Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions







          The Population of Jainas in India according to the 1981 Census is only 32,06,038 in the total population of India of 66,52,87,849. The distribution of population of India, as per 1981 Census of India, among the major religious communities and their percentage to total population is given in Table No. 1.




Sl.     Major Religious Communities               Population             Percentage

No.                                                                                          to total



1.      Hindus                                             54,97,79,481               82.64

2.      Muslims                                             7,55,12,439               11.35

3.      Christians                                           1,61,65,447                 2.43

4.      Sikhs                                                  1,30,78,146                 1.96

5.      Buddhists                                               47,19,796                 0.71

6.      Jainas                                                     32,06,038                0.48



          From the above Table it is evident that from the point of view of population the Jaina Community is the smallest among the six major religious communities of India. Since the Jaina population is only about 32 lakhs, the Jainas are only 0.48 percent in the total population of India. It means that out of 10,000 persons in India only 48 are Jainas.



1Census Of India, 1981 : Series 1-India : Paper 3 of 1984 on �Household Population by Religion of Head of Household�, p. vii and viii.


          In fact this figure of 32 lakhs of Jaina population in 1981 is much larger than the corresponding figures recorded in the last ten Census Reports of India. The total Jaina population figures as per Census Reports of India from 1891 to 1981 are given in Table No. 2.




Census Year                                                      Total Jaina Population in India


          1891                                                                              14,16,177

          1901                                                                              13,34,039

          1911                                                                              12,48,182

          1921                                                                              11,78,596

          1931                                                                              12,52,105

          1941                                                                              14,49,286

          1951                                                                              16,18,406

          1961                                                                              20,27,248

          1971                                                                              26,04,646

          1981                                                                              32,06,038



          From the above Table it could be seen that even though the Jaina population of 1981 shows a considerable increase over the Jaina population of 1891, stilt the increase has not been continuous through Out these years. On the contrary we find a decline in Jaina population from 1891 to 1921 and that in general there has been a steady and continuous increase in Jaina population from 1931 to 1981. These variations in terms of percentage increase or decrease during each decade over the last 90 years are given in Table No. 3.


          These figures of total Jaina population do not, however, portray the real demographic situation about the Jainas since in the census records all Jainas are not enumerated as Jainas for different reasons. Even though Jainism is a distinct religion and not a sect of Hinduism,




Decade                                                      Percentage Increase or Decrease

                                                                             in Jaina Population


1891-1901                                                                   -        5.8   per cent.

1901-1911                                                                   -        6.4   per cent.

1911-1921                                                                   -        5.6   per cent.

1921-1931                                                                   +       6.2   per cent.

1931-1941                                                                   +       15.8 per cent.

1941-1951                                                                   +       11.7 per cent.

1951-1961                                                                   +       25.3 per cent.

1961-1971                                                                   +       28.5 per cent.

1971-1981                                                                   +       23.7 per cent.



still it is a. fact that in the past many Jainas used to regard themselves as Hindus and were also regarded by others as Hindus. That is why specific instructions were issued to the census enumerators that �the Jainas should be entered as Jainas and not as Hindus, even though they themselves regard themselves as such�. Hence on some occasions more and on others less Jainas were incorrectly returned as Hindus. At the same time the converse case of Hindus being returned as Jainas in census records did not possibly occur. Thus this fact that the Jainas regard themselves and are regarded as Hindus necessarily vitiates the census figures and obscures the increase or decrease of the Jaina population from census to census. Again, as a part of the programme of non-cooperation movement launched by Mahatma Gandhiji, the Jainas boycotted the census operations of 1931. Naturally this affected to a very large extent the figures about Jainas in the Census Report of 1931. Due to these reasons incorrect enumeration has always remained as a dominant factor in the census figures of Jainas. But the situation is showing definite improvement as a result of change in the attitude of the Jainas towards themselves. The tendency among the Jainas to regard themselves as Hindus was very prominently noticeable among the Jainas from the beginning of this century and that is why there was a continuous decline in the Jaina population during the decades from 1891 to 1921. This tendency has been largely overcome by various methods adopted during the last sixty years by the Jainas with a view to reorganize their community. This is clearly visible from the census figures of 1941 and 1951. After Independence there has been a great religious awakening among the Jainas and now-a-days the Jainas definitely regard themselves as Jainas and not as Hindus. This situation is clearly reflected in the census figures of 1961 and 1971. During 1951 to 1961 the Jaina population increased by 25.26 per cent and in the next decade of 1961 to 1971 it registered an increase of 28.48 per cent. Inspite of this increase during the last few decades, the Jainas are still sceptical about the reliability of census figures pertaining to them as they believe that the census enumerators do not, for political and other reasons, correctly record the religion of the Jainas even though the census authorities have issued instructions to the census enumerators �to record the religion as actually returned by a respondent�.1