Thursday, 3 November 2016

An act of Genocide- 1984 Sikh Riots

The brutal blood shed of 1984 still horrifies Sikh community. Such acts leave indelible impact on harmony and raise questions on humanity.

The blood shed in Gurgaon: 

Gurpreet Singh was 16 when he watched his parents, two brothers, aunt and nephew burnt to death by a mob. The date was November 2, 1984.
The day the mob arrived at Badshahpur in Gurgao, Gurpreet’s neighbours hid him in their house, and from a window he watched the events unfold below. The mob of “at least one thousand” burnt down the gurdwara opposite his family’s house, before turning its attention to the family.

The six members of Gurpreet’s family were among those killed in Gurgaon and Pataudi, for whose families the one-member Justice T P Garg Commission has recommended Rs 12.07 crore as compensation.
“They began calling out to them to come down, reassuring them that no harm would be done,” Singh said, “My eldest brother went down, and the minute he got there, they gave a call to surround him, and burnt him alive.”
His other brother too was called down, and when he tried to flee, the mob allegedly caught him, beat him up and burnt him alive, some of the attackers even chopping off his fingers.
“After that, they set fire to our house, which brought everyone outside, and they burnt them alive,” Gurpreet said.
Other survivors of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that took place in the wake of then prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination tell equally horrific tales of violence, robbery, rape and murder.
The riots led to violence and death all over the country. In Gurgaon and Pataudi, 64 people were killed — 47 in Gurgaon and 17 in Pataudi. In addition, survivors allege 21 commercial properties (stores and factories) were burnt in Pataudi, and 35 Sikh families were affected by the riots. In Gurgaon, they allege, 300 houses were burnt down.
Survivors of the riots say the nightmare continued even when they were taken into refugee camps, meant to shelter and look after them.
“They took us to camps and simply left us there,” said Surender Singh, who was 42 when the riots took place. “There were no provisions for food, water or latrines for us. We were cooking our own food and buying our own things. We had to manage ourselves.”
Families who left their homes intact when they went to seek shelter in refugee camps allege that, on returning, they found the houses ransacked, with their furniture, jewellery and even basics like utensils and bed-sheets stolen. They also allege that, in many cases, the authorities refused to acknowledge deaths, and did not file FIRs.
“Forty-seven and 17 are just the official figures, there are others that are not acknowledged,” is an allegation repeated in several families.
Pataudi, a village that had 35 Sikh families in 1984, now houses only 10.
Gurjeet Singh, who was hiding at a neighbour’s house during the riots, remembers the tales that were told of atrocities committed during the days of rioting.
“People were tortured to death, it was not quick. I have heard of women being stripped, and raped, after which rioters relieved themselves on them and then burnt them to death,” he said.
The effects of the 1984 riots were felt long after the violence subsided. Survivors talk of the way the events impacted the future of children in the community, many of whom could not be educated since their parents had died or been robbed to such an extent that they could no longer afford to send them to school. Marriages, too, became difficult since people had been looted to such an extent they were struggling just to survive, they said.
Survivors of the riots talk of the fear they feel even today whenever they hear of communal unrest anywhere. “We just close our shops and stay at home. We have already seen a lot. We’d rather be safe,” said a resident of Gurgaon, who preferred not to be named.
Though Sikh families in Gurgaon and Pataudi say images of atrocities committed during the 1984 riots haunt them even today, they don’t expect most of the perpetrators to ever be caught and punished.
They demand only compensation for what they have lost. They feel what various governments and courts have offered seem is “insufficient”. “All we want is the compensation that we deserve… In a democratic country, we are still waiting for democracy,” said one survivor.

Blood Shed in Areas of Delhi and Punjab:

I lived through the Sikh riots—and 30 years later, I’m not ready to forgive or forget

