"Much of public life in India is characterized by the forces of its religious
demography. This volume aims at unravelling its complexity. Each of these essays reflect
the truism that religion unites as well as divides peoples. Religious demography not only
decided partition of the India and Pakistan, but also continues to play a major role in
India's democratic politics.
The subject has become more emotional especially in the context of electoral politics.
A great anxiety about the Hindus being outnumbered has been kept alive in India,
especially before the elections. The differential growth rates of religious communities
have therefore become a sensitive issues. It is an established fact that there is an
illicit dramatization of misrepresented statistics of the Census. Data on population has
been especially `used' to generate `nationalism'. Newspapers, magazines, television and
even caste journals have propounded myths, with catchy titles. This volume tries to probe
into these myths and realities.
Demographers have, however, demonstrated that no major religious community in India has
been declining in absolute numbers expect Parsis. The whole discourse is thus aimed at
obliterating pluralism of identities, by provoking a fear of the orther, and propagating a
constant myth of a catastrophic decline in the majoity population. In post-independence
India the majoritarian assertion has generated its own antithesis in the form of minority
religious assertiveness and a resulting confrontational politics that undermines the
syncretic dimensions of the civil society. This volume attempts to dispel some of the
myths propagated by those who seek political power under the religious cover.
This book will interest not only demographers but also sociologists, social
anthropologists, political scientists, and all other observers of India's public