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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/137

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THE PEOPLE: RELIGIONS

amounts to nearly 15 p.c. The birth-rate is lower and the death-rate higher among Hindus than among Musalmans, and their losses by plague in the central and some of the south-eastern districts have been very heavy. A change of sentiment on the part of the Sikh community has led to many persons recording themselves as Sikhs who were formerly content to be regarded as Hindus. It must be remembered that one out of four of the recorded

Fig. 38. Golden Temple, Amritsar.

Hindus belongs to impure castes, who even in the Panjab pollute food and water by their touch and are excluded from the larger temples. Since 1901 a considerable number of Chuhras or Sweepers have been converted to Islam and Christianity.

Sikhs.— Notwithstanding heavy losses by plague Sikhs have increased by 37 p.c. A great access of zeal has led to many more Sikhs becoming Kesdhdris. Sajhdhdris or