Most chronicles of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots focus on Delhi and Punjab. Few acknowledge Daltonganj—a typical town in Bihar (now in Jharkhand)—as a place that heavily bore the brunt of the carnage.
I know differently.
Thirty years ago, when the violence broke out on the streets of that town, I was all of 30, married, with a little girl. We lived in a joint family with my parents, three brothers, their wives, and children.
Three years earlier, the year my daughter was born, I had felt the need to stand up on my feet, and I had opened a shop of automobile spare parts in Daltonganj’s busiest area.
The whole of the town is no bigger than a Delhi neighborhood. Like much of small town India, it has a fair share of different communities, one hospital, two film theaters, and a handful of schools.
In its anonymity thrived its innocence. Until October 31, 1984.
I clearly remember it was a Wednesday. It was around four in the evening. One India-Pakistan cricket match had been abruptly canceled midway, and people huddled around their radios began spreading the message: “The BBC said that Indira Gandhi was assassinated this morning.” Not until 4:50, when the Urdu news report was transmitted via All India Radio, did we know that it wasn’t a rumor. The prime minister had been murdered.
It was the last day of Chhath Puja, so I was expecting one of my Hindu friends to visit me. This friend—let’s call him Ashok—came every year to give me holy prashad. A couple of hours had passed by—and though people were in a state of shock, everything seemed pretty much like any other day. The market was closing down and people were returning to their families.
When Ashok arrived, I was preparing to leave, too. “Don’t go home tonight. It’s not safe,” he told me. A medical shop close to the hospital run by a Sikh had apparently been looted. Another Sikh laundryman had been attacked.
Who did it, I did not know. What was going to happen, I could not tell.
I somewhat panicked. A couple of my Hindu friends got together and suggested I should stay the night with my friend Kamlesh, who lived right across the street from my shop, instead of returning home to my family. I conceded.
The next morning, mayhem broke out. As I peeped through the windows of my friend’s house, I saw a mob of some 600 people break into the wooden door of my shop and loot it. They carried rods and kerosene. The inhumanity was frightening. Some people who I would often sip tea with in the evenings were right there, in front of my eyes, devastating my livelihood. My brother’s shop next door was looted and set aflame.
The whole day, I hid behind the windows, barely knowing how long would this go on; barely understanding how were they, we—the Sikhs—at fault. Indira Gandhi had been killed by her two Sikh bodyguards, but how did it justify attacking innocent Sikhs who are, like everybody else, just trying to earn their living?
I did not know about my family’s whereabouts for hours. Eventually, the telephone lines improved and I could use my friend’s phone to find out that they were being protected by one of our neighbors.
Later that day, my friend Kamlesh received a threatening phone call; people were saying he had hid a Sikh in his house. Kamlesh’s neighbor, a fearless Hindu, offered to help. The same night at 11, I removed my turban, opened my hair, covered myself in a white sheet and moved over to his neighbor’s house.
Sikhs cover their hair out of respect for god’s creation. That is our identity. As a Sikh, it was no less than demeaning to be forced in a situation to let it down.
On Nov. 2, a curfew was declared. The looting and the killing nonetheless continued. Another day passed. The army arrived. On Nov. 4, the curfew ended, but the army men stayed on for several days afterward.
I was clueless about how the rest of the town fared. I was pained with rage and agony. For two hours, when the curfew was lifted, I joined hordes of other Sikh men at the police station, and told a cop: “I am one of the victims and I want to have a look at my shop.” The cop who had been patrolling the areas asked me: “Which one was yours?” I told him—only to be informed the shop was completely emptied. I insisted on seeing it for myself.
I don’t know what I was thinking. Instead of returning home, I went with the cops to my shop. I opened what was left of a broken door. Three or four stray dogs greeted us, huddled inside the tiny space, looted of my once simple life.
I somehow got rid of them, sat right there, and cried and cursed endlessly. I found a sack and collected whatever items remained. I asked Kamlesh to keep them for me, but he declined because the army had announced that they would be searching the rioters’ homes for their bounty. That, I think, never happened.
After four days, I returned home with the sack. My wife and mother, who had little hopes of seeing me again, cried and cried–as they would for many days to come. There were several mob attacks on my house during the course of these four days, but our longtime neighbors—a joint family of Rajputs, just like ours—saved us.
The loss all around was unprecedented. The nearby gurudwara was strewn in blood—and those marks have barely rubbed off to this day. The head priest was slashed to death—and his young children were beaten and harassed. The broken windowpanes of the gurudwara remain, a bitter memory to the stone pelting that went on for hours on the holy shrine.
In Daltonganj, countless Sikh men were beaten up. A dozen died. Some houses were stoned; others set ablaze. Some local Sikh who were traveling out of the town were dragged out of trains and killed. The hospital refused to admit the injured, unless men cut their hair. Turban-wearing Sikhs had to make a choice: cut your hair or not get medical care. In the wake of the rampage, several Hindus, too, could not leave their homes.
Thereafter, a few Sikh families sought help from their related families in Punjab and left the town. I, too, went and found a place in Amritsar, but I could not convince my family to relocate. My father—who had witnessed his father’s killing during India’s partition in 1947—was hellbent on the whole family migrating together, or not migrating at all. My mother had lost her brother in the brutal attacks on Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs alike in 1947. Any form of killing is wrong—but I can attest it’s worse when the nation corners one single community.
In his first-person accounts from Sikhs across the nation, Jarnail Singh’s book, I Accuse, captures the anguish of a community that is still struggling to forgive and forget—given there has been no justice till this date. Across the nation, more than 8,000 Sikhs were killed, women were raped, burnt alive, homes brought down, children forced to grow up. These have affected the psyche of the people permanently.
Thirty years have passed, but the memory of the riots doesn’t fail me. In some ways, I have put it behind and moved on. In some ways, I have not. I still feel vulnerable to be living among many of those people. The pain, the trauma, the betrayal of the government, the suspicion of my friends, and the mistrust in justice—these cannot be taken away from me. It isn’t easy to forget. And so, I never will.
As told to Shelly Walia, a reporter for Quartz India and Amarjit Singh Walia’s daughter..

