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What India must learn from 2011 Census report on religious demography

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By Nithin Sridhar

The Census commission of India has released the data for religious demography as per the 2011 census. The report shows that the share of Hindu population has decreased by 0.7% from 80.5% in 2001 to 79.8% in 2011. During the same duration, the share of Muslim population has increased by 0.8% from 13.4% to 14.2%.

The percentage share of Christians and Jains have remained same, whereas the share of Sikhs and Buddhists has reduced by 0.2% and 0.1% respectively.

The census further states gives the figures in absolute numbers. Accordingly the Hindu population was 96.63 crores and Muslim population was 17.22 crores. The Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain population stood at: 2.78 crores, 2.08 crores, 0.84 crores, and 0.45 crores respectively.

2015-08-27_1940

This is the first time in Independent India that the Hindu population has sunk below 80%. At the same time, the share of Muslim population has been consistently increasing for last several decades.

If we analyze the share of Hindu and Muslim population from 1951 till 2011, there is a slow but clear decline in the Hindu percentage, whereas a parallel increase in the Muslim population.

In 1951, Hindus stood at 84.1% whereas Muslims stood at 9.8% of the total population. Now, in 2011, Hindus stand at 79.8%, a decline of 4.3% in population share. On the other hand, Muslim population share has seen an increase of 4.4%.

It must be noted that the rate of population growth has decreased in both Hindu and Muslim communities. The rate of population increase of Hindu and Muslim population was 20.76% and 32.49% respectively for the Decade 1951-61. During the last decade from 2001-2011, it has reduced to 16.76% and 24.6% respectively. Yet, the rate of Muslim growth is still almost 1.5 times the rate of Hindu population growth.

This clearly shows that the percentage share of Muslim population has been consistently increasing over last six decades and is likely to increase further in the coming decades. The reverse is true for Hindu population whose share in population is going to decrease further.

This trend is reflected in the PEW survey report also that was released a few months ago. Forecasting the likely changes in the global religious demography between 2010 and 2050, the report predicted that the Hindu population in Asia-Pacific (typically includes countries in South Asia, South-East Asia, East Asia, and Oceania) which was at 25.3% in 2010 is likely to increase to 27.7%. But during the same time period, the Muslim population in the Asia-Pacific is likely to increase from 24.3% to 29.5%. That is, the Muslim population share in Asia-Pacific will increase by around 5% to overtake Hindus and became Asia-Pacific’s largest religion.

The report further points out that, Hindu population in India is likely to decrease by another 2.8% from its estimate of 79.5% in 2010 to 76.7% in 2015. This, more or less, matches with the trend that has been seen in the census reports for the last six decades.

The 2011 census also reveals that the % growth rate of Muslims in the states of Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh that share the border with Bangladesh, is far above the national growth rate of Muslims. Even in Bihar, the growth rate is higher than the national growth rate. In West Bengal and Tripura, though the Muslim growth rate is not above national Muslim growth rate, it is still much higher than Hindu growth rate. R Jagannathan, in his article, mentions that this is a clear indication of the increasing number of illegal immigration that is happening from Bangladesh.

In his recent article, Anish Gupta shows how the population of Muslims in West Bengal’s districts that share border with Bangladesh has increased at an enormously higher rate than the state average. He says that the growth rate in Muslim population during 1981-1991 in the bordering districts increased from 0.3% to 10.5% as against the increase of 1.2% to 4.3% in the non-bordering districts. He further adds that: “For instance, during the period 1981-2001, within the span of just twenty years, the Muslim population has increased by 128.9% in Darjeeling. Similarly, the Muslim population in Jalpaiguri, Murshidabad and North 24 Parganas has increased by 90.6%, 72.2% and 74% respectively, during the same period.”

This clearly establishes an abnormal growth in the Muslim population in those districts, which is only possible due to large scale migration. According to an estimate mentioned by Koenraad Elst, in 1987 itself there were around 44 Lakhs illegal Bangladeshi migrants in West Bengal and another 20-30 Lakhs were in Assam.

