India is a sacred State and the population has been bifurcated in different religions and worship the almighty in different forms and all follow different rituals as prescribed by their religions. India serves as the birthplace of four of the major religions namely, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. All these religions believe in the attainment of a similar goal-MOKSHA. As per the 2011 census, 79.8 per cent population of India practices Hinduism, 14.2 per cent adhere to Islam, 2.3 per cent follow Christianity, 1.72 per cent cohere Sikhism, 0.7 per cent follow Buddhism and 0.37 per cent adhere to Jainism as their faith. Some of the other lesser-known religions of India are Judaism, Sanamahism, Zoroastrianism, Yungdrung Bon and the Baha i Faith having thousands of followers. Indian history has largely been affected by religions and the Right to Religion is no fundamental right recognized by the Constitution of India. India is home to 94% of the world’s Hindus.
RELIGIONS AND THEIR GODS: -
As mentioned earlier, Hinduism is the largest religion in the Indian subcontinent and the third largest religion in the world after Christianity and Islam. It comprises five major denominations, namely, Vaishnavism, Brahmanism, Saurism, Shaktism and Shaivism. The adherents of these sects believe Vishnu, Brahma, Surya, Shakti (Devi) and Shiva to be the supreme deities respectively. Hinduism is considered the oldest religion in the world.
Buddhism is practised in some restricted areas in India primarily the foothills of the Himalayas and is considered to be one of the most important religions in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Darjeeling in West Bengal and the Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh. The resurgence of Buddhism accelerated in India when the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzing Gyatso escaped and fleeing the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959.
The major deity of Buddhism followers is Siddhartha Gautam who went on a quest for enlightenment around the sixth century BC. There is no faith in Buddhism in a personal Deity. They just believe that nothing is permanent in this world and there is always a scope for change.
Jainism emerged as a religion in Iron Age India and Jains compose roughly around 0.4% of the Indian population and are mainly concentrated in the areas of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat. Jain followers move on the path of the succession of their 24 great leaders which they call Tirthankaras. The major of them being the 23rd Tirthankara Lord Parshvanatha and the 24th Tirthankara Lord Mahavira.
DEITIES (TIRTHANKARAS): -
Sikhism began in fifteenth-century Punjab with the teachings of Guru Nanak and 9 successive Sikh gurus. There exists a significant population following Sikhism and they mainly reside in the parts of Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana. The number of people following the steps of Guru Nanak (known as Nanakpanthis) but they are between 10-12 crores. There are several groups in Nanakpanthis too, which are Sikhligarh, Vanjaarey, Nirmaley, Lubaney, Johri, Satnamiye, Udaasiyas etc.
The major deities of the Sikhism followers are:
Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
THE REAL QUESTION: -
By having a look at the different religions and their deities we came to know about how diverse the Indian subcontinent is in terms of religion. But the real question is “Is the differentiation on the basis of religions really necessary?”
My clear-cut answer to this question would be, NO.
All the religions have one and the same ultimate object so there is no sense in dividing the population on the basis of religion. Some people also face many challenges in society due to the different type of religions they follow. The most common of them all is:
Any relationship can develop at any time. Partners who do not share the same religions face many unique challenges like social and cultural challenges. It sometimes becomes extremely difficult for them to convince their parents for getting the relationship takes the shape of an official relationship and resultantly as marriage.
The other problem which one can face is Discrimination and Religious Conflicts. People may be subjected to inequitable action due to the religion they adhere to. This is particularly likely for the minority and not-so-popular groups. They may be bullied and ill-treated due to their beliefs. Also, sometimes there may be a conflict between the teachings of one religion with the other, not because of what is actually written but because of the wrong way the people perceive it to be ending up in fights among the people of different religions.
So, it can be said that being a secular and religiously diverse country is not a disadvantage for the Indian subcontinent, rather it is due to the stereotypes people have in their eyes regarding the religions. They should start considering all the religions as equal and try to understand the teachings in the way their gurus really wanted them to.