Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions






          This distribution of the Jaina population brings out one fact clearly that the Jainas are concentrated in the Hindu dominated areas and are very sparsely populated in the areas dominated by the Muslims. Jainism is nearer to Hinduism than to any other prominent religion in India and this might have resulted in the Jainas choosing the Hindus as their neighbours.


          A very remarkable feature of the distribution of the Jaina population is the practical dearth of the Jainas in the Eastern Region of India, comprising the States of Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal, where the Jaina religion had its origin, and which had come under the direct spell of Lord Mahavira. It is really surprising to note that the Jainas are most scarce in Bihar where Lord Mahavira lived, preached and flourished. Similarly, it is strange to find that there are very few Jainas in Orissa where the caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri bear witness to its early popularity in the early centuries of the Christian era. The same is the case with West Bengal as there are practically no Jainas among the indigenous inhabitants of West Bengal. The continued predominance of the Jaina population in the past in the Eastern Region of India could be seen from the Saraks of West Bengal, Chhota Nagpur and Orissa who are the Hinduised remnants of the early Jaina people to whom local legends ascribe the ruined temples, defaced images, and even the abandoned copper mines of that part of Bengal. Their name is a variant of Sravaka, (Sanskrit, listener), the designation of the Jaina laity�. But it seems that the Jaina religion was not in a position to wield a continuous hold on the population and later on with the advent of Muslim predominance in that part of the country even the lay Jainas had no course open but to migrate to other areas and especially to the Western areas.


          The relative absence of the Jainas in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and their comparative insignificance in Southern parts of Karnataka are other note-worthy features in the distribution of the Jaina population. The Jainas reigned supreme in the South India for a considerable period and there are ample evidences to show that in every walk of life their influence was felt by all people. In many places of South India, the Jaina religion was the State religion and numerous villages and towns seem to have been occupied by Jainas only, as can be seen from the names of villages or places like `Samanahalli�, or the village of the S�ramanas, S�ravana-Belgola or the white pond of the S�ramanas and `Savanur�, `Savanadurga�, etc. But now only the temples and the colossal statues of Gommateshwar bear witness to its great popularity in the past.         This sudden disappearance of the Jaina population from the land where they had a continuous hold for a very long time can, it seems, be attributed to the vigorous persecutionist policy followed by the non-Jainas against the Jainas.


          Even though the Jaina population is concentrated mainly in the states of the Western Region of India, it is pertinent to note that the Jainas form a very small proportion of the total population of the respective States. The States and Union Territories in which 0.25 per cent or more of the population is made up of the Jainas, as per 1981 census, are given in Table No. 6.


          From the above Table it will be noticed that only in the States and Union Territories of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka the percentage of the Jaina population to total population is more than the corresponding percentage of 0.48 for India as a whole. Even in these States and Union Territories we find that the percentage of the Jaina population to total population


1. Census of India, 1901, Vol. I, Part I, page 523.






Sl.     State/Union Territory                      Percentage of Jaina population

No                                                              .         to total population


1.       Rajasthan                                                  1.82

2.       Maharashtra                                              1.50

3.       Gujarat                                                      1.37

4.       Delhi                                                           1.19

5.       Madhya Pradesh                                       0.85

6.       Karnataka                                                 0.80

7.       Chandigarh                                                          0.42

8.       Dadra & Nagar Haveli                              0.36

9.       Haryana                                                     0.27



of the respective State and Union Territory shows a great variation during the last two Censuses of 1971 and 1981. The increase in Maharashtra was from 1.40 per cent to 1.50 per cent., in Madhya Pradesh from 0.83 per cent to 0.85 per cent and in Karnataka from 0.75 per cent to 0.80 per cent and the decline in Rajasthan was from 1.99 per cent to 1.82 per cent, in Gujarat from 1.69 per cent to 1.37 per cent, in Delhi from 1.24 per cent to 1.19 per cent and in Chandigarh from 0.86 per cent to 0.39 per cent.


          Further, the percentage increase, during the last three decades, of the population of the Jainas from the States where they are mostly concentrated is given in Table No. 7.


          From the above Table it is clear that in Maharashtra State, which has got the maximum number of Jainas in India, the Jaina population registered the highest increase of 43.86 per cent and 44.88 per cent during the two decades of 1951 to 1961 and 1961 to 1971 respectively. The State of Madhya Pradesh comes next in order in this respect and its corresponding figures are 36.73 per cent and 39.24 per cent. These figures for the States of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh compare





Sl.               State                    Percentage                    Increase of Jaina

No.                                          population                     during the decade of


                                                1951                     1961                     1971

                                                to                          to                          to

                                                1961                     1971                     1981


1.       Gujarat                         + 9.31                   +10.21        + .59

2.       Madhya Pradesh           +36.73                  +39.24        +28.90

3.       Maharashtra                 +43.86                  +44.88         +33.50

4.       Karnataka                     +24.66                  +25.52        +36.15

5.       Rajasthan                      +13.80                  +25.43        +21.57.

6.       Uttar Pradesh               +24.93                  + 2.15         +13.49



most favourably with the figures of 25.26 per cent and 28.48 per cent increase in the Jaina population in India as a whole during the decades of 1951 to 1961 and 1961 to 1971 respectively.