The 2011 Census report further establishes that there is indeed a very large scale immigration of Bangladeshi Muslims into India, which is drastically modifying the demography in many districts of India.

What are the implications? First, the ever increasing illegal immigration of Bangladeshi migrants will put further stress on Indian economy and society. The clash over available resources will increase. It will also lead to unemployment and other issues of resource scarcity. It will also put additional pressure on Indian society which is already under stress due to a huge population.

Second, changing demography will provide greater opportunity for the Bangladeshi and Pakistani terror groups to infiltrate their people and cause havoc in India. They will have better, safer and easier access to India.

Third, with Muslim population estimated to in Asia-Pacific overtake Hindu population by 2050, India will be under a greater pressure to bend to the pan-Islamic forces and demands. The terrorists and Islamic militants are well known to gain sympathy and support in the name of religion from Muslims who are in non-Muslim majority countries. The threat of ISIS and its Islamic Caliphate that asks allegiance of all Muslims, cannot be over ruled as well. The changing demographics will be definitely exploited by the outside Islamist and terror forces.

Fourth, a situation like partition or that of Kashmir cannot be ruled out. Indian history has shown again and again that, whenever a large region becomes Muslim majority, there are demands of separation and ‘azadi’ from certain extremist sections of the community. This happened in during partition, this was the demand of Muslim ruled Hyderabad state just after Independence, and this is happening in Kashmir today.

This is not to suggest that, the Muslim community as a whole is involved in extremism. But it is being pointed out that with an increase in the Muslim population, especially being augmented through illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, there is a real danger of the increase in Islamic fundamentalism and extremism as well. These in turn will become easy targets for external forces trying to harm India.

For example, the issue of alleged plans of some terror groups in Bangladesh to create an Islamic corridor between Bangladesh and Pakistan that runs through states of India had emerged few years ago.

Sandhya Jain in her 2005 article had written: “Mr. R.K. Ohri, ex-IGP, Arunachal Pradesh, cautioned that an Islamic Caliphate is rising on India’s flanks, from Bangladesh to West Asia, and that the shadow of the Mughalstan corridor is now visibly manifesting in various districts along the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bangladesh border. The demand for a ‘Muslim Banghboomi’ has already been raised, warns ex-MP B.L. Sharma (Prem). Travelling in West Bengal to check out certain atrocities against Hindus some years ago, his convoy was attacked by Bangladeshis.

“When demographer J.K. Bajaj and his colleagues prepared a mathematical model of the demographic challenge facing India, they found it exactly matched the map prepared by Bangladesh’s Mughalstan Research Institute. Experts feel the latter has been prepared by the ISI because the ‘Mughalstan’ spelling indicates a Punjabi mind.”

Therefore, India cannot rule out scenarios of increased terror activities, religious riots and civil disturbances sponsored by outside forces, increased demands for Islamic rule in certain Muslim majority districts or states and an eventual demand for another partition of India. Though at this point of time, these suggestions may seem far-fetched, India must be ready to face these challenges and effectively achieve victory over them, if ever such challenges indeed occur.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that, the real share of Hindus may well be less than what is being estimated and the real percentage of Muslims may well be much more. The census does not include categories for atheists and agnostics for example. Many people in Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu, as well as urban secularists and communists are all Hindu only in name. Further, many Dalits who have converted into Christianity still identify themselves as Hindu to gain reservation benefits. Considering the huge efforts put by various churches to convert people, the real share of Hindus may be much less than what is being predicted.

In fact, R Jagannathan estimates that after taking out all those atheists etc. as well as SC/ST’s, the Hindu population cannot be more than 50%. Even if we do not take the extreme stand and consider SC/ST’s as outside of Hinduism, while they are clearly part of it (even though they have faced many injustices in the past), the real percentage share of Hindus is much less than 79.8% and it may come to 50% over next 100-150 years if Hindus continue to decline in present rate.

Another concern that adds to the issue is the decline of other Indic religions like Buddhism and Sikhism and stagnancy of Jainism. The decrease of Indic religions, if it continuous in coming decades, it will further affect the plural fabric of India.

