NEW DELHI – According to a latest study, 93 per cent Muslims hold a good opinion about Hindus as opposed to 65 per cent Hindus who view Muslims favourably, in a positive light. The study is an eye-opener about the inter-community equation in the contemporary situation where political parties can go to any length to divide the society for power.
Conducted by Pew Research Centre, a US think tank, the survey gives an insight into the extent to which the two communities have alienated from each other only.
The report, which was released by Pew Research Center on Tuesday, is based on a survey of 3,505 Indians conducted between September and October 2018. One can only imagine the intensity of the isolation between the two communities in the light of recent developments that further strained inter-community relations especially after the anti CAA/NRC movement which and Muslims being unduly blamed for the spread of coronavirus.
The report further said that “people who are members of a particular religious, racial or ethnic group had significantly more favorable views of their own group than they did of groups to which they do not adhere or belong”. For instance, 96 per cent Hindus and 98 per cent Muslims viewed their own communities positively.
While this outlook reflects on the level of self worth the communities have, the self-aggrandisement happens to be the traces the root of the alienation. A community with an egoistic attitude would find it difficult to acknowledge or appreciate others. Such an attitude in one community is bound to create schism among others.
The survey titled ‘Attitudes Toward Diversity in 11 Emerging Economies’ was conducted in Colombia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, South Africa, Tunisia, Venezuela, Vietnam, and India.
56% Hindus interacted with Muslims in India
According to the survey 70 per cent of Muslims frequently or occasionally interact with Hindus in India, while only 56 per cent Hindus interact with their Muslims counterparts.
It also noted that people who “interact more with other religious groups also tend to have more favorable opinions of them”.
Of the Hindus who said they interacted with people outside their own faith — 71 per cent had a favourable view of Muslims.
As opposed to this, just 56 per cent of Hindus, who reported infrequent contact with people of other religions, said they viewed Muslims favourably, indicating a 15 per cent difference.
Survey was conducted prior to anti-CAA protests
The report revealed that 68 per cent of the Indians surveyed said the country is “bettered” with people from different backgrounds.
Only 16 per cent said the diversity made the country a “worse” place to live, while 10 per cent said it made “no difference”.
However, in a footnote, the think tank specified that the survey was conducted in late 2018 and preceded “the new citizenship law enacted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in early 2020, as well as the ensuing sectarian violence”.
The controversial Citizenship Amendment Act or the CAA was passed in December 2019, triggering a series of protests across India in December 2019 and early January. The law was seen as being discriminatory against Muslims in the country.