Great and Little Traditions Explained!

According to the 1931 census there were ten religious groups in India. These are Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jews and other tribal and non-tribal religious groups. The census of 1961 listed only seven religious categories. Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other religious and persuasions Religions is really a complex phenomenon in India. For example, elements of Sanskritic and tribal religion are found in a mixed form at various levels. So it is the integration between the ‘great’ and little ‘traditions’. Integration of sanskritic Hindu Religion and tribal religion is also found. The santhals, for example, observe several high caste festivals. This is also the case with the lower and ‘untouchable’ castes. Some tribals worship Shiva. M.N. Srinivas writes “Different tribes are Sanskritized in different degrees, and different sections of the same tribe may be uniformly sanskritized.

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Conversion to Christianity and Islam has been a controversial issue over the past couple of decades. It is said that the members of depressed classes and tribals have converted to Christianity. Islam and Sikhism in various parts of the country; particularly in the 1920s and also after Independence. A good number of tribes have accepted. Hindu rituals and religious practices in Bihar Bengal, Assam and other areas. Thousands of Harijans have converted to Buddhims in Utter Pradesh and Maharashtra, Induced or forced conversion is certainly against the constitution of India and the law of the land. There are may be several factors responsible for change of religion; but it is certain that a number of people have changed religion to get free from religious orthodoxy.

It has been reported that minority religions show a greater percentage of literacy than majority religions. Parses, Jains, Jews and Christians have shown this pattern. With the exception of Christians, these communities are also more engaged in trade and business than Hindus and Muslims. A study reveals that the Parses, Jews and Jains are ‘advanced’ in business, thought not diversified. Hindus and Muslims have a diversified occupational patter because of their large numbers and spread all over the country. The minority groups are found in specific regions, sub-regions and cities and therefore find themselves in an advantageous position. Syrian Christians, Mogles, Parses and some other groups have been benefited because of their strategic location in Kerala and Maharashtra.

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