Religion in India

Throughout the history of India, religion has been an important part of the country's culture. The vast majority of Indians associate themselves with a religion, and religious tolerance is established in both law and custom.

Indian census has established that Hinduism accounts for 80.5% of the population of India. The second largest religion is Islam, at about 13.4% of the population. The third largest religion is Christianity at 2.3%. The fourth largest religion is Sikhism at about 1.9% of India's population. Stating the hospitality of Hinduism towards all other religions, John Hardon writes, "However, the most significant feature of current Hinduism is its creation of a non-Hindu State, in which all religions are equal;..."

Other native Indian religions are Buddhism, Jainism. Ancient India had two philosophical streams of thought, the Shramana religions and the Vedic religion, parallel traditions that have existed side by side for thousands of years. Both Buddhism and Jainism are continuations of Shramana traditions, while modern Hinduism is a continuation of the Vedic tradition. These co-existing traditions have been mutually influential.

Zoroastrianism and Judaism also have an ancient history in India and each has several thousand Indian adherents.

Though inter-religious marriage is not widely practiced, Indians are generally tolerant of other religions and retain a secular outlook. Inter-community clashes have never found widespread support in the social mainstream, and it is generally perceived that the causes of religious conflicts are political rather than ideological in nature. India's religious diversity extends to the highest levels of government. The Constitution of India declares the nation to be a secular republic that must uphold the right of citizens to freely worship and propagate any religion or faith (with activities subject to reasonable restrictions for the sake of morality, law and order, etc).

Most Religion in India