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Islam Essay #3.docx

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Boston College
HIST 1059
Prasannan Parthasarathi

Chantz Delgado Essay #2 th February 24 , 2012 Religious Effect of a Census According to the excerpt, “Religious Identity and the Indian Census” by Kenneth Jones, the census indicates that modern religious identity is not natural but rather constructed. The census was created to provide data for a foreign government, but it served as a document of statistics that are important to political power. It developed into a source of political power because of the realization that the census officials had pertaining to the importance of religion.As the inclusion of religion in the census progressed, religious conflicts and competition expanded within the census. Many religious sectors did not want to characterize themselves with the broader term for their faith. For instance, “In the year 1890 and 1891Arya Samaj newspapers instructed their followers to write ‘Arya’in place of ‘Hindu’in the religion column of the 1891 census questionnaires. At the same time, they pressured the census officials to accept and record this change in religion. In this way, they hoped to use the census to establish and legitimize their own vision of their own religion (Pg. 87).” In other words, many religious sectors were using the census to separate their group from other religious groups to further their political importance. The idea is that as one religion diminishes, another one is formed. In this case, the Hindu’s lost a small section of their followers according to the census because theArya decided to associate themselves separately from them.As a result, the Hindu’s lost political power.Additionally, Hindu’s are worried about the Muslim’s rise to power. The religious sects constantly kept an eye on each other through the census and it is evident
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