Therefore, the key take away for India from the 2011 census report is that India should not ignore the issues of Bangladeshi infiltration, and growing religious extremism and should put all the necessary efforts to address these issues so as to avoid any complications that may arise in future due to the changing religious demography.

The views expressed in this article are of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of NewsGram.

  • Dr. Kallol Guha

    During the late sixties one could see a notice at the entrance of Bharat Sevashram Sangh office in Kolkata that presented demographic data of India with special reference to West Bengal. Notice emphasized even at that time, significant percent increase of Muslim population all over India and in West Bengal, increase was even more. This news item was branded by CPI(M) elements as an attempt to disturb “communal harmony” of the state of West Bengal. Subsequently left front came took over the Government and ruled for about 37 years. During that time – the Government cadres encroached upon the land of University of Kalyani (51 km.North of Kolkata and about 112km West of the Bangladeshi town Jessore). The left party not only encouraged infiltrators from Bangladesh to squat on the University land but even helped to get ration cards for them with the understanding that infiltrators will be formidable vote bank for the party. That diabolical plot actually paid off and let them rule for 37 years.

    Grass root Indians who are 90% does not matter does not count. After all why should Indian ruling class be concerned of the current demographic change in population. History shows that Indian ruling class- dutifully followed work culture as recently as 1970- as taught by the colonial masters- used expression in official correspondence like “your most obedient servant”. Indeed they were (are) of the the Afgan rulers, of the Turks, of the Persians, of the British, and to this day West is in control of the Indian ruling class which is for all to see. Indians at the grass-root level are just the vote bank to be used by political parties of the ruling class. By use of marketing strategies- that vote bank can be tricked to vote against their own interest and elect their own butcher for five years. That diabolical game then is to be trumpeted as “World’s largest Democracy” that breeds appendages of the west.
    Why don’t we subscribe to the old Indian philosophy – Let us be immensely powerful yet harmless. A genuine, honest, and sincere schooling in such philosophy will culturally condition the human resource of India who will determine the fate of the nation in the next millennium as it happened in the past.

  • Dr. Kallol Guha

    During the late sixties one could see a notice at the entrance of Bharat Sevashram Sangh office in Kolkata that presented demographic data of India with special reference to West Bengal. Notice emphasized even at that time, significant percent increase of Muslim population all over India and in West Bengal, increase was even more. This news item was branded by CPI(M) elements as an attempt to disturb “communal harmony” of the state of West Bengal. Subsequently left front came took over the Government and ruled for about 37 years. During that time – the Government cadres encroached upon the land of University of Kalyani (51 km.North of Kolkata and about 112km West of the Bangladeshi town Jessore). The left party not only encouraged infiltrators from Bangladesh to squat on the University land but even helped to get ration cards for them with the understanding that infiltrators will be formidable vote bank for the party. That diabolical plot actually paid off and let them rule for 37 years.

    Grass root Indians who are 90% does not matter does not count. After all why should Indian ruling class be concerned of the current demographic change in population. History shows that Indian ruling class- dutifully followed work culture as recently as 1970- as taught by the colonial masters- used expression in official correspondence like “your most obedient servant”. Indeed they were (are) of the the Afgan rulers, of the Turks, of the Persians, of the British, and to this day West is in control of the Indian ruling class which is for all to see. Indians at the grass-root level are just the vote bank to be used by political parties of the ruling class. By use of marketing strategies- that vote bank can be tricked to vote against their own interest and elect their own butcher for five years. That diabolical game then is to be trumpeted as “World’s largest Democracy” that breeds appendages of the west.
    Why don’t we subscribe to the old Indian philosophy – Let us be immensely powerful yet harmless. A genuine, honest, and sincere schooling in such philosophy will culturally condition the human resource of India who will determine the fate of the nation in the next millennium as it happened in the past.

