The all India census is conducted acroos the country once in 10 years. This gives the Government a clear picture of the demographic status of different religions and hence acts as a deciding factor in getting different facilities. This proper mentioning of a person or family's religion individually helps the communities at large.
Jains Status as per Census 2001
At the national level, of 1028 million population, 4.8 million (0.4 percent) are Jains as per the 2001 Census. However, this isa misrepresentation of facts and is a number which is lesser than the actual numbers. According to many Organisations, activists Jain scholars and leaders the actual population of Jains should be atleast around 35 to 40 million. But this is not seen in the actual census data of the Government of India and is due to many reasons.
Reasons for Misrepresentation of Facts
The reasons are ignorance by the data collectors and as well as the Jains. While filling the data in the printed forms, the data collectors do not ask the religion to the respondent as they don’t follow the rule. They ‘assume’ the religion & enter the data of their choice. As most of the surnames/family names of Jains are like their other counterparts in their region, the data collectors ‘think’ that the family is Hindu, and record it as Hindu instead of Jain. On the other hand the Jains out of ignorance and lack of awareness do not insist the data collectors to make proper representation.
How can we overcome this?
This could be overcome by insisting the data collectors to record our religion as Jain instead of any other religion.
Benefits of Proper Representation
If the correct population of Jains is recorded, Government of India, All States and Union Territory Governments, Various Government Bodies, All Political Parties, Print & Electronic Media, will stop ignoring Jain community. This will give a voice to the organisations, activities and leaders
fighting for the Jain cause and help the community in getting the the much deserved rights and facilities.
Inputs from Rahul Pandya and Ashish Jain.