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It is rare for a public-opinion survey to shake established perceptions of a country in the way a recent Pew Research Center study of religion in India has done. The revelations in Pew’s comprehensive survey, based on interviews with 30,000 adults in 17 languages between late 2019 and early 2020, have astonished many.

In particular, this nationwide, multifaith study finds that Indians value both religious tolerance and coexistence on the one hand and religious exclusivity and segregation on the other. But this apparent contradiction is in fact not entirely surprising.

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