Shoeb Khan | TNN | Sep 10, 2016, 11.36 AM IST
JAIPUR: The state has just one registered Jew and about 85 Parsis among its population of 6.85 crore, as per the Census report on other religions released recently.
Parsis, who set foot in this region during the British era over a century ago, are on the verge of `extinction' in the state. Both these ethnic minority have their roots in Ajmer, Merwara, which was directly under the colonial rule.
In a surprise, Rajasthan also has 50 persons who identified themselves as members of Natural Religion (religion of nature), which follows Native American traditions.
However, none of them could be traced. Pushkar in Ajmer has a rich history of Jews which goes back to the period before the founding of Israel (1948).
Over the past few decades, the number of Jews outnumbers other foreign tourists in Pushkar. It's also home to one of the nine Chabads (religious centre of Jews) in the county , where Jewish festivals are still celebrated.
Though TOI tried to track the lone Jewish person registered as a Rajasthan national, he couldn't be traced. The Jewish population is barely above 500 in the country. Parsis, known for their business acumen, came to Ajmer to establish the railways from Gujarat and Bombay . They numbered 300 during the period between 1870 and 1890. With the Parsi population fast declining in the country , their numbers have dwindled to 85 in 2011.
Adarbad Motafram, a lone priest living in Ajmer and a caretaker of the fire temple, says, "Barely 20-21families from my community are left in Rajasthan. Ajmer has nine families, Udaipur five, Jaipur three, Jodhpur and Kota one each.We gather during our festivals, with Nowruz the most popular." Motafram is a geography professor at the Government College of Ajmer.
Buddhism, which had flourished in Hadoti region, has only about 12,000 followers in the state now. The Buddhist monasteries or complexes at four places -Bhairat in Alwar, Kholvi in Jhalawar, Bandarez in Dausa and Ramgoan in Tonk -testifies to the strong presence of Budhism in this region, which has disappeared with time.
Discovered by the Archaeological Survey of India's (ASI) first director-general Alexander Cunningham in the late 18th century , these historical sites are today crying for attention from the state.
Baha'i, considered one of the most persecuted religions, also has its presence in Rajasthan, in Jaipur. They often hit the headlines for being persecuted in Iran and Turkey . Figures say that the state has 18 Baha'is. They also have a religious centre in Sanganer which faced attacks in 2015 over the ownership of property . Most of their religious practices are identical to Islam, and names similar to Muslim names. Baha'i religious leaders claimed they have followers numbering to about 20,000 in the state."Due to persecution, we identify ourselves as Muslims," said a Baha'i leader, requesting anonymity.
Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Rajasthan-has-one-Jew-85-Parsis/articleshow/54262296.cms