By Mayank Jain:
The day is not far when we will burn in hatred against each other and start murdering the people who don’t match our community or if their surnames aren’t as attractive as ours. We would always want to be surrounded with the people who are practically our clones and every different being would be frowned upon for being out of the herd and killed with constant ostracizing. Reminders of their inability to mingle with us because of their different community would be sent every moment and we would revel in pride of our own religion while others imitate the same and the hatred won’t take long to spread all over.
This happened in Mumbai, the cosmopolitan capital of India which is home to our film industry as well as the financial capital, and provides employment and entertainment without discriminating. The city couldn’t be clean for long and an anti-Muslim wave crept in. People who happen to be Muslims have to undergo a period of trials and tribulations when they look for a new house in the city as many apartments are completely ‘intolerant’ to people from this religion and brokers are having a hard time convincing people to let Muslims rent their houses.
The latest case is of Captain Zainul Abidin Javule, master of the cargo vessel that sailed for Dubai from Kuwait with 722 Indians aboard. This happened in September 1990 when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s troops invaded Kuwait and they were stuck there for months. Captain became their savior and rescued the Indians from the fate of starvation and death. But, his legacy has been long forgotten.
He has been looking for a house that he would like in Bandra (West) but can’t get it because brokers have clearly told him that there are a few apartments that are completely out of bounds for Muslim tenants and hence, he should look somewhere else. Whenever he chooses a flat, he encounters the same discrimination.
One can only imagine the angst he would feel when he is being denied housing from his own money just because he is a Muslim, add to it the fact that he has saved hundreds of lives with his bravado in the past but for now, the people in Mumbai aren’t the most congenial in the world.
There have been similar cases in the past as well and it is a real struggle for a Muslim to find a place to live outside neighborhoods that are earmarked for Muslims.
This reeks of racial discrimination of the worst kinds and a new low for the national financial capital that has been long touted as the ‘city of dreams’. Probably, it is the ‘city of a few’ now and the continued hostility of house owners towards their tenants can be easily noticed.
The newspapers carry detailed advertisements for properties which mention the preferred caste, color, sex, work timings and marital status. It’s probably easier to find a spouse than to find a house in such conditions.
Where this will lead us is anybody’s guess. But the question is, how long before we can oppress people for no fault of theirs? How long before the oppressed turns into the oppressor?
As Mahatama Gandhi said “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”