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Person who eats beef is not Hindu, say majority of Hindus in Pew study

The survey finds that nearly four-in-ten Indian adults say they are vegetarian.

June 30, 2021 / 05:07 PM IST
Representative (Image: AP)

Representative (Image: AP)


A person who eats beef cannot be a Hindu, say 72 percent of Hindus surveyed across the country, according to a recent study by Pew Research Center.

Pew Research Centre, a Washington D.C based nonpartisan think-tank conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis, and data-driven social science research.

Hindus consider cows as sacred and have religious sentiments and beliefs associated with them. Hence slaughter and consumption is not socially and religiously accepted by the majority.

Not just Hindus, but even 82 percent of Sikhs and 85 percent of Jains surveyed too said that a person who eats beef cannot be a member of their religious groups. Likewise, 77 percent of Muslims in India believe that a person cannot be a Muslim if one eats pork.

The 'Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation' survey interviewed 29,999 Indian adults--including 22,975 who identify as Hindu, Muslim (3,336), Sikh (1,782 ), Christian (1,011), Buddhist (719), Jain (109 ), and 67 people belonging to other religion or as religiously unaffiliated. Face-to-face interviews were conducted under the direction of RTI International from November 17, 2019, to March 23, 2020.

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The survey finds that nearly four-in-ten Indian adults say they are vegetarian. About 44 percent of Hindus and 92 percent of Jains identify themselves as vegetarians.

Similarly, 42 percent of Indians surveyed said they are not vegetarian but abstain from eating meat on certain days and/or abstain from eating certain meats, including three-in-ten who follow both of these restrictions.

“Attitudes toward beef appear to be part of a regional and cultural divide among Hindus: Southern Indian Hindus are considerably less likely than others to disqualify beef eaters from being Hindu (50 percent vs. 83 percent in the Northern and Central parts of the country),” the report states.

Dietary laws in India play a central role in affirming religious identity. People associating religious identity with the consumption of specific meat with their respective faiths is larger compared to other practices establishing religious identity. For instance, only 49 percent of Hindus say one cannot be Hindu if they do not believe in God or never go to a temple (48 percent). Similarly, 60 percent of Muslims say a person cannot be Muslim if they do not believe in God or never attend mosque (61 percent).

In addition, fasting is also an important facet of religious observance in India. Most Indian adults say they fast: Hindus (79 percent), Jains (84 percent), Muslims (85 percent) Christians (64 percent), and Buddhists 61 percent). While Sikhs have the lowest rate of fasting at 28 percent.



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first published: Jun 30, 2021 01:55 pm
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