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Featured Article: Hindu-Christian Dialogue in India

Population of India
Population of India

Though roughly a third the size of the United States, India’s population is over three times that of the United States. With its 1,171,000,000 population projected to rise, India will likely overtake China as the most populated country in the world by 2050.1 Currently, the number of children under the age of 15 living in India (352,866,393) is larger than the population of the United States or of Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Portugal, the UK, Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Ireland, Hungary, Denmark, and Austria combined.2 

1“World Population Highlights: Key Findings from PRD’s 2009 World Population Data Sheet,” Population Reference Bureau, copyright 2011, http://www.prb.org/Publications/PopulationBulletins/2009/ worldpopulationhighlights2009.aspx.

2“The World Factbook,” posted on U.S. Central Intelligence Agency website, updated weekly, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2119rank.html.

Cows are revered, worshiped, and protected in India, especially by Hindus. Feeding and nurturing them is considered meritorious. This picture—taken in Haridwar—shows how cows are comfortable with masses in public spaces.
Religious Diversity
Religious Diversity

With 4,635 different people groups, eighteen officially recognized languages, and a long and complex history that dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization (around 3000 BCE), India is anything but a homogeneous culture. As the world’s third largest religion, Hinduism is by far the largest religious group in India, making up 80 percent of India’s total population of 1,171,000,000. The appropriation of Hinduism in various cultures outside of India is by no means monolithic. Yet given that over 90 percent of all Hindus reside in India, it is important to begin an exploration of Hindu-Christian interactions with a contextual focus on India.1 

1“World Hindu Population,” Mamandram Magazine (Official Publication of the Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram), posted October 3, 2008, http://www.mamandram.org/magazine/2008/10/world-hindupopulation/ 

Havan Ceremony
A Havan ceremony on the banks of the Ganges at Muni ki Reti, Rishikesh. A Havan or Homa ceremony is a Hindu form of worship by means of sacred fire. Rivers are considered holy and worshiped regularly by Hindus. North Indian rivers "Ganges"—Ganga and Jamuna are considered especially holy and Havan-puja worship is offered every evening on their banks by Hindu priests.
North Indian Women
A group of north Indian women gathering for prayer and worship in house church. Many Indian people are reported to follow and worship Jesus without renouncing their traditional culture.
Taking a dip in the holy river (the Ganges), is considered the most sacred ritual that is believed to wash away one's sins. People gather regularly to bath in these rivers and offer puja – sacrificial worship.
Sadhus in Rajasthan, at bottom, and a female sadhu in Jamalpur. Sadhus are holy men and women (called Sadhvis) who have renounced everything in search of liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Most of them are wondering sages who devote their lives to higher learning, memorization, meditation, and preaching Hindu precepts of life based on Hindu scriptures.
Hindu Artwork
Outside of temples framed artwork of gods and goddesses are on sale. Most Hindus buy these and worship them in their homes.