Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions






          Taking the census figures as they stand, it can be safely stated that the Jaina population has been steadily increasing during the last fifty years and that this increase has been quite noticeable in the last two decades of 1951 to 1961 and 1961 to 1971. The percentage increase of Jainas during 1971 to 1981 compares very favorably with the corresponding increase in the other religious communities as given in Table No. 42


          From these figures it is evident that the percentage increase of the Jainas during 1971-81 was less than that of the Hindus, the Sikhs and tile Muslims, but it was more than that of the Buddhists and the, Christians.


          Regarding the steady increase in Jaina population it may be further noted that this increase is not at all due to the conversion of persons of other faiths to Jainism as proselytising activities are practically


1.      Census of India, 1971: Series 1 - India; Paper 2 of 1972 on �Religion�, p. xiii.


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





Major Religious                                                           Percentage Increase

Communities                                                                         1971-1981


          Hindus                                                                           24.15

          Muslims                                                                         30.59

          Christians                                                                      16.77

          Sikhs                                                                             26.15

          Buddhists                                                                      22.52

          Jainas                                                                            23.69



conspicuous by their absence among the Jainas during the last many centuries.


          It is true that the population of Jainas in 1981 (32,06,038) increased by 126.3 per cent over the Jaina population in 1891 (14,16,177), but still we find that at present the proportion of Jaina population to total population of India is less than what it was in 1891. The proportion of Jainas per 10,000 of the total population in India during the last 10 Censuses is given in Table No. 5.


          From the above Table it is clear that the Jaina community now stands at 0.48 per cent of the total population of India instead of 0.49 per cent in 1891. In other words per 10,000 of the total population of India, the proportion of Jainas was 49 in 1891 and 48 in 1981. It means that during the last 10 censuses the proportion of Jainas to the total population has not improved but has actually declined to some extent. In fact this decline was more marked at tile 4 censuses from 1911 to 1941. Taking into consideration the more or less settled nature of the Jaina community, the rate at which the Jaina population declined during this period was quite alarming. That is why the social demographers and the census authorities of that period discussed the problem and tried to give some causes for it. �This (gradual decrease) is probably due in part to the practice of child marriage and the prohibition of widow remarriage, and partly also to the small size




Year                                                 Number per 10,000 of the population

                                                          who are Jainas


                   1891                                       49

                   1901                                       45

                   1911                                       40

                   1921                                       37

                   1931                                       36

                   1941                                       37

                   1951                                       45

                   1961                                       46

                   1971                                       47

                   1981                                       48



of the community, which attracting as it does no adherents from out. side, cannot increase at the same rate as much larger ones. Dr. Guha suggests with some force that the Jainas have a lowered fertility and an increased infant mortality rate on account of their division into small endogamous groups, some of which in Ahmedabad do not exceed 500 souls�.1 Many of these causes still hold good for the Jaina community even to the present day, and it is obvious that unless strenuous efforts are made by the Jainas to remove these causes, their proportion to general population will not appreciably increase.



          The Jaina community is spread all over India, right from Kashmir to Kerala and from Gujarat to Nagaland. The total Jaina population and the distribution of Jaina population and Jaina Households


1. Census of India, 1931, Vol.I, Part I, p. 389.


according to 1981 census in the States and Union Territories are given in Appendix I. From this Appendix it is evident that even though the Jainas have dispersed over the entire country, they show signs of concentration in certain States only. The percentage distribution, in the descending order, of the Jaina population in States and Union Territories as per 1981 Census is given in Appendix II.


          From this Appendix II it is clear that the Jainas are concentrated largely in the Western Region of India. The Maharashtra State has got the maximum population of the Jainas among the different States and Union Territories of India and this State accounts for more than one-fourth (i.e. 29.31 per cent) of the total population of the Jainas. Maharashtra is followed by Rajasthan (19.47 per cent), Gujarat (14.60 per cent) and Madhya: Pradesh (13.89 per cent) and these four States account for more than three-fourths (i.e. 77.27 per cent) of the total population of the Jainas. The States of Karnataka (9.29 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (4.42 per cent) stand next in importance from the point of view of concentration of the Jaina population. Thus in these six States 89.98 per cent of the Jainas are concentrated and the rest 10.02 per cent of the Jainas are scattered over the remaining 23 States and Union Territories of India.