The Muslim population of India has grown faster than other religious communities between 2001 and 2011 but its decadal growth rate has come down when compared to the previous decade.
The Muslim population increased by 24% between 2001 and 2011, which is higher than the national decadal growth rate of population, which is about 18%.
The decadal growth rate of population for Muslims in India was 29% in the 1991-2001 period.
The decadal growth rate of population for Hindus for India as a whole has been 16.8%, way lower than the Muslim growth rate.
For Christians, the figure is 15.5% and for Sikhs, it is 8.4%.
The population figures could be politically important as the growing Muslim numbers have fueled many communal stereotypes that radical right-wing groups have propagated for a century now.
In the early 20th century itself, Colonel UN Mukherjee had written a book titled Hindus – A Dying Race, which raised the specter of Hindu numbers declining to an extent that the community would be extinct in four centuries.
While many see the numbers as having potential political impact in Bihar, it is in Assam — where the Muslim population has increased by a relatively large proportion — that the numbers may end up being politically potent.
Muslims constituted 30.9% of Assam’s population in 2001, but their number is 34.2% in the state now.
To put things in perspective, however, the rate at which the Muslim numbers are increasing has begun to decline in the past two decades, suggesting that Muslim population growth is tapering as the decades pass.