TODAY -

Religious Landscape in Manipur
- Part 1 -

Prof RK Narendra Singh *



Composition of Hindu population is reducing faster than it had in the previous decades, and Hindu is no more majority religion in Manipur.

Religion survives for the people but the people live, not for religion. Nonetheless, Karl Marx’s view on religion ? Religion is the opiate of the people ? is quite pertinent sometimes in this global conflict of religious strain which is quite contradict to the objectives of any kinds of religion. Well the present write up is meant neither for any sort of religion tone/color nor religious rhetoric but capturing the throbbing religious landscape in Manipur through the lens of demographer. The analysis is based on secondary data of census publications (Manipur) on religion and allied one.

The Census data on religion under the caption of Population by Religious Community-2011 has been published by the Registrar General of Commissioners, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India on August 25, 2015 that signposts an exhaustive vital demographic information on the composition of religious community for the entire country in general and for the district/tehsil/UA/city/town level in particular.

The Indian Census has been publishing information about the religious affiliations of the people of India in the form of religion tables after every decennial census ever since of its inception. This time the publication is very late which was expected sometime in 2014 while in 2001 census, data on religion came in 2004. Anyway, this information has generated interest among scholars, administrators and laymen as well. Besides it is so vital especially for population planers and executors for future population planning and implementation.

The table provides absolute number of the followers of six main religions i.e., Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain with other two affiliations i.e., Other religions and persuasions, and Religion not stated. The table/appendix further offers population details of important sects/beliefs/persuasions that have been grouped under the main religious communities at India/state/district level if population of such sects/beliefs at the national level exceeds 100.

Appendix provides at national/state/district level, the names and population of religions under Other Religions & Persuasions. Those followers of others sects/beliefs/persuasions other than the six main religions, and the followers of unclassified sects/ beliefs/persuasions have been clubbed under Other religions and persuasions group while the number of persons who did not report their religion at the time of census belong to Religion not stated group.

There are separate tables of Census data on religion viz., C-1 Annexure - Details of Sects/Beliefs/Religions clubbed under Specific Religious Community ; C - 1 Appendix - Details of religious communities shown under ‘Other religions and persuasions’ in main table C-1; and many more which yet to be published providing state and district-wise details of sects/beliefs/religions of followers. It includes all the religions/sects/ beliefs/persuasions reported while in Census enumeration.

For instance, in 2001 census there were 15 such religions/sects/beliefs/persuasions in Manipur under Specific Religious Community. They were Baishnav/Vaishnav, Buddhist, Catholic, Christian, Ghasidas/Satnam/Satnami, Hindu, Islam/Muslim, Jain, Kabir Panthi, Lingayat/Veer Shaiva, Meitei, Protestant, Sanatan Dharma, Shakta, and Sikh. Besides, in the same census year, there were 35 such religions/sects/beliefs/persuasions under ‘Other religions and persuasions’ in Manipur.

They were Animist, Apo Rangang, Bahai/Bahais, Chang Naga, Chimprai, Dongi, Doni Polo/Sidonyi Polo, Haokip, Heraka, Jews/Judaism, Kaman/Miju Mishmi/Kaman Mishmi/Miju, Karbi/Mikir, Khadia/Kharia, Khasi, Kheduala, Marangboro, Maring, Miri/Mishing, Mizo, Muria, Naga, Non- Christians, Pagan, Parsi/Zoroastrian, Rang, Rangang, Rongmei, Rongrang/Tangsa Rongrang, Sanamahi (2,22,348), Songsarek, Tadvi, Tangsa Tikhak/Tikhak, Traditional Religion, Tribal Religion and Yumasam.

As data speaks more than a thousand words, the census data on religion of Manipur state depict many insightful indices of demographic scenario of the state with dreadful consequences. It is a high time to understand the pulse, language, phonology and semantic of the data especially on Population by Religious Community-2011, what actually it speaks to you, lamenting to everybody otherwise it might be too obsolete.

Religion composition:

According to Census of India: 2011, of the 2855794 people in Manipur there were 1181876 (41.39%) Hindus, 239836 (8.40%) Muslims, 1179043 (41.29%) Christians, 1527 (.05%) Sikhs, 7084 (.25%) Buddhists, 1692 (.06%) Jains, 233767 (8.19%) Other religions and 10969 (.38%) Religion not stated. In 1951, the respected percentages were 60.13, 6.44, 11.84, .01, .01, .03, 21.55 and no report for Religion not stated. Now in 2011, Hindu and Christian had the highest religion composition in the state with a same percentage of around 41% each which was followed by Muslim and Other Religions & Persuasions with around 8% each; and remaining religions viz., Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, and Religion note stated had less than 1% each population composition in the state. Out of the six Indian major religion groups and others two groups ?

Other religions and persuasions, and Religion not stated only two religious communities viz., Hindu and Christian occupied more than 80% while the remaining less than 20% occupied by the others minorities communities out of which Muslim shared around 8%. Hindu and Christian communities almost equally shared in 2011, but this rendezvous happen as, during the last 60 years, Hindu population composition declined from 60.13% to 41.39%, and other religions from 21.55% to 8.19% as against Christian population composition increased at a faster rate from 11.84% to 41.29% and Muslim from 6.44% to 8.40%.

The gap of population composition between Hindu and Christian was narrowing faster as it was 48.29% in 1951 and only 0.10% in 2011. The Christian community could definitely leftovers its counterpart the Hindu community after 2011.

Table-1
Religion-wise comparison of population composition (%) during 1951-2011
Religion    Population composition (%)


Religion 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2011
Hindu 60.13 61.68 58.97 60.04 57.67 46.01 41.39
Christian 11.84 19.49 26.03 29.68 34.11 34.04 41.29
Muslim 6.44 6.23 6.62 6.99 7.27 8.81 8.40
Sikh .01 .07 .10 .07 .07 .08 .05
Buddhist .01 .04 .05 .03 .04 .09 .25
Jain .03 .10 .13 .07 .07 .07 .06
Others 21.55 - - 2.50 .77 10.86 8.19
Not stated - 12.39 .36 .62 .00 .05 .38
Total 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00


To be continued..


* Prof RK Narendra Singh wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
The author is Professor and Head of Biostatistics, RIMS, Imphal.
This article was posted on September 16, 2015.


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