occur in various parts of the country.