Washington : Hindus think Partition was good for relations with Muslims. Hindus are more likely than Muslims in India to say the 1947 partition was good for Hindu-Muslim relations, reveals a US survey released this week.

The surveyors - Pew Research Center survey, Washington - also found that the majority of  Hindus ''think it is very important to be Hindu and to speak Hindi to be truly Indian.''

The study is based on nearly 30,000 face-to-face interviews in India that Pew conducted in 17 languages between late 2019 and early 2020.

''More than seven decades after [ the partition ] predominant view among Indian Muslims is that the Partition of the sub-continent was a bad thing for Hindu-Muslim relations [ 48 percent ]. Only three-in-ten Muslims say it was a good thing,'' the study shows.

'' Hindus, however, lean in the opposite direction : 43 percent of the Hindus say Partition was beneficial for Hindu-Muslim reactions, while 37 percent say it was harmful.''

SIKHS are even more likely than Muslims to ''say the event was bad for Hindu-Muslim relations : Two thirds of Sikhs [66 percent take this position],'' the report adds.

The surveyors also found that among Hindus, views of national identity go together with politics. Support for the ruling  Bharatiya Janata Party, is greater among Hindus who closely associate their religious identity and the Hindi language with being truly Indian.

In the 2019 national elections, 60 percent of the Hindu voters who think it is particularly important to be Hindu and to speak Hindi to be truly Indian cast their vote for the BJP, compared with 33 percent who feel less strongly about both these aspects of national identity.

These views also map onto regional support for the BJP, which tends to be much higher in the Northern and Central parts of the country than in the South.

Nearly three-quarters of Hindus [ 72 percent ] say a person cannot be Hindu, if they eat beef. That is larger than the shares of Hindus who say a person cannot be Hindu if they do not believe in God [ 49 percent ] or never go to a temple [ 48 percent ].

Similarly, three quarters of Indian Muslims [77 percent] say that a person cannot be Muslim if they eat pork, which is greater than the share who say aa person cannot be Muslim if they do not believe in God [ 60 percent ] or never attend mosque [ 61 percent ].

The surveyors also found that Indians generally stick to their own religious group while making friends. Hindus overwhelmingly say that most or all of their close friends are Hindu.

Even among Sikh and Jains, who each form sliver of the national population, a large majority say their friends come mainly or entirely from their small religious community.

Many Hindus [ 45 percent ] say they do not want people of other religions in their neighborhood. More than one-in-three Hindus [ 36 percent ] say they do not want a Muslim as neighbor.

Among Jains, 54 percent  say they would not accept a Muslim neighbor, although nearly all Jains [ 92 prcent ] say they would be willing to accept a Hindu neighbor.

The World Students Society thanks author Anwar Iqbal, from Dawn Newspaper.


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