Race, Religion and Occupation: The 19th Century Census of India and the Anglo-Indians By Dr. Peter Friedlander Co-ordinator Distance Hindi/Buddhism:- La Trobe University
This paper looks at the creation of the categories of race, religion and occupation in the census of India in the 19th century and how it impacted on the creation of a sense of self identity amongst communities in India. In particular it draws upon work done at La Trobe University during 2001 on the digitization of the 1871-2 and 1891 Census reports. I explore some of the available materials on how the census came to include the categories of race and religion and their relationship to the categories of occupation and caste. An important aspect of this was the detailed listing of Christian sects in relation to race and how these were compiled in a process which was the result of an interaction between the census officers and missionary groups. My main interest in this is explore how the wealth of details in the census reports reveals both anecdotal and statistical data about 19th century perceptions of race and religion in India. I will conclude by discussing the implications of this study of Indian Census Data for the study of modern ABS census data.
Peter Friedlander has been involved with the study of South Asian cultural, religious and literary traditions for over twenty years. He has done work on Sant religious traditions and the history of Hindi literature and Hindi medical literature. His current research interests focus on the History of Buddhism and the use of Hindi in Newspapers and the development of the census of India in the 19th century and its influence on notions of identity and community in India. Since 1996 he has been involved with the development of a Hindi distance education course called: OpenLearning Hindi .
Since March 2000 he has also taught online courses on the Buddhist studies Buddhism: past and present . He also runs a site with news about the Buddhist sacred site Bodhgaya in Bihar, India: www.Bodhgayanews.net His publications include: The Life and Works of Raidas, (With Winand Callewaert) Manohar, Delhi (1992), A Descriptive Catalogue of the Hindi Manuscripts in the Wellcome Institute of Medicine, Wellcome Institute, London, 1996, and (with Robin Jeffrey and Sanjay Seth). 2001. "'Subliminal Charge': How Hindi-Language Newspaper Expansion Affects India", in Media International Australia, No. 100 - August 2001. Phone: (03) 9479 2064 International: +61 3 9479 2064