English Script: Mayank Chawla
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
(This story was first published on 02 October 2021, and is being republished from The Quint's archives to mark one year since the anti-conversion law in Uttar Pradesh came into effect.)
Have you heard statements like ‘Hindus are in danger’, ‘By 2050, the Muslim population will surpass Hindu population’, ‘Hindus being forcibly converted’, or ‘Hindus are victims of a conspiracy?’ These messages are frequently circulated on social media platforms and even forwarded on WhatsApp.
But, will the Muslim population surpass the Hindu population by 2050? Is there any truth to these theories? The answer is a big No; and that forces us to ask, ‘Janab Aese Kaise?‘
According to a report by Pew Research Centre named ‘Religious Composition of India’, there has been a decrease in fertility rate (the number of children born to each woman during her child-bearing age) among Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, and other religious groups.
In 1992, a Muslim woman had more than 4 (4.4) children, but this figure came down to 2.6 in 2015. At the same time, the average number of children of Hindu women was 3.3 in 1992, which reached 2.1 in 2015.
Similarly, in comparison to 1992, in 2015, the fertility rate among Christians came down from 2.9 to 2, Buddhists from 2.9 to 1.7, Sikhs from 2.4 to 1.6, and Jains from 2.4 to 1.2.
CENSUS STATUS SINCE INDEPENDENCE
The first census of independent India was done in the year 1951 when the population of India was 36.1 crore. In 2011, this figure rose to 120 crore.
In 1951, the population of Hindus was 30.4 crore, which reached 96.6 crore in 2011, while the population of 3.5 crore Muslims increased to 17.2 crore.
Looking at the census of 2011, the rate of increase in the population of Hindus was 16.76 percent, while in 2001, this rate was 19.92 percent. This way, a decline of 3.16 percent was seen in the rising population of Hindus in 10 years.
In the same way, the population of Muslims increased at the rate of 29.5 percent in 2001 before it fell to 24.6 percent in 2011, accounting for a decline of 4.9 percent in the rising population among Muslims.
Thus, there was a sharp decline in the rate of population growth among Muslims as compared to Hindus.
ARE HINDUS BEING CONVERTED?
According to a survey by Pew Research Centre, from a group of 30,000 adults in India 99 percent of adult Hindus said that they were Hindus since birth.
Similarly, 97 percent of adult Muslims and 94 percent adult Christians said that they were Muslims and Christians, respectively, since birth.
One also needs to consider the fact that voluntary conversion is not illegal in India. Therefore, those talking about ‘population explosion’, ‘religious conversions’, ‘Hindu community in danger’ have a preconceived notion.
To them, we will keep asking, ‘Janab Aese Kaise?‘