Thousands of families were ruined in just 3 days. It was a gruesome genocide.
"Leaders" shedding crocodile tears have not spent a single rupee from their pockets for the riot victims.
Under the leadership of Sant Longowal, welfare was done for the grief stricken and shattered families.
Perpetrators of hatred must be punished and precedence be set. This is a sensitive matter for the community and must never be entwined with politics. All political parties such as BJP-SAD and others have tried to capitalise on this matter to gain votes from Sikhs.
However they have no compassion for the cause or community and so will never solve the issue, to keep a talking point alive.

Complete details of the incident:


Report from: The Indian Express

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Recognition and Motivation: Where it is needed the most

At a time when everyone is concerned in today’s times only with the achievers - be it Medals at Olympics, top 1 percentile at IIMs or Funding rounds at Startups. It is important to remember the others in the race too. In context of schooling particularly be it the teacher or the parent, we tend to focus only on the scholars and motivating them to attain Rank 1 without looking at the average student who has potential too, works hard to retain his position or gain some points in the race. There are several awards and scholarships based solely on merit and financial need, we believe it is important to have an award based on - result improvement, dedicated hard work and strong values. (quantifiable via exam result data and final selection by a brief interview of shortlisted students) As part of Project Swadesh, we will be encouraging students and rewarding those who otherwise are treated as “Average” / “Middle of the class”, recognizing their effort and motivating them to keep at it!

In Association with: PO Box Trust

#Encouraging #Recognition #Trust #education #NGO #ProjetSwadesh #Art #donate #support

Thursday, 18 August 2016

World Photography Day

The soft click of the camera, a flash of light and a moment in time captured forever. Maybe digitally, maybe on film, the medium is never as important as the memory or moment caught. A group of people, a sunset, or even a fish jumping out of the water, a photograph is a way to feel the emotion and context of that exact moment. Celebrate that, on this picturesque Photography Day!

History of Photography Day
The photograph originally was made by Nicéphore Niépce, using silver chloride coating a piece of paper. However, the photo would eventually turn fully dark as he knew no way to remove the silver chloride from the paper to preserve the photo. Photographs got better and better over the years, first with the ‘still camera’, and the ability to take a picture that way. Think the old west in America, and that camera’s differences to the ones of World War 2, then compare them to modern cameras. The major jumps in technology affected photography as much as any other facet of life around the world. With Kodak, Canon and so many other brands out there, it was of no surprise when the market of photography got such a jump, even more so with the military and surveillance capabilities offered as cameras got better, lighter and more easily used. Yet for all the innovation and creativity, science and even the large amount of art that occurs in the photography realm, not much can beat the simple pleasure of snapping photos and developing your frames to enjoy the integrity of the photos.

How to celebrate Photography Day
Why not go out and snap a few pictures yourself? Find an older camera, and enjoy the feel, and look, of 35mm film. Walk around and snap some pictures to preserve the time in photographic form. Make a collage, which is a mixture of pictures, sometimes cut into different shapes than the usual rectangles of photos. Go snap some wildlife, either in the wild or at a zoo. Maybe some family photos wouldn’t be out of the question; and you could even use them in the yearly holiday cards in place of the stock sitting stills. Or go see a museum about photography, if you have one nearby to visit. Many museums have cameras in them, and some even explain the use of photography in major events worldwide. How do you think they get the pictures of these events anyways? With a camera of course! So go out there, snap some photos and maybe record a piece of history on this year’s Photography Day!

