Hindu population decreased by 7.8%, while Muslims increased by 43.15% between 1950 and 2015 says EAC-PM paper.

Hindu population decreased by 7.8%, while Muslims increased by 43.15% between 1950 and 2015 says EAC-PM paper.

Hindu population decreased by 7.8%, while Muslims increased by 43.15% between 1950 and 2015 says EAC-PM paper.

A recent working paper by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) sheds light on the shifting demographic landscape of India between 1950 and 2015. Titled ‘Share of Religious Minorities: A Cross-Country Analysis (1950-2015)’, the paper reveals intriguing trends regarding the share of various religious communities in the country’s population.

According to the findings, the Hindu population witnessed a decline of 7.82%, from 84.68% in 1950 to 78.06% in 2015. In contrast, the Muslim population saw a significant increase of 43.15%, rising from 9.84% in 1950 to 14.09% in 2015. This dramatic demographic shift underscores the evolving religious dynamics within India’s societal fabric.

The paper, spearheaded by a team led by Shamika Ravi, a member of the EAC-PM, also highlights changes in the shares of other religious communities. The share of Jains, for instance, decreased marginally from 0.45% in 1950 to 0.36% in 2015. Similarly, the Christian population experienced a modest increase from 2.24% to 2.36% over the same period, marking a 5.38% rise in their share.

Notably, the Sikh community witnessed a noticeable uptick in its share, climbing from 1.24% in 1950 to 1.85% in 2015, representing a 6.58% increase. However, the Parsi population in India faced a stark decline, plummeting by 85% from 0.03% in 1950 to a mere 0.004% in 2015.

The data encapsulates a broader narrative of India’s societal evolution, reflecting both demographic trends and the complex interplay of historical, cultural, and socio-political factors. The rising proportion of the Muslim population alongside shifts in the shares of other religious communities underscores the nation’s rich diversity and pluralistic ethos.

Importantly, the paper emphasizes the significance of fostering an inclusive environment that nurtures diversity and supports marginalized sections of society. It suggests that promoting better life outcomes for disadvantaged groups necessitates a holistic approach, encompassing societal support mechanisms and a bottom-up perspective.

The findings of the paper prompt reflections on the implications for governance, policy formulation, and social cohesion in India. As the nation grapples with the complexities of diversity and identity, understanding demographic dynamics becomes imperative for informed decision-making and inclusive development strategies.

Moreover, the changing religious composition of India’s population underscores the importance of safeguarding fundamental principles of secularism, tolerance, and religious freedom. Upholding these values is essential for fostering a cohesive society where every individual, regardless of religious affiliation, enjoys equal rights and opportunities.

In conclusion, the EAC-PM’s working paper provides valuable insights into India’s evolving religious demography and underscores the imperative of nurturing diversity and promoting inclusivity. By embracing the nation’s pluralistic heritage and addressing socio-economic disparities, India can chart a path towards a more equitable and harmonious future.

The working paper highlights a significant trend observed in India’s demographic landscape, wherein the share of the majority population has decreased while that of minority groups has increased. This shift, it suggests, reflects a broader societal trend towards increasing diversity, propelled by various policy actions, political decisions, and societal processes.

Remarkably, India’s experience aligns with global patterns of declining majority populations. While many countries in the South Asian neighborhood have seen a rise in majority religious denominations and a decline in minority populations, India stands out for its contrasting trajectory. This is particularly noteworthy given the wider context in which neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Afghanistan have witnessed significant shifts in religious demographics.

The paper underscores the importance of the year 1950 as a baseline for analyzing demographic trends. This period coincided with the emergence of the international human rights framework, with a growing emphasis on minority rights and state responsibility for their protection under the auspices of the United Nations. Against this backdrop, the paper offers a detailed cross-country analysis spanning 65 years from 1950 to 2015, examining changes in the share of minority populations across 167 countries.

In this global context, the average share of the majority religious denomination in 1950 stood at 75%, highlighting the predominance of majority groups across nations. However, the mean of the distribution capturing changes in majority religious denominations between 1950 and 2015 was 21.9%, signifying a significant shift in religious demographics over the decades.

The paper underscores the role of India, alongside countries like Myanmar and Nepal, where a decline in the share of the majority religious denomination has been observed. This trend is indicative of broader shifts in societal dynamics, reflecting evolving attitudes towards religion and identity.

Moreover, the paper draws attention to the implications of these demographic changes, particularly in terms of minority rights and state obligations. As minority populations undergo transformations in their share of the overall population, questions arise regarding their socio-economic status, political representation, and access to resources and opportunities.

The findings of the paper have broader implications for policymaking and governance, emphasizing the need for inclusive policies that cater to the diverse needs of all segments of society. By recognizing and addressing the challenges faced by minority communities, governments can promote social cohesion, strengthen democratic institutions, and foster an environment of mutual respect and understanding.

In conclusion, the working paper provides valuable insights into the changing dynamics of religious demographics, both in India and globally. By shedding light on trends spanning several decades, it offers a nuanced understanding of the factors driving these shifts and the implications for society at large. As India continues to navigate its path towards development and progress, ensuring the rights and well-being of all its citizens, regardless of religious affiliation, remains paramount.

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