M A I N   N E W S

Sikhs in Punjab have lower literacy rate than
in other states
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 8
Sikhs could well be happy about having a better literacy rate than the majority community, but surprisingly in Punjab, the state with maximum number of Sikhs (over 70 per cent) the literacy rate of this community is lower than the national average of literacy among Sikhs.

According to the First Report on Religion Data, 2001, released by Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, the literacy rate of Sikhs in Punjab is 67.3 per cent, lower than the Sikh national average of 69.4 per cent.

The report describes as a “good sign”, the overall literacy rate of Sikhs (70 per cent) in 32 states and Union Territories. Of these, the Sikh literacy rate in 14 states is above 90 per cent.

As a matter of fact in the two other states of Haryana and Rajasthan with high Sikh population, the Sikh literacy is very close to Punjab.

However, Delhi another important state, has a high Sikh literacy rate of 92.1 per cent.

The report notes that the female literacy scenario among Sikhs is very encouraging as compared to other religious groups wherein except one state all the other states have reported female literacy rate above 60 per cent.

Though the report points to a “visible gap” in male female literacy among the Sikhs, it notes that the female literacy rate among Sikhs in many states and Union Territories is encouraging.

In as many as 16 states and Union Territories the women literacy rate among Sikhs is above 80 per cent.

The highest literacy rate among the females was recorded among the Jains (90.6 per cent), like their male counterparts, followed by Christians (76.2 per cent), Sikhs (63.1 per cent), Buddhists (61.7 per cent), Hindus (53.2 per cent) and Muslims (50.1 per cent). The national average for female literacy rate is 53.7 per cent.

An important criteria to measure progress is to find out the gap in male and female literacy rate in a population, known as “gender gap”.

The gender gap in literacy rate among the Sikhs in 12.8 per cent as compared to the national average of 21.6 per cent.

The highest gender gap in literacy rate was recorded among followers of ‘Other religions’ (27.6 per cetn) followed by Hindus (23 per cent), Buddhists (21.4 per cent), Muslims (17.5 per cent) and the lowest was among Jains (6.8 per cent).

The report also points that Sikhs are one of the most scattered religious communities in the country, with maximum numbers residing in Punjab and the lowest in Lakshadweep.

Sikhs make up around 60 per cent of Punjab’s population of 24,358,999 of which 36.9 per cent are Hindus. Muslims in Punjab make up 1.6 per cent, Christians 1.2 per cent and Buddhists and Jains 0.2 per cent each.

The Sikhs, who constitute 1.9 per cent of the country’s population of around 102 crore, are mostly concentrated in Punjab (14,592,387).

There are 1,170,662 Sikhs in Haryana, 818,420 in Rajasthan, 678,059 in Uttar Pradesh and 555,602 in Delhi.

Sikhs are widely scattered in almost all parts of the country, with Jammu and Kashmir having 207,154 Sikhs, Uttaranchal 212,025, Maharashtra 215,337, Madhya Pradesh 150,772, Chandigarh 145,175, Jharkhand 83,358 and Himachal Pradesh 72,355.

Southern states are also home of several Sikhs. According to the report there are 30,998 Sikhs in Andhra Pradesh, 15,326 in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu 9,545, Kerala 2,762 and Pondicherry 108.

While the minimum number of six Sikhs live in Lakshadweep, there are 1,587 Sikhs on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

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