Picture Credits: Candy Sandhu 

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Story of Independence

A story of freedom and formation of worlds largest democracy, India 

The history of Indian Independence is laced with the struggle and sacrifice of many leaders and revolutionaries of the country.

The story of India's colonisation began with the arrival of the British East India Company to the country in the 1600s. The merchants who came to trade with India soon began to exercise military and administrative control and by 1757, they had huge swathes of the country under them.
Resentment against the alien company and its unfair rule over the local populace began to grow and in 1857, the first organised revolt against it took place with a group of Indian soldiers rebelling against the British rank in the Barrackpore, Bengal unit. Referred to as the Great Struggle of 1857 (the British called it the Sepoy Mutiny), this rebellion marked a new era in India's freedom movement.

As a direct result of the rebellion, administrative control of the country passed from the East India Company to the British Crown in London. From 1858 to 1947, India was governed by London with representatives in the form of governor-generals and viceroys posted in India. However, several incidents such as the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre, where more than 1,000 people were killed after General Reginald Dyer ordered troops to fire machine guns into a crowd of Indian protesters and the Bengal famine of 1943, which killed up to five million people, only went to alienate the local people from their rulers.

Prominent Indian leaders and revolutionaries such as Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai, Chandrasekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel took part in the uprising against the British over different time periods, which ultimately led to India's freedom from foreign rule.

In February 1947, the then British prime minister Clement Attlee, announced that his government would grant full self-governance to British India by June 1948 at the latest.

Nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by leaders like Gandhi, Patel and Nehru were largely responsible for India's independence. However, independence came with the partition of India into the dominions of India and Pakistan.

On 15 August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi.

Nehru delivered his famous speech — Tryst With Destiny — in which he addressed the long-drawn struggle and future that lies ahead.

"At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance"


Although India's freedom struggle has become history today, 15 August still holds great significance in the hearts of millions of people of the country. Most Indians celebrate the national holiday with family get-togethers and by attending patriotic events.

The national flag is hoisted by the prime minister of India on the ramparts of the Red Fort, Delhi, followed by a speech. Other politicians hoist the flag in their constituencies. People fly kites to express their feeling for freedom.

A national holiday is observed throughout the country with flag-hoisting ceremonies, cultural events and parades. Almost all movie channels entertain their viewers with old and new patriotic movies and classics.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

We stand unique from the world: Secularism

Secularism in India refers to the equal status and treatment of all religions.
The dictionary meaning of the word ‘secularism’ is skepticism in matters of religion. But we, in India, use the work in a broader sense. We use the word to mean impartiality or non-interference by the Government of the country in matters of religion. Independent India is one of the largest states in the world of today with a population of nearly 120 crores. This vast population is made up of people professing different religions like Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, Christianity etc. and practicing different religious rites.
One of India’s guiding principles in impartiality in religious matters. India wants her citizens to cling to any religion they like without any government interference. And this noble decision of the Indian Government is unequivocally proclaimed in the amended Preamble to the Constitution of our country. It reads as follow:
“We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic”, etc.
Importance of Secularism in India:
 Secularism and Democracy are two remarkable achievements of independent India. These two achievements have stood the test of time and set the goal of the nation on religious and political fronts. The State, remaining free from religious obligations, can take a tolerant attitude towards every religion and can pursue the ideal of achieving the well-being of the people, irrespective of caste, creed, religion etc.
Challenges and Threats to Secularism in India:
Secularism is, no doubt, an ideal principle. But in practice it is not so easy to follow. The vulnerable point in India is the deep religious sentiment prevailing among its different religious communities.
Both Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists in India are whipping up this sentiment of the staunch adherents of these religions, most of whom are either illiterate or semi-literate. This is a threat to the Secular principles of India.
India, moreover, has failed to fulfill some of the important conditions laid in the Constitution. Education has not been given the priority that it deserves. The condition of backwardness – poverty, population explosion and environmental pollution – prevails in the country in alarming proportions. The fundamentalists fish in this troubled water.
The secular parties, too, cannot exonerate themselves from their share of blame. They cannot ignore the existence of fanaticism in the body politic. It is very often seen that in the time of elections most of the political parties completely forget this noble ideal of secularism and woo the voters even on communal or cast lines. These acts are not done out of ignorance, but are due to compromise of convenience. It is the duty of the secular and democratic forces to rally behind those political forces that really profess and practice secularism.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Our Constitutional Rights

