problems of religious minorities in india sociology

problems of religious minorities indian sociology

Was heading for Kashmiri gate to Rithala, as usual, my cell wasn’t charged thus I started my Sherlock game “let’s deduce”.

After browsing around, my eyes found its bait, she was a fair looking lady, not much of elite class and neither that poor but well-dressed, with budget-oriented phone and the typical pink earphones.

After deducing her meticulously I tried to guess her religion. A saree, no holy pendent to guess. Was just wondering when she picked up a call and started to talk in a bit Gujarati accent, was about to conclude that she was a Gujju, then there was a sudden effectuating moment and I realized that the accent was a  bit Persian.” Eureka she is a Parsi”. And now my deduction think took a whole new direction. A  Parsi lady is really a rare thing to see not as rare as tigers but yet rare. Parsis are one of the minorities living in India. As far as I could remember, at the time of the muslim conquest of Persia, the dominant religion of the region was Zoroastrianism. Iranians rebelled against Muslim conquerors for almost 200 years. During this time many Parsis choose to preserve their religion by fleeing from Iran to India. India thus provided them a land to live and to preserve their religion.

religious minorities in indian sociology images

Though there are many minority groups in India, that came as a minority but now have sufficient figure of the census that claim that they are not on verge of extinction while the main problem of Parsis is their declining population. Many of their youth are single or they planned to never get married. According to the data for every 4 Parsi deaths, there is one birth. This birth is to death ratio thus makes sure they are in minority and hence is a major concern for Parsi community.

All this was specifically about Parsis because I saw a Parsi girl and all this crossed my mind. But talking about in general for minorities, even if they do not suffer this population declining effect are still a minority. They suffer, not because “we the people of India” are reluctant or ignorant towards them. But because we are used to a fact that there is power in majority especially in the democracy. When they are in minority there is always a feeling of insecurity, feeling of identity crises, feeling of getting neglecting from their rights because they are in minority, because they are in fewer numbers, because there won’t be many people supporting them.

Democracy is all about a majority, so does these minorities have to face some problems?

I guess they have to, from the very beginning.

Though the goodwill local Hindu prince allowed them to settle in India. There were three conditions for the Zoroastrians:

  • It was compulsory for them to speak the local language.
  • It was compulsory to follow local marriage customs.
  • They were not allowed to carry weapons

The main motive of these restrictions was to subtly and slowly mix Parsis into locals. Now, this subtle mixing would actually lead to loss of their own identity. Because of the socio-culture differences, a difference of practices, backgrounds, and histories minorities have to scuffle with the identity issue which gives rise to the problem of adjustment with majorities.

This identity crises further leads to the problem of insecurity. Whenever there are riots the community which is in small number i.e. the minority group has to suffer more than the majority. This relatively smaller number gives rise to insecurity about their life, assets, and well being. At times they may even feel to be on foreign land, even though they are living here for so many years.

Democracy is defined as “for the people, by the people, for the people” by Abraham Lincoln. Here “people” refers to the citizen of the country and not specifically majority or minority. The minority community of the society sometimes gets deprived of the benefits of the opportunity of development due to discrimination or difference in identities. All this, later on, develops the perception of the sense of iniquity.

India is such a diverse and versatile country with so many religions, beliefs, cast, races, languages, different people and that too with such a large population.

Thus to make your religious beliefs and identities survive in such a wide spectrum is not easy and when you are in minority it surely isn’t a piece of cake.

Just like in a play we have important characters or less important characters or even least important characters but they have a role even the least one, they have a role to play, they have a part to play. They are important, they help to maintain the crisp of it. Similarly, minorities are as important as majorities. They make society colorful, a society with different people of different taste maintains the soul of a country. And we as Indians are lucky to experience such a vivid environment. Thus we must ensure no one here feels as minority or majority. We all are just citizens of worlds most beautiful country.