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Veerappan: India’s most wanted

Veerappan was hunted by the police for over four decades, making it the longest man-hunt in India

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Veerappan was a smuggler, poacher, murderer and extortionist who was killed in Operation Cocoon
Veerappan in his heyday, He was killed via Operation Cocoon
  • Veerappan was a smuggler of ivory and sandalwood in the southern states of India.
  • He killed government officials and civilians alike when they tried to stop his illegal activities.
  • He died in October 2004 during ‘Operation Cocoon’, which was carried out by a Special Task Force.

Poaching, smuggling, extortion, smuggling, brigandry, murder — these are some of the few charges against Koose Munisamy Veerappan Gounder, popularly known as Veerappan, for whom was constituted India’s largest manhunt, on which the government spent around 1.5 million Rupees. From his childhood, narratives about the elusive dacoit were laced with fiction, as he became an object of myth when he was only ten years old, and had infamously shot his first tusker elephant for ivory. His notoriety became a national concern when the government banned ivory trade in India, and he began felling trees for precious sandalwood, thus beginning a period marred by Veerappan killing government officials and locals alike when they became an obstacle.

Veerappan unleashed a reign of terror on the southern states of India from the early 1980s till his death in 2004; during which Veerappan killing police officers and civilians alike caused a nationwide uproar. In 1990, the notorious smuggler had beheaded a forest officer K. Srinivas, which wasn’t recovered until three years later. In 2000, he had kidnapped the Kannada actor K. Rajkumar, whose release was negotiated through Nakkeeran editor Gopal, to whom the infamous poacher admitted to murdering as many as 120 people. Matters came to a head when   abducted the former Karnataka minister H. Nagappa in 2002, and killed him when his demands were not met.

Operation Cocoon:

Veerappan leading his gang in moily forest,
Veerappan leading his gang in Moily forest. Wikimedia

A Special Task Force or STF was constituted for the capture of Veerappan in 1991, which, headed by K. Vijay Kumar, launched Operation Cocoon in 2004, which finally resulted in Veerappan’s death. Kumar, aided by his previous experience with Veerappan, based Operation Cocoon on human intelligence and interaction, during which multiple STF personnel blended in with the locals in areas frequented by Veerappan. The initial stages of Operation Cocoon consisted of gaining the trust of Veerappan’s associates, till they started divulging details about his failing health. In the years before his death, the elusive outlaw seemed to have lost much of his vigour and vitality, as he suffered from diabetes, and a cataract had almost blinded him in one eye.
On 18th October, 2004, the police lured Veerappan out of familiar terrains in an ambulance, and apprehended him at a roadblock, where he was killed in the crossfire between his team and the STF, via three bullets. The photographs after Veerappan’s demise show him in a pathetic light, bereft of his signature handlebar moustache, and the agility which had facilitated his escape for over four decades.

There have been a lot of controversies regarding his death, as many media houses and activists have claimed that Operation Cocoon has derived Veerappan of a fair trial by law. Some have even claimed that he was tortured to death in police custody. The facts regarding the elusive sandalwood smuggler remain inconclusive even after a decade of his death, due to the lack of concrete evidence.

 

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Bhai Boolchand-the Indian who launched trade with Ghana

The first Indian to arrive in the Gold Coast (Ghana's colonial name) in 1890 , Bhai Boolchand launched trade in India with Ghana

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Ghanian flag, Bhai Boolchand launched trade in India with Ghana.
Ghanian flag, Bhai Boolchand launched trade in India with Ghana. pixelbay
  • Bhai Boolchand, the anonymous Indian, is credited with starting trade between Ghana and India
  • The year was 1890.

Not much is known about him, but it has now emerged that trade relations between Ghana and Indiawere started by Bhai Boolchand, the first Indian to arrive in the Gold Coast — Ghana’s colonial name — in 1890. That’s some 67 years before the British colonial government granted the country independence, research by the Indian Association of Ghana has found.

“As far as our records show, Bhai Boolchand (of the Bhaiband Sindhworki trading community), landed on the shores of the Gold Coast in western Africa in 1890. Nearly twenty years later, in 1919, the first Sindhi company was established by two brothers — Tarachand Jasoomal Daswani and Metharam Jasoomal Daswani,” the Indian Association said.

