If you talk about cultural diversity, you can’t overlook India. The country with a 1.35 billion population has nine recognized religions and over 2,000 ethnic groups. But with this diversity comes inequalities and discrimination, some issues that have been troubling India for ages.
Minorities Rights Day in India is an initiative to ensure empowerment and equal opportunities for minorities in the country. Let’s discuss some interesting facts about Minorities Rights Day in India.
The History of Minorities Rights Day
The National Commission of Minorities in India celebrates Minorities Rights Day on December 18 every year to ensure religious respect, harmony, and understanding of minority communities.
The history of Minorities Rights Day dates back to December 18, 1992, when the United Nations adopted the Statement on the individual’s rights belonging to religious, ethnic, or linguistic minorities. It highlights the respect, preservation, and protection various states and countries should provide to cultural, religious, and linguistic minorities.
However, it wasn’t until 2006 when India set up a Ministry of Minority Affairs, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. On December 18, 2013, the Minorities Rights Day in India was celebrated for the first time. And since then, the country has been recognizing December 18 as Minorites Rights Day every year.
Constitutional Provisions for Minorities in India
As discussed, India is a country with hundreds of communities divided based on their history, culture, and religious beliefs. However, the differences among these communities are massive, leading to discrimination and limited rights. The Ministry of Minority Affairs tackles these hurdles.
Let’s look at the five key points of constitutional provisions for minorities in India.
• Citizens’ right to equal opportunities in employment and education
• Prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of caste, race, sex, religion, etc.
• Right to establish and administer educational institutions
• Freedom of conscience to freely practice, profess, propagate religion
• Elimination of discrimination from minority-managed educational institutions
Minorities in India
In India, religion is the primary aspect of the classification of minorities. Hindus are the majority community in India, making up close to 80% of its population.
The country recognizes six religions as minorities. These include:
• Muslims –14.2%
• Christianity – 2.3%
• Sikhs – 1.72%
• Buddhists – 0.7%
• Jains – 0.4%
• Parsis – 0.006%
The Positive Impact of the Ministry of Minority Affairs
The Ministry of Minority Affairs was set up in India to overcome the age-cold cast and religious-based discrimination in India. Since the Golden and Silver ages, the caste system has been a part of Indian history. Though the historic concept did not intend to discriminate against people, it soon turned into a discriminatory tool for majorities.
To tackle this issue, the Ministry was formed, which has been doing a great job to date to ensure the overall development of minorities in the country.
In a vast country like India, which’s home to thousands of ethnicities and communities, ensuring the equal development of all minorities is essential. The Ministry of Minority Affairs celebrates Minorities Rights Day in India to symbolize that all minorities in India enjoy equal opportunities.