The numbers of a community translate into its strength in several cases, esp in the modern world of democracy. Also, higher numbers mean more number of fit young men available for military at the times of need. Demographic transition means disaster for the community which is losing its share in the population. A look at Lebanon teaches us a lot about this fact.
Indian subcontinent has been under siege from 10th century. The advent of Muslim and Christian invaders whose aim was to destroy the indigenous culture and supplant it with their own versions of eka-rAks.asa religions has resulted in several wounds to this fountain of ancient civilization.
But the last 130 years have been a massive disaster for our culture. Muslims formed about 20% of the population of greater India (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) in 1881 while Christians accounted for less than 1%. By 1941, the proportion of Muslim population had increased to about 24.28%. It has to be noted that Muslim population was greatly concentrated in certain pockets – in the western states forming present day Pakistan and eastern Bengal (today’s Bangladesh) where they formed absolute majority. The result being that in 1947, the country was partitioned based on religion.
In present day Pakistan, the proportion of Dharmic religionists (Hindu, Sikh, Bauddha and Jaina) has come down from nearly 20% in 1941 to less than 2% in 2001. In present day Bangladesh, it has come down from nearly 30% in 1941 to 10% in 2001. During the decade 1991-2001, the decadal growth rate of the Dharmic religionists in Bangaldesh was only 1.8% against 18% of Muslims. Taking the entire subcontinent as a whole, Dharmic religionists have declined from more than 79% in 1881 to less than 68% in 2001. We are becoming a minority in our homeland; our ancient great fortress of pagan culture is losing her pagan character every day.
The proportion of Christians in modern day India has increased less from fertility and more due to conversions. In 2001, the proportion of children in 0-6 yr group of their entire population was only 13.45% (less than 15.55% figure for Dharmikas) but their decadal growth rate was 23% against 20% of Dharmikas. Thus, conversion is a major contributor to growth in Christian population.
The result of this demographic downfall will be another partition. It is to be noted that most of the locations of high Muslim/Christian populations are located in border areas making their secession from Indian union very easy.
In the north east, Arunachal, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland have seen vast Christianization. In 1901, the states had very low Christian and Muslim population. The Dharmikas were formed of traditional tribal beliefs, Buddhism and Hinduism (mostly of Vais.n.ava character). The Dharmikas formed more than 91% of the combined population in these states in 1901. In 2001, they formed less than 50%. Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram had become Christian majority. About 70% of population in Meghalaya professed to be Christians in 2001. In Nagaland and Mizoram, the figure was close to 90%. In Manipur, Christians formed 37% of population. In Arunachal, proportion of Christians had doubled within a decade from less than 10% in 1991 to more than 18% in 2001. Only Inner Manipur region of Manipur state and Tripura have survived almost intact. Interestingly, these places have a very strong Vais.n.ava presence and were ruled by Vais.n.ava kings for some centuries.
On the whole, the situation in north east is terrible. Considering that the corridor connecting our mainland with our north eastern region is just 40km wide at its narrowest, the chances of these states to secede from India are comparatively high. Their position in the border, with a continuous region of high Christian presence, also makes it easier (just as partition in 1947).
In Assam, the threat of Muslims taking over the border districts to form a greater Bangladesh is very high. Lower Assam (eastern districts) and Cachar are Muslim majority/have substantial Muslim population. Assam shares border with Bangladesh exactly in these places. The contiguous regions of northern part of West Bengal, northern Bihar, NE Jharkhand and NE Uttat Pradesh have proportionately high Muslim presence. This eastern belt forming a continuous region with Bangladesh is 29% Muslim (2001). In Assam and West Bengal part of this belt, it is as high as 40% and 49% respectively (2001). When the numbers for 2011 come out, we can expect a further deterioration of this situation. A greater Bangladesh is forming before our very eyes. When it comes into existence, the connection with our north eastern states will be cut. Thus, the secession of those states from India will become even easier.
