In India, where Hinduism originated, there is a deep cultural tie to the religion. The main Hindu beliefs are in reincarnation and the caste system, which can be traced back to ancient times. Hindus believe that when your body dies, your soul is reborn. Your place in society in this new life is based on your behavior in your previous life. The caste system is the rigid class structure that defines Indian society; it is divided into thousands and thousands of sub-casts branching off from the main castes. The lowest caste is the “untouchables” so low that they are on the outside of society itself. They suffer discrimination and persecution on a regular basis – most Indians believe that the untouchables must not have been good people in their previous lives, or else the gods would not have punished them so much.
The majority of all Indians are Hindu, which has helped to unite a people separated by geographical and linguistic barriers. Yet the Hindu majority has been fighting with the Islamic minority for years. After receiving their independence from Great Britain, the Indian Muslims spoke up, demanding Islamic laws and spaces of their own. As a result they received the nation of Pakistan, cared out of Indian land. While the majority of Muslims in India have since migrated to Pakistan, India and Pakistan continue to have heated border disputes to the present day, culminating in recent nuclear weapons testing near the Pakistani border by India.
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