House for Mr Khan?September 26th, 2010
A few days back CNN IBN aired what they called a ’sting operation’, A HOUSE FOR MR KHAN wherein they said that it was very difficult for Muslims to get a house in major cities of the country. Be it Hindus, Sikhs or Christians, no one would let out their house to a Muslim family. Fair enough, I agree that it is not so easy for them to get a house in a non Muslim society. But can you really blame these people who do not give their houses to Muslims? Is it their fault that today they do not trust people from Muslim community? Are they to be blamed if they’re concerned about safety and security of their families and kids? Who is really responsible for creating this mistrust?
I really don’t think that these people are to blamed for this at all. Their lack of faith is a culmination and not the reason for the way things are at the moment. And therefore, it was sad to see Rajdeep Sardesai trying to paint these people as villains of the piece without trying to analyze the reasons for this mistrust. There was no one on his panel who spoke candidly about how have things come to this. More importantly, Rajdeep himself never questioned anyone on this issue. Was it because blaming politicians is not really masala news any more but blaming citizens of the country is? Well, I somehow have a feeling that it was. And that’s the underlying fact of this whole matter.
At another level if you go to smaller cities in the country which have a history, like Allahabad, Meerut or Aligarh, or even older localities of metros you’ll see a phenomenon called MOHALLAs. These localities or MOHALLAS are essentially a place where you’ll find people from one community and caste only. Haven’t you guys heard of localities like Sindhi Colony, Bengali Colony (and market as well), Punjabi mohalla, Gujarati mohalla etc etc? Muslims too over the ages have always preferred to live in their own localities, for a variety of reasons.
What Rajdeep Sardesai conveniently chose to overlook is the fact that vice versa is also true for Muslims in the country. They too generally prefer to let their premises out or even sell their properties to Muslims only. If you google ‘house for rent for Muslims in India’ you’ll get more than three million results. Take a look at this snapshot from a website called http://property.trovit.co.in, which quite clearly lists out houses which will only be sold to Muslims.
There are many such listings in this and other websites. As you can see, it’s both ways. To just blame one section of the society is just ridiculous. Sardesai should’ve been more objective in his reporting and judgement in that so called ’sting operation’.
Apart from this, as you guys would appreciate, there is a regional dimension to this issue as well. People from a particular region like to stick together. Even in modern cities like Delhi, in it’s sub city Dwarka, there are Bengali, Gujarati and Rajasthani Societies. And it is not just happening in India only. Even abroad Indians from a particular region like to stay together. For example, the director of the forthcoming movie Crook, Mohit Suri, says that he got the idea for this movie when he saw this ad in a store in Sunshine District of Melbourne which said-
‘Accommodation is available for the Indian students for Gujarati boys only’.
Also, have you guys seen the latest ad of IDEA mobile services, which shows an old woman letting out her house only when the would be tenant puts on a facade of being from the same stock? As they say, birds of the same feather flock together. That’s a natural phenomenon. And it’s quite natural for someone to accommodate another who is similar to you in living and eating habits. Leave aside Muslims, my mom-in-law would not rent out her place to anyone who is a non vegetarian! Can anyone question her right/decision in the name of secularism or anything else? For those of you who do not know her here’s a warning, don’t even try it.
The divisions in our society are very much there and have been so for ages. As responsible citizens of this country we don’t need to be averse to this diversity but we need to respect it. Yes, Muslims do get a raw deal but to blame our citizens for this would be a mistake. They did not plant this seed of mistrust among themselves. It is the way they’ve been influenced by our politicians who have exploited our diversity for their own gains who are to be blamed for this mess. Who knows if terror had not been such a burning issue in these times in our country things would’ve been different? If things have to improve, our politicians need to first start building bridges between the communities by amicably resolving issues like Ramjanambhoomi/ Babri Masjid and Kashmir imbroglio first. These are the issues which have been utilized by politicians to create mistrust, and in the bargain, vote banks as well.
Rajdeep Sardesai would do well to be more careful in his assessment than to just point accusatory fingers at non Muslims of this country. Giving out one side of the story will only hurt his own credibility, which after this report, is pretty low in my eyes.
Nine point program for Kashmir