chapter  4
Religious Communities and the State in Modern India
ByTahir Mahmood
Pages 12

Asia, the largest continent on the globe, is home to nearly two-thirds of the world’s population. This is the continent that has given to the world almost all its diverse faith traditions – Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and the Baha’i faith were born in West Asia; Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism in South Asia; and the Confucian, Tao and Shinto faiths in East Asia. In the total headcount of Asians in our times, by a cautious estimate Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism have 28 per cent, 24 per cent and 18 per cent shares respectively, while followers of all the other Asian religions, including Judeo-Christian and Sino-Japanese faiths, make up the remaining 30 per cent. Country-wise, as many as 26 of the Asian states are dominated by the Muslims,1 eight of them by the Buddhists,2 two by the followers of Hinduism,3 and the remainder by those professing various other faiths.