India – Country Of Many Religions
India is the founding home of major world religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. India is also the home of the earliest human civilization. Over the centuries, people from all over the world and of all faiths have made India their home.
Christianity came to India in 52 AD brought by Thomas the Apostle. Judaism came to India over 2,500 years ago. Islam came to India in the 12th century and spread to all parts of the country during the rule of the Mughals. 1,200 years ago, when the Parsees were being persecuted in Persia, they found shelter in India.
India’s Religious Composition
The present religious breakup of India population is as follows:
- Hindu 80.5%,
- Muslims 13.4%,
- Christians 2.3%,
- Sikhs 1.9%,
- Buddhists 0.8%,
- Jains 0.4% and
- Others 0.7% (Parsees, Bahais, Jews, etc).
Today India is a rich mix of different cultures, languages and ethnicities. The Indian census has recorded 1,500 mother tongues, more than any other country in the world. The Indian constitution recognizes 22 official languages. India also has 29 languages with over 1 million speakers.
Indian Marriage Laws
Taking into account India’s vast religious and cultural diversity, India has 5 different marriage laws:
- Hindu Marriage Act, 1955: This is the Indian Marriage law for Hindus, Buddhist, Jains and Sikhs.
- Muslim Marriage Act: This is the Indian Marriage law for Muslims. This law takes into account Muslim (Nikah) laws.
- Indian Christian Marriage Act 1889: Indian Marriage law for Christians.
- Parsi Marriage & Divorce Act, 1936 (and 1988 amendment): Indian Marriage law for Parsees.
- Special Marriage Act, 1954: Indian Marriage law for couples of different religions, communities and for couples who do not want to marry in a religious ceremony.
Each of these laws are dealt with on their respective pages.
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