Religious Diversity – India 70th among 200 countries !!!

Pew Research has come out with the concept of a Religious Diversity Index for all countries of the world. This Index for a country indicates the presence of multiple religions within that country. The higher the Index, the more is the diversity of religions within that country. A look at this RD Index of different countries (http://www.pewforum.org/files/2014/04/Religious-Diversity-appendix-1.pdf ) throws some surprises.

Though we Indians have been repeating the “Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaai” slogan for ages, India is surprisingly at an Index of 4.0, ranked about 70th among 200 countries, i.e., our religious diversity is lower than 69 other countries in the world. Looks like it was more of an attempt through Bollywood songs of the 1950s and the nation-building efforts of our early leaders which have instilled that sense of religious diversity within ourselves. Statements like “we have the second largest Muslim population in the world (after Indonesia)” and “it is tough to govern India with its huge cultural, lingual and religious diversity” have subliminally bombarded our minds over years and made us believe that we are indeed different and more diverse than other countries. Not so, says the data…

Leading the charts is Singapore with 34% Buddhist, 18% Christians, 16% unaffiliated, 14% Muslims, 5% Hindus and so on. Another 5 countries from Far-East also figure in the “High RD Index” category (top 12 countries with score of &.0 and above) – Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, China, HK.

In the “High” category (score of 5.3 to 6.9), figure the larger developed countries – Japan, France, Australia, Germany. And some surprises like Bahrain, Qatar, North Korea, Lebanon. The “Moderate” countries (3.1 to 5.2) include UK at 5.1, Russia at 4.9, USA at 4.1, India at 4.0 !!

The least diverse countries (score of 0 to 0.2) include Vatican City, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq – one would think that it would be easy to govern these, correct ?

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