Ground Report | New Delhi: Most Indians opposed to marriage in other religions; A survey by American think-tank Pew Research Center has found that most people in India consider themselves and their country to be religiously tolerant, but they do not believe in inter-religious marriage.
The majority of people from each community in the survey said that preventing such marriages is a top priority for them. The research has been done at a time when such laws have been brought in many states of India in which laws have been made regarding marriage between people of different religions.
Pew Research Center interviewed 30,000 people in India
For the survey, the Pew Research Center interviewed 30,000 people in India who spoke 17 languages. The survey was done in 26 states and three union territories of the country.
According to the survey, 80% of the Muslims who interacted said that it is important that people from their community stop marrying in other communities. Among Hindus, 65% said that they also hold the same opinion.
In the survey, people were also questioned about their faith and nationality. It found that Hindu people “feel that their religious identity and the national identity of the country are very closely linked”.
Most Indians opposed to marriage in other religions
Nearly two-thirds of Hindus, or 64%, said they felt it was important to be a Hindu to be a “true Indian”. The research found that despite similar values and religious beliefs among India’s large religious communities, they “often do not feel that they have anything in common”.
The report says – “Indians are simultaneously enthusiastic about religious tolerance and at the same time want to keep religious communities separate – they live together, separately.”
The survey also captures concerns felt by Muslim minorities who are “proud to be Indian” but also acknowledges that communal tensions have been deliberately incited to create separation between communities. About 24% of participants from the Muslim community felt that the community faced “a lot” of discrimination in India. Interestingly, a similar number (21%) of Hindus also claimed that they face “widespread religious discrimination in India”.
Communal discrimination among Muslims
Communal discrimination among Muslims varies from region to region. While it is exceptionally high in the northern part of India (over 40%), the numbers drop in the western India region (15%). (Most Indians opposed to marriage in other religions).
Most Indians opposed to marriage in other religions; Hindu nationalist ideology
The survey paid special attention to the dimensions of “Hindu nationalism” in the country. The report said relations between India’s Hindu majority and the country’s smaller religious communities have exposed religious fault lines, especially in recent years under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The report said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP is often described as promoting a Hindu nationalist ideology.
It further states that many people in India lead different religious lives even after being friends and “they try to keep people of a particular religion away from their religious places or villages”. In India, marriages between Hindus and Muslims in traditional families have been boycotted, but now such couples are also facing legal hurdles.