India Today, May 12, 2003
India of the title encompasses modern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In an impressive statistical exercise requiring adjustments for numerous changes in administrative boundaries, the authors compile time series of census estimates of population by religious affiliation from 1881 to 1991. For most of the book’s statistical profiles, Hindus are grouped together with the proportionately small numbers of Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Tribal religionists, Zoroastrians, and Bahais in a category termed Indian religionists. The authors’ principal interest is to display the changing size and population share of this group in comparison to Muslims and Christians.
Any discussion of demography in India has invariably turned towards three determinants: education, economic development and religion. The higher fertility and growth rates of the Muslims, when compared with the declining fertility and growth rates of the Hindus, have raised the potential threat of Muslims outnumbering Hindus…