Two studies show there may be a paradigm shift taking place in India on the subject of religious tolerance. The 2017 Pew Research Center study, “Social hostilities involving religions around the world,” found India to be among the countries with the worst record of social hostilities against religion, with only Syria, Nigeria and Iraq ranking lower.
However, a study released June 13 in the Journal of Child Development found young people to be far more tolerant than those currently in power.
The study involved 63 children in Gujarat, India, a region with a history of intense religious violence. In the study, Muslim and Hindu children age 9 to 15 were shown vignettes in which Hindus and Muslims were depicted violating their own and the other’s religious mores. Both Hindu and Muslim youth were tolerant of members of the other religion violating their own religious norms.
But 67 percent of the youngsters thought it was not okay for a Hindu to violate a Hindu norm such as eating beef. Only 9 percent thought it was unacceptable for a Hindu to violate a Muslim norm or a Muslim to violate a Hindu norm.