The other regions of concern are western UP and Kerala. In western UP, Muslim population share has increased from 29% in 1951 to nearly 39% in 2001. In Kerala, Muslim population has increased its share from 17% in 1951 to 25% in 2001. Correspondingly Dharmika population has decreased from 62% to 56%. Muslim population is concentrated in northern Kerala. Malappuram is Muslim majority. Wayanad, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasargod and Palakkad had significantly large Muslim presence from about 30-40% in general. The only solace is that Kerala has no continuous border with any Muslim country and is surrounded by Hindu majority states of TN and Karnataka. Thus, any secession is made tough and a strong willed government will be able to crush any revolt for secession with iron hand (though it still requires a strong govt – which we seem to lack). The same goes for Western UP.
One major factor helping the Muslims is their high fertility. The difference between dharmika and Muslim decadal growth rates was about 3% in 1951-1961. It has grown to the level of nearly 10% by 1981-1991 and 1991-2001. Family planning and birth control have led to lower fertility rates among non-Muslim communities. But fewer Muslims have taken to these practices, thus resulting in a higher growth rate difference. The family planning program has become a boon in disguise for the conservative Muslims as they have managed to increase their share of the population significantly.
India was not conquered fully by the fire and sword of the eka-rAks.asa religions. We managed to hold on to our beliefs and showed remarkable resilience. To be able to survive a tyrannical Muslim rule for several centuries and still being able to hold on to our traditional beliefs is no mean achievement. But whatever we managed to save is being washed away very fast. Lower fertility rates of Dharmikas combined with higher fertility rates of Muslims and the Christian act of targeting to convert the vulnerable sections of the Dharmikas (viz. tribals and Harijans) has led to a steady downfall in the proportion of our population in the subcontinent. We are heading towards a demographic disaster of our own making. Our thirst for hedonistic lifestyle has led to lower fertility rates. Our inability to integrate the Harijans into the mainstream society has led to them becoming prey to Christian vultures. Remember – every Dharmika converted is not just a person less but an enemy more in the long run. Unless, a concerted effort is taken to increase our fertility levels and integrate all sections of the society into one strong mass, we will die as an independent community within a century or two at most. Instead of harping on ‘development’, ‘money’, ‘westernized lifestyle’ etc., we must concentrate on rebuilding a strong family system which can increase our numbers. We must bring about an integratin in the entire society. Japanese managed to integrate their untouchable castes (burakmin) into the masses. We mut achieve the same here. It is to be noted that untouchability is not unique to India. It was practiced in several other places – like France, Japan, Korea etc. These countries have managed to erase this practice. We must achieve the same in near future. Caste based discrimination must be put to an end. It will make us a stronger force.
When we look at the status of Dharmikas in Pakistan and Bangladesh (even the Kashmir Valley), it can be seen that the intolerance of Islam towards the pagan religions gives a strong expression in Islamic countries. The proportion of Dharmikas in Pakistan and Bangladesh have fallen drastically post 1947 as shown above. Dharmikas are being held to ransom by the Christians in Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur. The western world is still bound by their brain washed state of hating heathens. Thus, Hindus cannot expect any support from them in case of genocide against them. When Bangla Hindus were murdered in lakhs by Pakistn soldiers, the western world turned a blind eye towards it. While they may not accept it openly, the life of a traditional Indian pagan has much less value in the eyes of a white beholder.
In the foreseeable near future, we may lose not only Kashmir but also border districts of West Bengal and entire North east including Assam. Seeds for further secession are already sown in northern Bihar, NE Uttar Pradesh etc. With a growing proportion of Muslim and Christian population everywhere, it will be a fight between the two eka-rAks.asa religions over the land of the holy BhArata. The traditions of our ancestors will die an ignoble death if nothing is done to stem this tide against us. As the holders of last great fortress of ancient pagan wisdom, it is our duty to hold and save the fort for posterity. It is a matter of pride as well as a debt to be repaid to our ancestors (pitr. r.n.a).
P.S. The data are taken from the book ‘Religious Demography of India’ published by Centre for Policy Studies.