The Fundamental Rights in Indian constitution acts as a guarantee that all Indian citizens can and will live their lifes in peace as long as they live in Indian democracy. They include individual rigts common to most liberal democracies, such as equality before the law, freddom of speech and expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom of religion, and the right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil right.
Originally, the right to property was also included in the Fundamental Rights, however, the Forty-Fourth Amendment, passed in 1978, revised the status of property rights by stating that "No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law."

Following are the Fudamental Rights in India

Right to Equality
  • Article 14 :- Equality before law and equal protection of law
  • Article 15 :- Prohibition of discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  • Article 16 :- Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment
  • Article 17 :- End of untouchability
  • Article 18 :- Abolition of titles, Military and academic distinctions are, however, exempted
Right to Freedom
  • Article 19 :- It guarantees the citizens of India the following six fundamentals freedoms:-
    1. Freedom of Speech and Expression
    2. Freedom of Assembly
    3. Freedom of form Associations
    4. Freedom of Movement
    5. Freedom of Residence and Settlement
    6. Freedom of Profession, Occupation, Trade and Bussiness
  • Article 20 :- Protection in respect of conviction for offences
  • Article 21 :- Protection of life and personal liberty
  • Article 22 :- Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases
Right Against Exploitation
  • Article 23 :- Traffic in human beings prohibited
  • Article 24 :- No child below the age of 14 can be employed
Right to freedom of Religion
  • Article 25 :- Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
  • Article 26 :- Freedom to manage religious affairs
  • Article 27 :- Prohibits taxes on religious grounds
  • Article 28 :- Freedom as to attendance at religious ceremonies in certain educational institutions
Cultural and Educational Rights
  • Article 29 :- Protection of interests of minorities
  • Article 30 :- Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions
  • Article 31 :- Omitted by the 44th Amendment Act
Right to Constitutional Remedies
  • Article 32 :- The right to move the Supreme Court in case of their violation (called Soul and heart of the Constitution by BR Ambedkar)
  • Forms of Writ check
  • Habeas Corpus :- Equality before law and equal protection of law

All of these rights have ensured the social and constitutional development of our country and made us the world free and largest democracy.


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The cultural Diversity in India

The diversity in India is unique. Being a large country with large population. India presents endless varieties of physical features and cultural patterns. It is the land of many languages it is only in India people professes all the major religions of the world. In short, India is “the epitome of the world”. The vast population is composed of people having diverse creeds, customs and colours. Some of the important forms of diversity in India are discussed below.

Diversity in India

1. Diversity of Physical Features:

The unique feature about India is the extreme largest mountains covered with snow throughout the year. The Himalayas or the adobe of snow is the source of the mighty rivers like Indus. Ganga and Yamuna. These perennial rivers irrigate extensive areas in the North to sustain the huge population of the country. At the same time Northern India contains and zones and the desert of Rajasthan where nothing grows accept a few shrubs.

2. Racial Diversity:

A race is a group of people with a set of distinctive physical features such set skin, colour, type of nose, form of hair etc. A.W. Green says, “A race is a large biological human grouping with a number of distinctive, inherited characteristics which vary within a certain range.”

The Indian sub-continent received a large number of migratory races mostly from the Western and the Eastern directions. Majority of the people of India are descendants of immigrants from across the Himalayas. Their dispersal into sub-continent has resulted in the consequent regional concentration of a variety of ethnic elements. India is an ethnological museum Dr B.S Guha identifies the population of India into six main ethnic groups, namely (1) the Negrito’ (2) the Proto-Australoids, (3) the Mongoloids (4) the Mediterranean or Dravidian (5) the Western Brachycephals and (6) the Nordic. People belonging to these different racial stocks have little in common either in physical appearance or food habits. The racial diversity is very perplexing.

Herbert Risley had classified the people of India into seven racial types. These are- (1) Turko-Iranian (2) Indo-Aryan, (3) Scytho-Dravidian, (4) Aryo-Dravidian, (5) Mongo o- Dravidian, (6) Mongoloid and (7) Dravidian. These seven racial types can be reduced to three basic types- the Indo-Aryan, the Mongolian and the Dravidian. In his opinion the last two types would account for the racial composition of tribal India.

