India is known as the land of faith by many. In fact, western people visit India to explore its culture and various religions. They amount of faith that people in India have in religion is fascinating. With this firm faith, these people cross hundreds of difficulties in their path. Although, India has also witnessed some riots on the basis of religion, but the fact about religion in India is that it unites people of India and reminds them that real unity lies in diversity.
Facts About History of Religion in India
- Hinduism, which is one of the oldest religions in the world originated in India in between 15th – 5th century BC.
- Oldest text of Hindus, Rig Veda was written in 1700 – 1100 BC.
- Hindu Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata were written in 500 – 100 BC.
- Jainism was founded by Saint Parshvanatha in the 900 BC.
- Christianity was introduced in India by Thomas the Apostle in 70 CE. Christianity was further propagated by Portuguese and British during their rule in India by catholic missionaries and expeditions in the 16th century.
- Islam arrived in India with the Mughal rule between 1400 – 1700
- Bhakti Movement is another crucial point in the history of religion in India which advocated freedom from caste and other complexities. Bhakti Movement lasted from 1400 – 1700 AD.
- Sikhism is the youngest religion in the world that was founded in the 14th century by Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
- As per the latest census (2011), 79.8% of the Indian population is Hindu. 14.2% of the Indian population is Muslim. Christians are 2.3%. Sikhs are 1.7%. Buddhists are 0.7%. Jains are 0.37%.
Facts About Religions in India
- Hinduism was not founded by anyone but was derived as a belief system from vedic scripts. Examples of this vedic scripts are vedas and upanishads. Other known books that form the basis of the Hindu religion are Mahabharata and Ramayana.
- While the world sees Hindus as the worshippers of many gods, but Hinduism actually preaches that there is only one god but exists in different forms.
- The name “Hinduism” was given by Greeks and Arabs to those living by the Indus Valley. The real name of Hinduism is “Sanātana Dharma”, which means “Eternal Truth”.
- According to Hinduism, the goal of life is to attain “Salvation”.
- Hindus believe in reincarnation.
- 80% of the Indians are Hindus. Although, Hindu population is comparatively lesser in states of Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Lakshadweep and, Mizoram.
- During India’s partition in 1947, 7.2 million Hindus from Pakistan migrated to India.
- Religious riots in India that involved Hindus occurred in 1969(Hindi-Muslim Riots, Gujarat), 1984(Hindu Sikh Riots – Punjab), 1992 (Hindu Muslim Riots – Mumbai), 2002 (Hindu Muslim Riots – Gujarat).
- Hindus worship cows because the cow is considered as the symbol of life, health and well-being by Hindus.
- Cow slaughter and beef is banned in most states of India because of the involved religious sentiments of Hindus. Since 2014, Cow Vigilante Hindus have been accused of 21 lynching incidents in which the targets were Muslims and Dalits.
- Despite some anti-social elements, most Hindus in India prefer to live in peace and harmony with others irrespective of their caste or religion.
- Owing the the massive population of Hindus in India, Hindu festivals like Diwali, Navratri, Holi, Janmashtami and Mahashivratri are celebrated with great joy and fervor by one and all.
- In ancient times, Hindus were divided into castes: Brahmin: the intellectual and spiritual leaders; Kshatriyas: the protectors and public servants of society; Vaisyas: the skillful producers and; Shudras: the unskilled laborers. Shudras were considered as the untouchables/lower caste and were ill-treated by the so-called upper castes. Nevertheless, the caste system is non-existent in modern India as per the Indian constitution.
- In fact, the caste system that resulted in ill-treatment of certain castes in past times has now transformed into special privileges to those castes in the form of “reservation system”.
Some Interesting Facts About Indian Religions
- Akshardham Temple of Hindus in Delhi is one of the oldest temples in the world and also has the Guiness record of being the world’s largest comprehensive hindu temple measuring 356 x 316 ft.
- The largest Hindu Temple is in Cambodia by the name of Angkor Vat.
- The word “Karma” is derived from Hinduism’s concept of good deeds and bad deeds.
- The word “Juggernaut” is derived from Hinduism’s practice of “Lord jagannath Rath Yatra”.
- There are more than 108,000 temples in India. Also, 108 is the sacred number in Hinduism.
- The Saree worn by Hindus dates back to the 2nd Century BC.