Minority Communities in India
According to the constitution of India, two types of communities are considered as Minority Communities in the country. First one is Religious Minority community and second one is Linguistic Minority community.
Here is a brief introduction to the religious and linguistic minority communities in India, and their constitutional rights.
Religious Minority Communities in India
Followers of all the religions except Hinduism are considered as In religious minorities on national and state level. This includes following religions:
Apart from above major religious communities in India, there are small numbers of Jews and Bahais.
Religious minorities get special benefits, especially in the field of education and educational institutions. Minority communities can establish their own educational institutions, and can reserve 50% seats of the students for own community members. In addition, they can recruit 100% staff from their own community.
Beside this, scholarships and other help is offered to minority students by Central and state Governments. Business loans with a very low interest is also offered to young entrepreneurs from minority communities. There is a 15 point development program for minorities from the Prime Minister of India.
Jains were not in the list in spite of their small population. But after demand and petitions from the community, they were declared as a minority community by Central Government.
In few states, Hindus are considered as minority community as their population is lesser than the mainstream community there.
Linguistic Minority Communities in India
Linguistic minorities are those who have different first language than the first language of majority of the people in that state. Thus, for example, Gujarati speaking people living in Maharashtra are linguistic minorities in Maharashtra and Marathi speaking people living in Gujarat are linguistic minorities in Gujarat. Such minority communities enjoy some special benefits in that state, especially in educational fields.
The Minority Commission of India
In India, there are Minority commissions on national and state levels. The commissions look into various matters related to minorities.
Central Government of India established The Minority Commission of India under National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. The Commission is a constitutional body and has a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson and 5 members.
Besides The Minority Commission of India, there are State Minority Commissions in following states of India: Andhra Pradesh , Assam , Bihar, Chattisgarh, Delhi , Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Contribution of Religious Minorities in Nation Building
The religious minorities have contributed a lot in nation building. This contribution is very higher than their population. Just to mention here, I would like to say that the Jains and Parasis have worked a lot in Industrialization of India and they have also worked for spread of education. Christians have worked in the fields of education and humanitarian services. Sikhs have contributed a lot in the fields of defense, agriculture and business. Muslims also have contributes a lot in various fields, especially film Industry, music etc.
Muslim community is the biggest minority community in India, comprising 14.23% of total population of India according to 2011 census of India. They are found various fields including politics, film industry, business and industry, armed forces, sports etc. A major part of this community is economically and educationally backward. However, majority is of middle class people in this community.
Famous Muslims of India includes Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (One of the great leaders in freedom movement), APJ Abdul Kalam (Scientist and former President of India), Salim Ali (ornithologist and naturalist), Dilip Kumar, Nasaruddin Shah, Salman Khan, Sharukh Khan, Aamir Khan (all film actors), Havaldar Abdul Hamid (Recipient of Paramvir Chakra, the highest Gallantry Award in Armed Forces), Azim Premji (Industrialist, philanthropist and one of the richest persons in India) and many more. .
Christians is the second largest minority community in India. Their population is 2.3% in the total population of India, according to 2011 Census. They are spread all over India, but concentrated in North Eastern State, Kerala, Goa etc. They are mostly middle class and lower middle class people. Like Muslims, they are found in various fields of life, but they are best known for their work in educational and healthcare field.
The famous Christians of India includes Pandita Ramabai (Missionary), Mother Teresa (Missionary, Humanitarian), Sonia Gandhi (Politician), Mahesh Bhupati (Tennis Player), John Abraham (Actor) etc.
Sikhs are known as brave people. They are spread all over India, but concentrated in the states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir. They are largely in business & Industry, Farming, Armed Forces, Police etc.
Famous Sikhs include Bhagat Singh (Revolutionary), Gyani Zail Singh (Former President of India), Manmohan Singh (Former Prime Minister of India), Milkha Sigh (Athlete), Abhinav Bindra (Olympian), Dara Singh (Wrestler & Actor), Dharmendra, Sunny Deol (Actors)
There are two types of Buddhists in India. One is Ancient Buddhists who are found mainly in North Easter states and Ladakh. The other type is the Neo-Buddhists which are mainly the Dalits who adopted Buddhism. They are spread all over India.
The most famous Indian Buddhists include Rahul Sankrutyayan and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.
It is a micro-minority community, mere 0.37% in the total population of India. But the is very effective. Mostly they are in Trade, Business and Industry, as well as in the education field, administration, politics and social welfare.
The famous Jains include Premchand Roychand (Founder, Mumbai Stock Exchange), V. Shantaram (One of the pioneers of Indian film industry), Karmveer Bhaurao Patil (Educationalist), Dr. Vikram Sarabhai (Scientist, founder of ISRO -Indian Space Research Organization), Osho.
More about Jains: The Structure of Jain Community
Parsis have a very small population in India. They are only few thousands. But their contribution to the development of India is tremendous. They have given great freedom fighters, industrialists, philanthropists, army officers, professionals, educationalist etc.
Some of the well known Parsis include Dadabhai Nauroji, Madama Kama (Leader of freedom movement), Jamshedji Tata, JRD Tata (Industrialists), Homi Bhabha, Homi Sethna (Nuclear Scientist), Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw (Chief of Army Staff, who was the greatest hero of 1971 Bangla Desh liberation war).
You may like to read more about this community at: The Parsi Community of India
- The Parsi Community of India
An Introduction to Parsi Community and Some Famous Parsis of India. The Parsi Community of India is a micro-minority community of India. According to 2001 Census of India report, the population of Parsis in India was just 69600. It was about 112000 i
- The Structure of Jain Community
Like the religion, the followers of Jainism are also misunderstood. Most of the people think that followers of Jainism are mostly business people, and that too from Gujarat and Rajasthan, two states of western India. This article tells you about ethn
- Future of Buddhism in India
But it is a sad thing that the spread of Buddhism in India is not satisfactory as it is suffering from many limitations. The notable thing is that about 80% of the people who have adopted Buddhism are from Maharashtra, the home state of Dr. Babasaheb
- Christianity in India: Early History
A brief history of Christianity in India. Christianity entered in India 52AD and was well established by 2nd Century AD. Interesting fact is that Christianity was established in India before Europe.
- Jews in India
An introduction to the interested history of Jew Community of India, their history and some of the famous Indian Jews.
- The Khatri Community of India
Khatri is a prominent community of India, dominant in various walks of life. Here is a wide ranging information on the achievements by individuals of this community.
© 2011 Mahaveer Sanglikar