The duo opened a store — Metharam Jassomal Brothers — in the then capital city of Cape Coast in 1919.

“Their business flourished and branches were opened in Accra and Kumasi. A few years later, the two brothers separated and whilst Bhai Metharam Jasoomal continued the business as Metharam Brothers, Tarachand Jasoomal operated his business as Bombay Bazaar. These were the first two Indian companies that were established in the Gold Coast,” the Association said.

Boolchand’s arrival, therefore, pre-dates the historical links between the two countries that were always thought to have started between Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkruman, and India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Boolchand can thus be described as the one who paved the way for the arrival of other members of the Sindhi community, initially as traders and shopkeepers.

The Indian Association said more of this group arrived in the 1950s and 1960s, with a few venturing into manufacturing industries such as garments, plastics, textiles, insecticides, electronics, pharmaceuticals and optical goods.

The Association said two more Indian firms were established under the names of Lilaram Thanwardas and Mahtani Brothers in the 1920s. This trend continued in the 1930s and 1940s with the creation of several more Indian companies like T. Chandirams, Punjabi Brothers, Wassiamal Brothers, Hariram Brothers, K. Chellaram & Sons, G. Motiram, D.P. Motwani, G. Dayaram, V. Lokumal, and Glamour Stores.

Glamour Stores, which was stared by Ramchand Khubchandani who arrived in Ghana in 1929, has grown — after changing its name to Melcom Group — to become the largest retailing business in the country. The Melcom Group, headed by Ramchand’s son Bhagwan Khubchandani, is now in its 60th year and about 40 stores all over the country.

Ramchand and his brother later went into garment manufacturing in 1955 and once employed over 1,200 Ghanaians. They later opened the first Indian restaurant, Maharaja, in Ghana. Bhagwan followed in his father’s footsteps and in 1989 established the Melcom Group with his sons-in-law, Mahesh Melwani and Ramesh Sadhwani.

Another Indian-owned company that has survived through the years is the Mohanani Group, which is currently in its 51st year. At the first-ever Ghana Expatriate Business Awards, the Ministry of Trade and Industries recognised the work of one of the thriving Indian-owned B5 Plus Steel Company and awarded it the Best Expatriate Company in the metal and steel category.

As these companies brought in new expatriate staff, some left their employers to venture out on their own — resulting in more companies opening up.

“After 1947, the Gold Coast attracted the attention of some Indian multinational companies, and big names like Chanrai, Bhojsons, K.A.J. Chotirmal, Dalamals and A.D. Gulab opened branches in Ghana,” the Association said.

“The employment of Ghanaians by these founding companies also helped to lessen the burden of unemployment in the country. This amply demonstrates the level of commitment India has in the developmental agenda of Ghana,” it said.

Indians are not only investing in the manufacturing and commercial sectors of the country; they are also investing in the financial sector. Bank of Baroda, one of India’s biggest and most reputable banks, recently established a branch in Ghana and hopefully it will expand its operations in other parts of the country very soon. (IANS)

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Beatles, Apple, Facebook knew India more than Indians

Famous non-Indian celebrities know more about India and its past

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The Beatles once visited India to know more bout its past and culture.
The Beatles once visited India to know more bout its past and culture. Wikipedia

-By Salil Gewali

Facebook’s Chairman Mark Zuckerberg had dropped a bombshell on the “secularists” in India during PM Modi’s visit to his campus in California. It’s all about the Facebook connection with India. Initially, it was never a bed of roses for what is now a household name “FACEBOOK” across the world. This world-famous ‘social networking service company’ had its own share of bad times. Revealing for the first time in the meeting at the Facebook office upbeat Zuckerberg told PM Narendra Modi that Steve Jobs, the founder Chairman of Apple, had advised him to visit a certain temple in India for blessings. The revelation may have caused heartburn to many. More so in India where so-called secular and snooty folks have long acquired a proclivity to look down upon their own culture, religion, and values while being appreciative of any bizarre customs and styles of the West. Yes, heeding the advice of his mentor Steve Jobs the depressed Mark had visited the temple and toured around India for nearly a month.

