Data | People in South India are far more liberal in matters of religion and nationalism: survey
About 75% of Hindus residing in southern India said they would accept a Muslim as a neighbour — a stark contrast to all other parts of India
People in the South of India tend to be more religiously integrated and less opposed to interreligious marriages, data from a nationwide survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre show. Though people from the southern States are equally, if not more, religious than citizens in other parts, relatively fewer of them consider theirs to be the “one true religion”. For instance, 62% of people from the South go to places of worship at least once a week, which is more than the share in Central, Eastern, Western and Northeastern parts. About 57% wore religious pendants, higher than all regions except Central India (58%). However, only 37% of them, the least among regions, thought it was important to stop women in their community from marrying into another religion.
The southerners were more liberal when it came to dietary restrictions. Relatively fewer of them considered a person to be not Hindu if they eat beef, or a person to be not Muslim if they consume pork. People from the South also had more “close friends” from outside their religion and caste circles compared to persons from other parts of India. About 75% of Hindus residing in southern India said they would accept a Muslim as a neighbour — a stark contrast to all other parts of India. Importantly, education played a role in people’s religious beliefs. Religious opinions of the college-educated varied sharply from those who did not attend college.
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Methodology | Pew interviewed 29,999 individuals across 29 States and UTs. Persons from all major religions, speaking at least 17 different languages across all age groups (excluding children), were included in the sample. The survey was conducted between November 17, 2019, and March 23, 2020.