Religion in India
Religion plays a vital role in the Indian way of life. About 83 percent of the Indian people are Hindus, and about 11 percent are Muslims. The next largest religious groups, in order of size, are Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains. Religious laws of the Hindus and Muslim govern the people’s clothing, food, and marriage. They also strongly influence the type of violence between Hindus and Muslims that led to the division of India into two nations, India and Pakistan. Many thousands of Indians have died in fighting between Hindus and Muslims. The bloodshed still occurs from time to time.
Hinduism has about 453 million followers in India. Hindus believe that all living creatures will have many lives on earth after they die. Hindus are divided into groups on the basis of social classes. India has about 3,000 of these groups. They are called castes.
Islam, the religion of the Muslims, has about 14 million followers in India. Most Indian Muslims live in the northern part of the country. When Pakistan became part India, about 6 million India Muslims migrated to the new country.
Sikhism began as a movement to combine Hinduism and Islam. Sikhs in India number about 10 million, most whom live in the northern part of India. They are the leading wheat farmers. Sikhs forms one of the largest Indian of the largest Indian Army.
Christianity has about 14 million followers in India. Many live in the state of Kerala, where they make up about a fifth of the population.
Buddhism is ranked as India’s chief religion in ancient times. Today, the country has about 4 million Buddhists in India.