Other administrative officers and anthropologists like J.H. Hutton, D.N. Majumdar and B. S. Guha have given the latest racial classification of the Indian people based on further researches in this field. Hutton’s and Guha’s classifications are based on 1931 census operations.

3. Linguistic Diversity:
The census of 1961 listed as many as 1,652 languages and dialects. Since most of these languages are spoken by very few people, the subsequent census regarded them as spurious but the 8′h Schedule of the Constitution of India recognizes 22 languages. These are (1) Assamese, (2) Bengali, (3) Gujarati, (4) Hindi, (5) Kannada, (6) Kashmir. (7) zKonkani. (8) Malayalam. (9) Manipuri, (10) Marathi, (11) Nepali. (12) Oriya, (13) Punjabi, (14) Sanskrit. (15) Tamil, (16) Telugu, (17) Urdu, and (18) Sindhi, (19) Santhali, (20) Boro, (21) Maithili and (22) Dogri. But four of these languages namely Sanskrit, Kashmiri, Nepali and Sindhi are not official languages in any State of the Indian Union. But all these languages are rich in literature Hindi in Devanagiri script is recognized as the official language of the Indian Union by the Constitution.

The second largest language, Telugu, is spoken by about 60 million people, mostly in Andhra Pradesh. Most of the languages spoken in North India belong to the Indo- Aryan family, while the languages of the South namely Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada belong to the Dravidian family.

It is said that India is a “Veritable tower of babel”. In the words of A.R. Desai “India presents a spectacle of museum of tongues”.

This linguistic diversity notwithstanding, there was always a sort of link languages, though it has varied from age to age. In ancient times, it was Sanskrit, in medieval age it was Arabic or Persian and in modern times there are Hindi and English as official languages.

4. Religious Diversity:

India is not religiously a homogeneous State even through nearly 80 per cent of the population profess Hinduism. India is a land of multiple religions. We find here followers of various faiths, particularly of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism Zoroastrianism. We know it that Hinduism is the dominant religion of India. According to the census of 2001 it is professed by 80.05 per cent of the total population.

Next comes Islam which is practiced by 13.04 per cent. This is followed by Christianity having a followers of 2 03 per cent, Sikhism reported by 1.9 per cent, Buddhism by 0.8 per cent and Jainism by 0.4 per cent. The religions with lesser following are Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Bahaism.

Then there are sects within each religion. Hinduism, for example, has many sects including Shaiva Shakta and Vaishnava. We can add to them the sects born of religious reform movements such as the Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj, and The Ram Krishna Mission. More recently, some new cults have come up such as Radhaswami, Saibaba etc. Similarly, Islam is divided into Shiya and Sunni; Sikhism into Namdhari and Nirankari; Jainism into Digambar and Shwetambar and Buddhism into Hinayan and Mahayan.

While Hindus and Muslims are found in almost all parts of India, the remaining minority religions have their pockets of concentration. Christians have their strongholds in the three Southern States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Meghalaya. Sikhs are concentrated largely in Punjab, Buddhist in Maharashtra and Jains are mainly spread over Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat, but also found in most urban centres throughout the country.

5. Caste Diversity:

India is a country of castes. Caste or Jati refers to a hereditary, endogamous status group practicing a specific traditional occupation. It is surprising to know that there are more than 3,000 Jatis in India.

These are hierarchically graded in different ways in different regions.

It may also be noted that the practice of caste system is not confined to Hindus alone. We find castes among the Muslims, Christians, Sikhs as well as other communities. We have heard of the hierarchy of Shaikh, Saiyed, Mughal, Pathan among the Muslims, Furthermore, there are castes like Teli (oil pressure). Dhobi (washerman), Darjee (tailor) etc. among the Muslims. Similarly, caste consciousness among the Christians in India is not unknown. Since a vast majority of Christians in India were converted from Hindu fold, the converts have carried the caste system into Christianity. Among the Sikhs again we have so many castes including Jat Sikh and Majahabi Sikh (lower castes). In view of this we can well imagine the extent of caste diversity in India.

In addition to the above described major forms of diversity, we have diversity of many other sorts like settlement pattern – tribal, rural, urban; marriage and kinship pattern along religious and regional lines and so on.

By- Puja Mondal