Coexistence, a unifying factor for Indians


By Asad Mirza

A recent survey throws contradictory and unbelievable findings, yet it also underlines how an Indian really feels.

For most political parties, sociologists and psephologists what a common Indian on the street thinks matters most. It is an insight into a common man’s psyche, which allows them to strategies and formulate new plans and narratives. Though the political parties are able to set the narrative for their own narrow agendas yet they are unable to control the common perceptions and thinking among the populace.

Studies like a recent one by the US-based Pew Research Centre’s Survey of Religion across India, helps not just the narrative formulators but also offers a peep into the common man’s psyche. The recent Pew study based on nearly 30,000 face-to-face interviews of adults conducted in 17 languages between late 2019 and early 2020 (pre-COVID-19), finds that Indians of all religious backgrounds overwhelmingly say they are very free to practice their faiths.

Religious Tolerance
Indians see religious tolerance as a central part of who they are as a nation. Across the major religious groups, most people say it is very important to respect all religions to be “truly Indian.” And tolerance is a religious as well as a civic value: Indians are united in the view that respecting other religions is a very important part of what it means to be a member of their own religious community.

Yet, despite sharing certain values and religious beliefs – as well as living in the same country, under the same constitution – members of India’s major religious communities often don’t feel they have much in common with one another. The majority of Hindus see themselves as very different from Muslims (66%), and most Muslims return the sentiment, saying they are very different from Hindus (64%).

Indians, then, simultaneously express enthusiasm for religious tolerance and a consistent preference for keeping their religious communities in segregated spheres meaning they live together yet separately. These two sentiments may seem paradoxical, but for many Indians they are not.

Indeed, many take both positions, saying it is important to be tolerant of others and expressing a desire to limit personal connections across religious lines. Indians who favour a religiously segregated society also overwhelmingly emphasise religious tolerance as a core value.

In other words, Indians’ concept of religious tolerance does not necessarily involve the mixing of religious communities. While people in some countries may aspire to create a “melting pot” of different religious identities, many Indians seem to prefer a country more like a patchwork fabric, with clear lines between groups.

This is what I ascribe to the syncretic Indian values, which you’ll not be able to see in any western society. The Indians in spite of all differences and antagonisms try to view themselves as colours of a rainbow, which India is and this is what makes India, united.

Dimensions of Hindu nationalism in India
The survey reports that Hindus tend to see their religious identity and Indian national identity as closely intertwined: Nearly two-thirds of Hindus (64%) say it is very important to be Hindu to be “truly” Indian.

Most Hindus (59%) also link Indian identity with being able to speak Hindi. And these two dimensions of national identity – being able to speak Hindi and being a Hindu – are closely connected. Among Hindus who say it is very important to be Hindu to be truly Indian, almost 80% also say it is very important to speak Hindi to be truly Indian.

Overall, among those who voted in the 2019 elections, three-in-ten Hindus take all three positions: saying it is very important to be Hindu to be truly Indian; saying the same about speaking Hindi; and casting their ballot for the BJP.

Indian Muslims
Vast majority of India’s Muslims say Indian culture is superior. Today, India’s Muslims almost unanimously say they are very proud to be Indian (95%), and they express great enthusiasm for Indian culture: 85% agree with the statement that “Indian people are not perfect, but Indian culture is superior to others”.

Overall, one-in-five Muslims say they have personally faced religious discrimination recently, but views vary by region. Relatively few Muslims say their community faces “a lot” of discrimination in India (24%). In fact, the share is similar to the share of Hindus who say Hindus face widespread religious discrimination in India (21%).

In addition, most Muslims across the country (65%), along with an identical share of Hindus (65%), see communal violence as a very big national problem.

Muslims’ desire for religious segregation does not preclude tolerance of other groups – again similar to the pattern seen among Hindus. Indeed, a majority of Muslims who favour separate religious courts for their community say religious diversity benefits India.

South v/s North
The survey consistently found that people in the South (the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, and the union territory of Puducherry) differ from Indians elsewhere in the country in their views on religion, politics and identity.

For example, by a variety of measures, people in the South are somewhat less religious than those in other regions – 69% say religion is very important in their lives, versus 92% in the Central part of the country.

Hindu nationalist sentiments also appear to have less of a foothold in the South. Among Hindus, those in the South (42%) are far less likely than those in Central states (83%) or the North (69%) to say being Hindu is very important to be truly Indian. And in the 2019 parliamentary elections, the BJP’s lowest vote share came from the South. In the survey, just 19% of Hindus in the region say they voted for the BJP, compared with roughly two-thirds in the Northern (68%) and Central (65%) parts of the country who say they voted for the ruling party.

Other contentious issues
Most Indian Muslims opposed triple talaq. 56% said Muslim men should not be allowed to divorce this way. Still, 37% of Indian Muslims say they support triple talaq, with Muslim men (42%) more likely than Muslim women (32%) to take this position. A majority of Muslim women (61%) opposed triple talaq.

Similarly many Indians, across a range of religious groups, say it is very important to stop people in their community from marrying into other religious groups. Roughly two-thirds of Hindus in India want to prevent interreligious marriages of Hindu women (67%) or Hindu men (65%). Even larger shares of Muslims feel similarly: 80% say it is very important to stop Muslim women from marrying outside their religion, and 76% say it is very important to stop Muslim men from doing so.

