This programme of the Centre was initiated in 1998, when Sri A. P. Joshi took retirement from his business to devote himself to full time academic research concerned with the essential aspects of nation-building.
The programme involves an exhaustive study of the changes in the population of the Indian continent in comparison with other major civilizational regions of the world, and changes in the religious profile of people within the continent. Under the programme, we have collected census data from the beginning of the census operations in India in 1871 to 1991, the last year for which the data is available. For these more than one hundred years, we have collected, compiled and analysed data for every district of Indian Union, as also for the provinces of Pakistan and divisions of Bangladesh. The data provides a fully documented and rare insight into the changing religious profile of the Indian subcontinent.
To place this information in the perspective of corresponding changes in other parts of the world, we have also compiled data on the changes that have taken place in the religious profile in the course of the twentieth century for almost all countries of the world. This country-wise data has been further organised into different geopolitical regions and continents of the world to provide a comprehensive picture of the changing religious demography of the world.
This data and the analyses have been collated in an exhaustive volume, entitledÂ Religious Demography of India. The book was published with financial help from the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), and released in April 2003 by Sri L. K. Advani, the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister of India, at an unusual function organised jointly by the Centre and the Indian Council of Social Science Research. The importance of this work for the current Indian polity is underlined by the fact that SriÂ L.Â K.Â Advani has consented to write preface for the book.
Religious Demography of India 2001 Revision
Relgious Demographic Data for the 2001 censusÂ becameÂ available in September 2004. We carried out an exhaustive compilation of this data and a revised version ofÂ the book incorporating the data for 2001 was published in November 2005.Â This â€œ2001 Revisionâ€ presents an even more exhaustive picture of the changing religious demography of India at the district level. It also includes new detailed tables on several aspects of the phenomenon and all the data necessary for updating to up to 2001 the detailed tables of the earlier edition.
Along with the Revised Edition, we have published illustrated presentations on the subject separately in English and Hindi. These presentations contain large number of coloured maps, and presented a graphic and easily comprehensible picture of the changing religious demography of India. The presentations have also been made available on CDâ€™s in flash format.
The publication of this material at Delhi was preceded by a seminar on the subject held at the Constitution Club. The seminar was attended by Sri Vijay Kapoor, former Lt. Governor of Delhi, Sri N. N. Jha, former Lt. Governor of Andamans and Pondicherry, Sri Subramanyam Swami, former Union Law Minister and several other concerned scholars and administrators. The participants in the seminar were of the unanimous view that there is an urgent need to set up a national committee or council to coordinate work on this issue. Unfortunately, we have not been able to make much progress on this.
The formal publication ceremony was held at the Hindi Bhawan Auditorium. Sri Vijay Kapoor, former Lt. Governor of Delhi and Sri Joginder Singh, former Director of CBI introduced the book. P.P. Sri Sudarshanji released the book in the presence of His Holiness Sri Vijay Kaushalji Maharaj.
Earlier in the year, we had held a national convention on the subject at Delhi in the auditorium of the Indian Society of International Law on April 26-27, 2005. The convention was attended by nearly a hundred participants drawn mainly from the teaching faculty of various colleges in the country.
Taluk Level Data
WeÂ have also compiled religious demographic data up to the Taluk level for the four decades between 1971 and 2001.Â In this database, we have separated the data for the urban population of theÂ taluks andÂ towns for this period. We are in the process ofÂ compiling information on the changes in the Taluk boundaries that have taken place during this period, and reconciling the data from decade to decade. With this the compilation of taluk and town level religious demographic data for these four decades shall be complete.
Taluk level data is not available for 1951 and 1961, though some town level data is likely to be available. We propose to collect the available town level data for these two decades.
We also need to compile taluk and town level data for at least one or two decades in the pre-Independence period. We also need town level data for Pakistan and Bangladesh. We are making efforts to collect this data.
Once all this data is collected and compiled, we shall be in a position to make a comprehensive reference work on the religious demography of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh disaggregated up to the taluk and town level.
Religious Demographic Atlas of India
Once the collection of taluk level data is complete, we propose to prepare a Religious Demographic Atlas of India which would offer a graphic presentation of the changing religious demography of India. This work is however likely to take some time.
Tribal Demography of India
Separately, we have been working on collecting data on the distribution of tribal people across different districts of the country and their religious affiliations. Much data has been collected on this aspect and we have already prepared extensive maps. We hope to publish some parts of this collection in the course of 2011.
Proposed Further Work
We have planned further work under this programme along the following lines: