Dr JK Bajaj of the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) conducted the research that shed light on the "changing religious demography of India". Besides a sustained growth in Muslims compared to IRs, the results of the study show that there has been a sharp drop in the population of Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, Firstpost reported.
According to Dr JK Bajaj's findings, the normalized gap between the growth rates of Muslims and Indian Religions (IR) has only widened. His study emphasizes that when looking at only the decline in growth rate, one misses out the bigger picture. To understand this, he takes a closer look at what the data reveals over the years.
Looking at the share of the Muslim population in the census taken after independence to the most recent enumeration shows that during 1951-1961, the decadal increase in the growth of the Muslim population was 0.24 per cent. It has jumped to almost four times at 0.80 per cent in the 2001-2011 decade.
Looking at the growth of the Muslim population in absolute numbers also shows a staggering rise. In 1951 the population of Muslims in India was 3.47 crore, whereas it grew to 17.11 crore by 2011. According to Dr Bajaj, this implies a multiplication factor of 4.6. During the same period, the population of Indian religionists multiplied only 3.2 times.
So, essentially the rate of increase of the Muslim population has been faster than that of IRs. Even though there has been a slump in the growth rate of all religions in India over the 2001-2011 decade, the religious imbalance has widened.
According to the study, the share of Indian Religionists is declining. In 2001 their overall share in the population was 84.21 per cent; it came down to 83.48 per cent in 2011. And this, too, has been a consistent trend, indicating that fewer IRs are being born now than before.
While talking to the Firstpost, Dr Bajaj said, "Between 1951 and 2011, the share of Indian religionists in the population of India has contracted by nearly four percentage points, and the Muslim share has expanded by about that amount."