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Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 231.

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X.A.1 and 2. Religious Composition, 1931 and 1961; Displaced Persons, 1951

Each of these two plates portrays on a single map the pat- tern of admixture of the major religious communities as enu- merated at the district level, either in 1931 (X.A.1) or in 1961 (X.A.2). (Followers of tribal religions are here lumped to- gether as a single group.) To facilitate comparisons between the two maps, identical legends are provided. Any religion ac- counting for more than 10% of the population of a given dis- trict in either 1931 or 1961 or both is represented in that dis- trict on the appropriate map(s). Each religion making up from 10% to 90% of the population is shown by a bar symbol of a particular color, the width of each bar indicating its share in the total district population. Where a given religion accounts for more than 90% of a district's population, that district ap- pears in a solid color, a dotted pattern being added when the proportion exceeds 99%. For the distribution of each specific religion in itself, especially in districts where it accounts for less than 10% but more than 1% of the population, one should refer to plates X.A.3–7. The tables accompanying the maps indicate statistically the distribution of religions by major ad- ministrative divisions in 1931 and 1961.

If one characterizes as religiously "homogeneous" those areas of South Asia where religious minorities in the aggregate do not total as much as 10% of the population or, conversely, where a single religion accounts for at least 90%, one is struck by the fact that a relatively small fraction of the total area mapped can be so described in 1931, whereas a substantially larger proportion of the whole, roughly half, can be consid- ered homogeneous in 1961. Among the several factors making for this change, the most important by far were the exodus of millions of Hindus and Sikhs from what in 1947 became Paki- stan and the counterpart movement of Muslims from what remained of India. Not only were religious minorities reduced, then, in the two newly independent states, but the predomi- nance of the majority communities was reinforced by the in- flowing refugee streams. At the same time, areas of near-parity in the strengths of Muslim and non-Muslim groups, which characterized significant portions of Punjab and Bengal as of 1931, had been eliminated in Punjab by the time of the 1961 censuses and drastically reduced in Bengal.

To attain an idea of the magnitude and regional impact of the population transfers consequent on partition, one may re- fer to maps (b) and (c) of plate X.A.2, which show the pro- portions of displaced persons in various parts of India and Pakistan relative to the total 1951 population. Regrettably, the areal reporting units of the Indian and Pakistani censuses of that year are not wholly comparable. In particular, one can- not derive as precise a picture as one would wish for Pakistan concerning the source areas of displaced persons from India. It may safely be asserted, however, that the great majority of those leaving the so-called Northwestern and Eastern Zones of India were from East Punjab and West Bengal, respectively, while those of the Northern Zone were predominantly from Uttar Pradesh, with Delhi also significantly represented. The displaced population accounted for in these two maps exceeds fourteen and a half million persons. (Data for Jammu and Kashmir, not enumerated in 1951, are unavailable.) Not accounted for are the untold thousands of victims killed in communal disturbances related to partition. Of these, many perished before they could flee their homes, while others died of violent or natural causes en route to either India or Pakistan. Further, the data of our map exclude persons who died in ref- ugee camps or in their new homes before 1951. Although the precise total of such individuals will never be ascertained, we would estimate the number of partition-related deaths as sev- eral hundred thousand. Also not accounted for in maps (b) and (c) are the continuing streams of people moving between India and Pakistan after 1951. The number of persons involved could well be several millions; but because the total includes, in addition to Hindus and others, numerous Muslims leaving overcrowded East Pakistan to become illegal squatters in As- sam and other areas of northeastern India, an accurate count cannot be expected. Moreover, the number of deaths within the total group of displaced persons over the period since 1947 would by 1961 have been such as to make it exceedingly diffi- cult to determine the aggregate number leaving either India or Pakistan. For additional detailed information on displaced per- sons, the reader may consult plate X.A.4, map (f), which in- dicates their proportion of the total population in India and Pakistan, at both the state or provincial and district level, as of 1951. For the locales of communal disturbances pre- and postpartition, see plates VIII.C.2 and IX.D.1 respectively. For more detailed data (at the subdistrict/tahsil level) on the dis- tribution of major communities in Bengal and Punjab as of 1941, one may consult plate VIII.D.1.

