Religions in India: Meaning and Issues

Religion has a tremendous influence on the everyday lives of users. People of every religion may realize how their beliefs affect several parts of their lives. A belief in a higher power may result from a prolonged quest and the consolidation of early-life convictions. Due to one's views, condemnation and prejudice may occur. Some users feel bound to support the beliefs of their family, friends, or partners, notwithstanding their conflicts. People may seek counsel from churches to choose a mate or start a family. Several research has demonstrated that faith views may affect interpersonal interactions.

Discrimination Against Religiosity

On a global basis, faith intolerance and prejudice are real problems. Countries in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and Cyprus all experience faith or other strife. Religion-based rivalry and competition are other root causes of strife. There is a battle for souls in certain areas of black Africa, as Muslims and Christians try to win over the local population. Particularly in Latin America, where indigenous tribes are already poor, dependent, and, in many instances, on the verge of extinction, New Caledonia, Fiji, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Australia, and New Zealand are all places in the South Pacific where faith conflicts are rising.

Oriental and Indological Constructions of Religion in India

According to Edward Said's definition of orientalism in his book Orientalism, it is a discourse built on the East-West divide where the West serves as the standard for determining development. It has given colonialism and its growth an intellectual foundation. By default, the East (Orient) looks to be backward and in need of "modernization," whereas the West (Occident) is considered as the reference point for development and growth.

He launched a fierce attack on the Orientalist language, which was used to justify colonial violence and plunder. It created the intellectual foundation for colonial countries' political dominance. "Orientalism refers to those specific discourses that conceptualize the Orient in a way that makes it vulnerable to administration and control.

Given this context, it is clear that British colonialists created an image of Asian India that makes India's enslavement as a colony seems natural and necessary. In order to further their wider objective of colonial control, the British performed several studies on religion in India. In this setting, Orientalism and Indology collide. The study of Indian culture and society is known as Indology. Systematic research into Indian society was necessary for administrative reasons under the British Empire.

These studies mostly relied on the textual interpretation of Indian society. However, the British used the survey approach to record Indians' cultural practices. However, Indologists considered the scriptures to be the main source of knowledge regarding the nature of Indian culture. This concept was partly created by British anthropologists who used mostly Brahmin subjects to research the native population. With the aid of neighborhood Brahmins, Indologists translated many of the sacred books.

As a result, the Brahmanical perspective served as an inspiration for the Indian interpretation of religion. An Anthropologist Among Historians and Other Essays by Bernard Cohn, published in 1987, provides a thorough explanation of the Abrahamic perspective on religion in India.

British Indologists spread their understanding of religion in India through various educational and communication channels. It is one of the timeless. The categorizing of Indian history according to the religion of the kings is one of the most well-known instances of how they have built an understanding of religion in India. The British historian James Mill classified Indian history into three broad eras: Hindu, Muslim, and British in his three-volume work A History of British India.

This periodization is problematic because it distorts perceptions of India. It is not surprising to see the religious conflicts in India as the Hindu-Muslim conflict and the religious conflict in general as a colonial construction that persists to this day, even though he did not specifically mention the British rule as a Christian period.

The oriental-Indological viewpoints are the foundation of how Indianness is constructed regarding Hindu identity. The Vedic writings were used to identify the fundamental elements of Indian religion. The variety of religious doctrines was condensed into the monolithic concept of "Hinduism." Hinduism's distinctive characteristics result from interactions between brahmins and colonial orientalists.

Conflicts Between Cultures

The use of religion as a justification for domestic and foreign wars has been common. One side of this coin is the justification for intervention, usually foreign intervention, to protect faith minorities and communities. Meanwhile, faith intolerance and prejudice are utilized to promote violence, even if this is not their stated goal. Discrimination, segregation, intolerance, prejudice, and inequality all stem from sectarian conflict, whether it be based on ethnicity or doctrine. Minority cultures face an existential danger if mainstream cultures become more accepted and incorporated into society. Under these circumstances, mandatory education is used as a tool for faith strife.

There are international and local faith mission organizations. Missionaries who work in the "home" context primarily minister to the world's impoverished, homeless, and marginalized. People from other cultures often interact with natives, who may struggle to adopt the values of the new culture. When comparing indigenous practices to the West, missionaries often use derogatory terms like "primitive" and "barbaric," which may humiliate young people into renouncing their heritage. Unfortunately, locals may start relying too much on "Western" financial and social models. The lack of education, ethnic prejudice, and experience in the market economy makes them susceptible to exploitation, poverty, illness, famine, and death.

Hostility Based on one's Religion and one's Political Affiliations

Disagreements may emerge when there is a disagreement over how much of a role religion should play in public life or when the government takes an ideological position that is opposed to religion. Condemnation, prosecution, and incarceration of faith and secular leaders might precede the seizure of holy sites and limit faith freedom. War on the domestic front or between nations is a distinct possibility. Most of the world's attention is focused on this war in places like Africa and Asia, where religion is a major political force.

Conflicts between Cultures often Centre on Sacred Sites

Jerusalem, sacred to three monotheistic cultures, is a battleground. Arabs and Muslims were outraged by Jewish digs at Masjid Sakwa (the Dome of the Rock) and Masjid Al-Aqsa. At the same time, Jews were upset that a Jordanian hotel had been erected on top of its ancient Jewish cemetery before 1967. A Christian youngster burned the Masjid Al-Aqsa, sparking a conflict. Jewish radicals want to demolish the Top of the Holy for a temple. Young Muslims have died.

Adverse Effects on Care

When an individual feels conflicted or pushed by faith matters, doubt, stress, or psychosis symptoms may be the outcome. Spiritual or faith issues may alter one's beliefs, habits, relationships, and self-image. If they believe in a punishing deity, those who doubt their religion may feel off-balance, anxious, or dread divine punishment. Some self-harm, use drugs or consider suicide.


Faith condemnation may potentially impair a person's care. Some people are victims of physical assault, which may cause post-traumatic stress and injury. The association between faith views and emotional care issues showed that the deity one worships may influence one's intellectual and emotional care. Emotional stress, paranoia, obsessions, and urges were more common in users who believed in a vengeful or furious god than a friendly or uninvolved deity. Other consequences of faith attitudes on emotional care may be demonstrated in the somewhat disputed disease known as faith trauma syndrome.

RTS might come from the experience of belonging to a dominating religion or grow as part of the effect of leaving particular faith communities. Fear, stress, flashbacks, nightmares, sudden fainting, sadness, and social dysfunction may occur. Even after leaving a religion, people often dread divine retribution and feel distressed.

Updated on: 10-Apr-2023


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