“Demography is destiny”, said Augustus Comte… Though several other factors do indeed matter, yet growth and decline of populations and changes in the relative balance between various groups within a population play a crucial role in the rise and fall of nations and even civilizations. That is why active and alert societies, especially of the modern times, keep a keen eye on the changing demographic trends within themselves as well as everywhere else in the world.
Such keen observation of demographic trends is particularly important for India today because of several reasons. First, knowing, predicting and controlling the social and economic pressures created by our changing demographic patterns is essential for the successful completion of the noble task of nation-building that we have been engaged in since Independence. Second, we are surrounded by some of the most multitudinous and fast growing societies and nations of the world; knowing the changing demographic patterns there is essential for us to make informed judgements about the strategic pressures India is likely to face within its neighbourhood in the near future.
Finally, for more than a millennium now, India has been host to some of the greatest, most vigorous and expansive religions of the world. This circumstance has endowed India with a rich diversity; but it has also given rise to some of the most acute strategic, political and administrative problems that the Indian nation has had to face in the past and continues to face till today. Rigorous and continuous observation and analysis of the changing demography of different religious groups in various regions of the country is therefore of paramount importance in maintaining the integrity of our borders and peace, harmony and public order within the country.
Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai, have now produced an exhaustive compilation of the religious demographic data of the last hundred years for different regions of the Indian subcontinent and almost all districts of Indian Union. And they have put the Indian situation in the context of the world by compiling the changes that have taken place in the religious demography of different countries and regions of the world in the course of the twentieth century.
Like all work of the Centre that I have had occasion to see, this book is based on rigorous, objective and painstaking compilation and analysis of enormous amount of data and information. The book is likely to prove an invaluable handbook for political leaders, statesmen, administrators and social scientists of India, and for concerned leaders of several other countries.
I must also commend the Census organisation of India, who have been collecting detailed data about Indian demography with great consistency and regularity for more than a hundred years. This book is based almost entirely upon the census data. The compilation and analysis of data provided in this book may indicate to the Census organisation several areas where detailed data needs to be collected and that of the previous censuses reorganised. This should make future editions of the book more complete and rigorous.
I congratulate the Centre for Policy Studies for their seminal work, and commend this work to all Indians, but especially to the political leaders, strategic thinkers, administrators and those entrusted with the task of keeping peace and order in the country.
— From the Foreword by Shri L. K. Advani
Religious Demography of India
A. P. Joshi, M. D. Srinivas and J. K. Bajaj
Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai, 2003
xxii + 358 pages, Crown Size
38 Detailed Tables, 105 Text Tables and 29 Maps