Religious education in India

Authored by: Tahir Mahmood

The Routledge International Handbook of Religious Education

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  February  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415536301
eBook ISBN: 9780203106075
Adobe ISBN: 9781136256424

10.4324/9780203106075.ch19

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Abstract

Religious pluralism is one of the fundamental features of the Republic of India. India is indeed a mosaic of various faith traditions and diverse cultures. Hinduism is the predominant religion in the country. Three other faiths not fundamentally different from Hinduism are Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism; the population figures for adherents of these three faiths are 16 million, 8 million, and 3.5 million, respectively. At the same time India is home to the second largest Muslim community in the world next to Indonesia (nearly 160 million) and has a Christian population of about 24 million. While Islam constitutes the majority religion in two of the 35 constituents of federal India, 1 Christianity is the dominant religion in three—all located in the Northeast. 2 In several other states the number of adherents of these faiths is much above the national average. 3 Among the smaller religious communities of India are the Parsi Zoroastrians, Bahá’ís, and Jews.

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