Returning, then, to the two principal maps, we note that whereas in 1931 only the essentially tribal areas of what was to become West Pakistan—that is, the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan—were homogeneously Muslim in 1931, virtually the entire region could be so classified in 1961. Relative changes in the much more densely populated area of East Pakistan were much less striking; there, even as late as 1961, only a single district appears as homogeneously Muslim. A final noteworthy area of homogeneously Muslim population, both in 1931 and 1961, is in the Indian-held "Vale" region of Jammu and Kashmir state. (Were data available, it is certain that the Pakistani-held portion of the state would also be shown as almost solidly Muslim in 1961.)

Areas that are homogeneously Hindu are significantly more extensive in 1961 than in 1931. Apart from Western Nepal (for which 1931 data are lacking), these areas lie entirely within the post-1947 area of India, for the most part in hilly or mountainous regions or near the extremities of the subcon- tinent in southern peninsular India and eastern Assam. By and large, those are areas in which Muslim inroads, whether by conquest, settlement, or proselytism, were never very great. The changes in pattern between 1931 and 1961, however, have relatively little to do with Muslim emigration from India, since only in Punjab (where the joint Sikh-Hindu presence precludes religious homogeneity) was the flight of refugees on a scale comparable to that of non-Muslims from West Pakistan. Rather, the apparent spread of areas of homogeneously Hindu population stems largely from counting as Hindus in 1961 large numbers of aborigines who in 1931 would presumably have been enumerated as adhering to tribal religions. In prac- tice the line between the latter and much of folk Hinduism is by no means clear and, while the general trend is undoubtedly toward assimilating tribal peoples within the Hindu fold, one may doubt that the real change from 1931 to 1961 was as great as the mapped data suggest. (The data indicating a growth of Christianity within the largely tribal regions, on the other hand, are presumably less biased on the whole, because the radical change to that faith leaves less margin for error in interpreta- tion of responses to the census question on religion.)

There is one major area of India, western Maharashtra, where a homogeneously Hindu pattern in 1931 gives way in 1961 to one that is nonhomogeneous. In that region and in most of the rest of the state the relative decline in the Hindu population has a single, clear-cut cause: the dramatic rise of Buddhism owing to the conversion to that faith, in and after 1956, of several million persons, overwhelmingly drawn from the formerly untouchable caste of Mahars (cf. maps X.A.5 (g) and (h) and X.A.8 (d)).

Areas that are homogeneously Buddhist are very extensive in the central heartland of Burma in 1931 (and are presumably comparably extensive in that country in the post-independence period for which Burmese data are not given). But in predomi- nantly Buddhist Ceylon, only in the Southern Province were Buddhists found to exceed 90% of the total population. This they did in both 1931 and 1961.

Among the remaining religions considered on plates X.A.1 and 2, Sikhism, Christianity, and "Others" (essentially tribal in most areas), concentrations at the district level in excess of 75% of the total population, either in 1931 or 1961, are ex- ceedingly rare. The ingathering of Sikhs, largely from West Pakistan, to create a compact area in East Punjab, which is largely over 50% Sikh, is noteworthy, however, as is the aforementioned growth of Christianity among tribal peoples in northeastern India.


Ceylon, Census (1921), (1946), (1953), (1963); India, Cen- sus (1931), (1951), (1961); Nepal, Census (1961); Pakistan, Census (1951), (1961).

X.A.3–6. Distribution of: Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, and Jews, 1931 and 1961; Sikhs and Christians, 1901, 1931, and 1961; Sects/Denominations of Specified Religions; Displaced Persons, 1951; Europeans and Eurasians, 1931

The group of four map plates, the contents of which are in- dicated in the above heading, largely provides an amplification of the data mapped in plates X.A.1 and 2. The maps not only provide a clearer idea of the changing distributions of each of the religions cited in isolation from the others, but also add detail for those areas where that religion comprised less than 10% but more than 1% of the population. For all religions other than Hindus and Muslims, a large fraction, if not the entirety, of the membership is accounted for in such areas. The quantitative census data relating to the several religious groups and the maps derived from them obviate the need for detailed additional commentary here. For certain key points, however, the reader is referred to the preceding discussion. The observa- tions in the paragraphs below, then, relate mainly to matters that cannot be discerned from plates X.A.1 and 2 and the accompanying text.