The survey throws up many findings which may sound contradictory and unbelievable, yet they represent the true feelings of Indians, however convoluted they may be. And this contradictory yet assimilating feeling is what makes India what it is.
Asad Mirza is a political commentator based in Delhi



  1. Does MM even allow hopeful, positive and factually true news to be published 🤣🤣 ??? If this goes on, how will MM differentiate between the Sanatani who is highly tolerant AND votes for the BJP 😒😒 ??? I think this survey is nail on the coffin of the narrative that says Sanatanis vote for the BJP for Hindutva. Well, the truth is that every Sanatani who votes for BJP DOESN’T care about Hindutva. ☺️☺️

    • Maggoty Kalia,

      MM isn’t the OPIndia Hindu fake news sh1thole you spam. Real news, and critical news articles unlike the Whatsapp IT cell toilet you Modi monkeys swirl in. Difference between a Hindu and Santani is that of sh1t and diarrhea. Both stink.

  2. This is delusional feel good bullsh1t. What rainbow? Thanks to Hindu extremists and terrorists India is now a kleptocratic fascist sh1thole. The majority of Hindus are intolerant low IQ hitler worshipping pagan lunatics who embarrass and shame India all the time, this is proven by them electing criminals, extremists, thugs, gangsters and terrorists like Modi, Yogi etc into office multiple times. These uncivilized animals don’t believe in the Indian constitution, laws, ethics, human rights of any type.
    India is a composite culture, it cannot survive as a federation if filthy backward murderous Hindu rashtra is brought about. The only way to save India is exterminating Hindu terrorist groups like the RSS, BHP, Bajrang Dal etc, and curbing barbaric Hindu practices. Honest Indians know what I’m talking about…this is why even Hindus are selling their kidneys to get work visas to get the hell out of India and clean toilets in other countries, usually Muslim ones.

    • I, too agree with you, Mr.Black. This is a conspiracy to make us forget our duty of Dar-ul-Islam and the precursur of Ghazwa ee Hind. This is a feelgood article which blatantly disregards the hostility of the Indian state. I personally know Syed and I don’t think he should publish these types of articles. It is time that Indian Muslims realised their Muslim duties and help establish Al-Hind, the glorious land of Muslim uniquity where the Muslims took their natural place as conquerors of this land.

      • @Zafar,
        You are willing to conquer Indian land? Now I realized the third class mentality of you people. RSS says muslims are dangerous to Hindus existence.. now I understood why they think so.. We had given land to muslims to form Islamic country Pakistan… what happened to them? they turned the state into international beggers.
        Before dreaming to conquer India, better look into middle east. Your OIC has become association of Islamic beggers. History proves that wherever Islamic countries have been formed, the country collapsed & wherever muslims are being governed by non-muslims, they live peacefully.

          • @Zafar,
            Your ancestors did not come from middle east. Your family originally was Hindu only. Your ancestors were forcefully converted into Islam.
            Muslims rules India for around 700 years.. they invaded in India, destroyed our culture, raped women, applied Ziziya tax.. Hence, allah is now punishing entire muslim community all over the world. Your community already has become begger. After 3 decades, when oil will finish in middle east, you will turn into Kabila. Thus, you represent a person from beggers community.

          • Secular Hindu aka lying Hindu gutter rat,

            Still posting the same Hindutva lies and nonsense while calling yourself secular along with your 3rd rate broken english. Your mother should have aborted you. You are as uneducated as you are hopelessly stupid liar . 93% of Indians have their ancestry OUTSIDE of India, this is a historical fact…nothing your Hindu zoo worshipping cult can do to change that. No intelligent human being wants to be a part of filthy barbaric superstitious backward Brahmin slave system called hinduism. That’s why you Hindu scum try stop conversions, to prevent escape from your failed disgusting filthy anti-human cult of Hinduism. Before Islam there was no India…you were a hundreds of barbaric Hindu pagan vermin attacking and invading each others kingdoms, destroying your own temples and raping your women based on greed, theft, caste and power. Garbage “religion” for a garbage people who did nothing but kill each other in the names of cows, monkeys rats and millions of “gods” who did nothing to help you in any way or form. You were eating sh1t then, and you still eat sh1t today.

            Islam, and Muslim made India great, putting it on the world map long before oil…while Hindus turned into a third world fascist shithole. If not for Muslims, Hindus would still be burning widows and raping and sacrificing their daughters to their demon “dogs” and selling their mothers to sadhus in ashrams. Instead of being grateful for bringing civilization and dragging your barbaric smelly pagan behinds out of the stone age, you instead are ungrateful lying bastards. You should drink the mutr of Muslims to become human beings. Allah(swt) is teaching you a lesson…while none of your mythical “gods” could save millions of who you died like dogs after super spreading Covid all over India….in fact you ran out of fire wood to cremate your dead so the bodies of Hindus are all over the place in the gutters being eaten by dogs, vultures and vermin. A very appropriate end for Hindus. Yet despite hating Muslims, you still begged Muslim nations for oxygen while trying to escape India…selling your kidneys to get work visas to clean toilets in Muslim countries. Even after oil Hindu beggers will continue to immigrate to Muslim countries to escape Hindu sh1thole. Makkar haram khor Hindus. Keep lying, it wont change the reality that you are delusional boot lickers. Soon a new Covid wave will wipe out even more worthless Hindus, and that will be great for the entire planet. I’m looking forward to it !


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