Religious toleranceIndia has been touted as one of the few countries that take pride in its religious pluralism and cultural multiplicity. Unity in diversity – a slogan used to describe a culturally peaceful nation sans fragmentation despite its many diverse traditions and religions. Unity is rooted in the understanding that cultural differences enrich human connection. Most Indians believe that the country has lived up to its ideals post-colonization. A secular society where religions can be freely practiced. While India globally has one of the largest Hindu populations at over 80 percent, it is also home to the world’s largest Muslim population which is close to 13 percent, followed by Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists respectively.
MinoritiesThe union government recognizes six minority communities as part of the National Commission on Minorities Act, 1992. These communities are the Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains who comprise less than one percent of the entire population were added to this group in 2014. Socio-economically, the Sikhs, Parsis, and Jains are the wealthier communities while Muslims are the largest religious minority. Christians follow suit with over two percent of the population in India. They are predominantly based in East India with sizable numbers in Goa and Kerala.
The recent political development of the country has triggered harassment among the minorities. In addition, the increase in the number of hate crimes has prompted the need for policy amendments and legislation to protect and provide security to minority groups against such crimes including lynching. Further, in spite of being home to different faiths, India has witnessed religious and communal violence. Some sensitive issues include the growing calls for India's identity as a Hindu nation, the ban on beef consumption, and communal violence marginalized groups - especially Muslims, Dalits, and Christians. Such incidents, even if part of the minority, indicate a testing time for the country and its leadership, and India's reputation as a peace-loving, pluralist country.