With respect to the two main religious groups of South Asia —Hindus and Muslims—one is struck in perusing plates X.A.3 or 4 by the near ubiquity of each group, especially in the pre- independence period. Leaving aside Burma, in large portions of which (especially the tribal areas) adherents of neither faith are present in significant numbers, one notes that in 1931 Hin- dus constituted at least 1% of the population throughout the whole of South Asia save in several thinly settled tribal tracts of Baluchistan and trans-Himalayan Ladakh. (It is probable, too, that they were then virtually absent from those areas of the North-West and North-East Frontiers for which data are missing.) Even after the mass movements attending partition, Hindus were an important element of the population through- out East Pakistan and remained in significant numbers (i.e., more than 1% of the population) throughout Sind and por- tions of Baluchistan in West Pakistan. Muslims in 1931 were significantly represented in all parts of South Asia except cer- tain largely tribal tracts of northeastern India, the central Hima- layan region, and, among lowland regions, two districts along the Bay of Bengal. The only additional area from which they were virtually absent in 1961 was the greater part of what was then the Indian state of Punjab. At the same time they had improved their relative position in the population of a number of Indian districts to the north and east of East Pakistan, a region to which substantial emigration of Bengali Muslims had long been directed. The degree to which displaced persons contributed to the total proportions of Muslims and non- Muslims in Pakistan and India respectively in the post-inde- pendence period can be seen on map X.A.4 (f), discussed above in conjunction with the text for X.A.2 (b), which also deals with displaced persons.

Map (e) of plate X.A.3, showing the generalized distribu- tion of Hindu sects, must be interpreted with caution. Some of the necessary caveats are indicated in the map legend itself. There are no reliable statistics on the sectarian affiliations of most Hindus, and it is probable that for most adherents to Hinduism the question of such affiliation has little meaning. Nevertheless, while a sense of exclusive identification with a particular sect does not appear to be characteristic of popular Hinduism, it is known that certain regions incline more toward Shaivism on the one hand or Vaishnavism on the other (i.e., to devotion centered on the worship of Shiva and Vishnu re- spectively), to take the two most widely practiced forms of Hinduism. Further, within such broad regions are smaller re- gions in which a particular sectarian group is significantly rep- resented, even though its membership may be drawn mainly or even solely from a particular segment of the Hindu popula- tion. Groups regarded as essentially Vaishnavite, (e.g., the Sri Vaishnava sect) it must be noted, may well be represented in predominantly Shaivite areas and vice versa. Other sects may be regarded as neither one nor the other. The Shakti cult, en- tailing worship of the Mother Goddess in one or another of her many forms, is closer in spirit to Shaivism than to Vaishna- vism and is very widespread in India and thus worthy of spe- cial mention. It must be noted, however, that its prevalence is indicated on the map only where it is deemed to have a par- ticularly strong hold on the population. In closing, it is impor- tant to observe that the number of sects within Hinduism con- tinues to grow and is so great that one map cannot begin to do justice to depicting their regional presence. The quantitative data of the censuses bearing on these sects is meager at best, totally lacking for many areas, and confined almost entirely to the period ending with the census of 1931. On map X.A.3 (e), a number of small, recently founded, but highly influen- tial sects, are omitted. For details on their distribution, found- ing dates, and regional impact the reader is referred to plate VIII.C.1, "Religious Revival and Reform Movements."

The caveats about inadequacy of data for Hindu sects also apply, though to a less marked degree, to sects within Islam. Though 1931 census data on Muslim sects are available for much of India, subsequent data are almost totally lacking. Nevertheless, the general preponderance of orthodox Sunnis over heterodox Shiahs throughout all but a few areas of South Asia is so well established that statistics on the subject are vir- tually superfluous, while in a few exceptional areas (e.g., Gu- jarat) where significant (and highly influential) Shiah minor- ities are present, even the 1931 data suffice for our purposes. Elsewhere, most notably in Afghanistan, one must rely on monographic descriptions in any attempt to portray the areas of Shiah importance. Among other minority sects, Ahmadiyas, because of their following among an influential, highly urban- ized segment of the Pakistani population, are worthy of note. No figures on their strength are as yet available, but the total is small. The heterodox views of the sect are such that it has been the object of a certain amount of social oppression, and in 1974 it was officially declared a non-Muslim minority by the Pakistani National Assembly. For details on recent social dis- turbances directed at Ahmadiyas and on Sunni-Shiah clashes, one may consult plate IX.D.1, map (a).

Plate X.A.5 deals with the distribution at various dates of three historically important, but numerically relatively minor, indigenous Indian religions—Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism —which collectively account for only a few percent of South Asia's population (if we exclude Burma from consideration).

Because of their remarkable mobility and their rapid growth in the 20th century, we have mapped the distribution of Sikhs at three different census dates—1901, 1931, and 1961. One

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