Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 4
Sikhs are overwhelmingly proud of their Indian identity, a new study has found. A Pew Research Center report, based on a face-to-face survey of 29,999 Indian adults fielded between late 2019 and early 2020 – before the Covid-19 pandemic – takes a closer look at religious identity, nationalism and tolerance in Indian society.
The survey — Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation — was conducted by local interviewers in 17 languages and covered nearly all of India’s states and Union Territories. The sample included interviews with 22,975 Hindus, 3,336 Muslims, 1,782 Sikhs, 1,011 Christians, 719 Buddhists and 109 Jains.
As per the study, a near-universal share of Sikhs says they are very proud to be Indian (95%), and the vast majority (70%) says a person who disrespects India cannot be a Sikh.
Like India’s other religious groups, most Sikhs do not see evidence of widespread discrimination against their community — just 14% say Sikhs face a lot of discrimination in India, and 18% say they personally have faced religious discrimination in the last one year.
At the same time, Sikhs are more likely than other religious communities to see communal violence as a very big problem in the country. Nearly 8-in-10 Sikhs (78%) rate communal violence as a major issue, compared with 65% of Hindus and Muslims.
As per the study, about three-quarters of Sikh men and women in India say they keep their hair long (76%), and two-thirds say it is very important to them that children in their families also keep their hair long (67%).
Sikhs are more likely than Indian adults overall to say they attend religious services every day — 40% of Sikhs say they go to the gurdwara daily. By comparison, 14% of Hindus say they go to a Hindu temple every day.
Moreover, the vast majority of Sikhs (94%) regards their holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, as the word of God, and many (37%) say they read it, or listen to recitations of it, every day.
Sikhs in India also incorporate other religious traditions into their practice. Some Sikhs (9%) say they follow Sufi orders, which are linked to Islam, and about half (52%) say they have a lot in common with Hindus. Roughly one-in-five Indian Sikhs says he has prayed, meditated or performed a ritual at a Hindu temple.
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