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India's Religions
« on: February 15, 2007, 04:39:09 AM »
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  • India is a country rich in its own traditions, values and religions. There, religious festivals play an important role in binding its people in both their personal and public aspects, creating a country of profound culture and distinctiveness.

    Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism are the three ancient religions which were originated in India.

    Hinduism is the most dominant religion with around 80% of the population Hindus, whereas 0.8% of the population is Buddhists and only 0.4% of the population Jains. On the contrary, 2% of the population takes up a rather new religion Sikhism.

    Hinduism is a religions which dates back to 5000 years or more. It is a colorful religion with a vast amount of Gods and Goddesses and it is rich in its beliefs and ideas. And some people believe that it is more than a religion in the western sense.

    Buddhism has a history of 2500 years, which takes its name after a special individual known as ‘the Buddha’. It is a religion practised by many people in many countries around the world. It is also very popular in western countries like in Europe and USA.

    Jainism is the third ancient religion in India. It recognizes the fundamental belief of mutual dependence.

    Sikh, a relatively new religion in India, which was founded over 500 years ago, has over 20 million followers and is ranked the 5th largest religion in the world.

    In fact, there has been always new religions trying to establish in India but they did not always succeed. For example, Lingayat of south India consider themselves as a different religion but others take them as just a sect of Hinduism. Similarly, some Hindu reformers tried to re-adjust Hinduism so as to make it more adaptable to the modern period.

    Of course there are also followers of non-India religions such as Islam, Christianity and Zoroastrianism. These people made up 12% of the population with 2% of them Christians.

    The above only covers the very surface of the diversity of religious system in India. And if you want to explore India, I am sure that understanding to its religions and beliefs is a definite starting point.


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