Facebook's CEO tells about India.
Facebook’s CEO tells about India. wikipedia

Well, the American techno-wizard Steve Jobs had himself spent over six months in India in 1974. He was here in quest of the higher meaning of life and spiritual solace. As understood, from early age Steve was quite haunted by a good deal of unanswered questions. Of course, his encounter with a book “Be Here Now” by Richard Alpert, a Harvard Professor, had opened up a gateway to the spiritualism of the East. This book had also introduced him to a mystic Yogi ‘Neem Karoli Baba’. That later inspired Steve to set out the journey for the East. As soon as Steve and his friend Daniel Kottke arrived India they directly went to meet the Guru in Kainchi Dham Ashram in Nainital. But to their disappointment, they found the Baba had already passed away some months earlier. Nevertheless, the urge to dive deeper into the spiritualism did not die away. They shaved their heads and put on Indian clothes and undertook an extensive meditation and yogic practices.

The most significant impact that had made upon Steve’s life was a book “Autobiography of a Yogi”by Paramhansa Yogananda. It is on record that he would read this book too frequently, at least once every year until his death, 2011. This book had given him the practical insight into what exactly this world is about and how a layman can prepare himself to realize the Supreme knowledge. The first-hand account of a Yogi with empirical approaches to know oneself this book by Yogananda is a smash hit manual now among the seekers of the Eastern spiritualism.

Yes, by dint of hard work, intuition and innovation Steve stood out as one of the most successful techno-tycoons of the modern times. As much known, Jobs was hardly possessed by the luxury of riches and materialistic vanity. He just regarded his entrepreneurship as a tool to awaken his dormant potentialities. The chairman of Salesforce.com and famous philanthropist Marc Benioff says with conviction — “If you want to understand Steve, it’s a good idea to dig into ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’.” It is this book which Steve’s family had given to all the guests as a last gift at his memorial service.

Here we can’t afford to ignore the Beatle’s fascination for INDIA as well. The band members that were basking in the opulence of materialistic riches and glory visited India (Rishikesh) in search of inner peace. They met with Sri Maharshi Mahesh Yogi and learnt from him Transcendental meditation (TM) who laid bare methods to feel true bliss within. Sri Maharshi is a big name in the West having a huge following that includes celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, David Lynch, Russell Brand, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Aniston, Modern physicist Dr. John Hagelin, to name a few. The Beatle’s Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr often assist a Hollywood Director/actor David Lynch to organize the Transcendental meditation under ‘David Lynch Foundation’ across USA and the European countries. George Harrison later took refuge in Bhakti Yoga. The founder of ISKCON Srila Prabhupada showed him the pathway to the Supreme Consciousness.

What basically pulls the rational westerners to India is less known to Indians themselves. It’s shamefully paradoxical. From early 19th Century, the philosophical literary treasure troves and Yoga of India found more admirers in the foreign lands than at home. Indeed, the philosophy of the “laws of karma” and the presence of all-power-divinity within every being and everywhere — which any human being can realize irrespective of one’s caste, creed, nationality, and color, has intensely stirred the greatest of the great minds of the West. The ancient texts hold out a whole bunch of keys to unlock oneself and know his/her relationship with the Supreme Being which in fact seems very reasonable to the West. Further, the complex studies of world-view by Modern scientists are gradually arriving at the same conclusion what the ancient sages of India expounded over five thousands year back that ‘creation and creator are ONE’. Interconnection, inter-relation and interdependence among every individual particle/object, living or non-living, in the infinite universe — which is the fundamental tenets of the Eastern philosophy, provided a new light of wisdom to the the modern physicists like Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Julius Oppenheimer, Brain David Josephson, David Bohm, John Stewart Bell et al.

Well, Indian’s contribution to the western academia is immeasurable — though deliberately undermined or less discussed in India itself. It’s very worthwhile to recall a famous proclamation by our western master whom we hold in the highest esteem. TS Eliot, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, asserts: “Indian philosophers’ subtleties make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys”.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter @SGewali.