File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
The Pew research was conducted in 2019 and early 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic. The study found that nearly 97 per cent of Indians believe in God.
According to an extensive study conducted by the Pew Research Centre, 84 per cent of Indians said that to be “truly Indian”, it is very important to respect all religions.
The study, which covered 29,999 Indian adults, concluded that citizens of India are "united in the view" that respecting other religions is a very important part.
People in six major religious groups openly asserted they are "free to practice their faith" and that people of other religions are also free to practice their own religion.
The research was conducted in 2019 and early 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic. The study found that nearly 97 per cent of Indians believe in God and 80 per cent people across religious groups feel that God exists, however, one-third Buddhists said they do not believe in God.
Interestingly, the Pew research found that India’s religious groups share several religious practices and beliefs.
For example, 29 per cent Sikhs, 22 per cent Christian women and 18 per cent Muslim women wear a bindi (marking on the forehead of a married woman) although it is a Hindu symbol, with Muslims, Hindus and Christians likely to believe in Karma.
The study also found that some members of the majority Hindu community celebrate Muslim and Christian festivals.
The research further found that 48 per cent of Indian Muslims said that the Partition of the subcontinent in 1947 was a bad thing for Hindu-Muslim relations, with 74 per cent Muslims in support of access to existing Islamic courts.
As far as religious identity is concerned, nearly 72 per cent people surveyed said a person cannot be a Hindu if they eat beef, while among Muslims 77 per cent said a person cannot be a Muslim if they eat pork.
The research revealed that close friends of Indian citizens come mainly or entirely from their own religious community.
But they have a different view when it comes to inter-religious marriages. Both Hindus and Muslims are averse to interfaith marriages, with majority of respondents from both communities opposing it.