3.5.10

Dogs allowed, but not Muslims

"At around 9.30, I was told that some locals had a problem with me being a Muslim. I was categorically asked to hand over the keys so that my belongings could be shifted out immediately. I was told that I shouldn't enter the building again or I would be hurt."

Majid Khan and his wife Gayatri had signed an agreement, gone through police verification and shifted their belongings to enter their new rented home on May 1.

The owner Jyoti Rege told Mumbai Mirror, that ran the story, he did not want to rent his flat out anymore.

V Ramnathan, the chairman of the building, Venkatesh Sadan at Chembur, said, “We were warned that no Muslims should live here. In any case, all the flat-owners here have decided not to allow him (Majid).”

The estate agent who brokered the deal confirmed that the owner had no option but to back out. He and Rege will compensate Majid Khan with Rs. 21,000 for the expenses incurred to shift his belongings, apart from returning the rent and deposit amount.

This is, of course, not the first case. Here, even though the wife is a Hindu there was a problem. It is the sheer temerity with which they are keeping Muslims out that is worrying. These are local citizens. The cops had cleared Majid, a businessman.

I only hope he files a case against the building authorities, the owner and the residents. No one can renege on an agreement just like that, that too at the last minute. There is also the threat angle. If some locals had pressurised the building society members, then the members have to identify those goons.

If none of these actions are taken, then the cops who gave Majid the clean chit need to be dragged to court as well.

Will Majid Khan do this? Is it worth the time and money? The residents do not even know the couple; it is not as though they had created any trouble. There is no tangible reason. This is clearly a case of discrimination based on religion.

The owner pleads helplessness; the society members will do the same. The ruffians will be blamed and since no one will recognise them, the case will be shut. All the Majid Khans in this super cosmopolitan city will be left to look for a nook that has only ‘their’ people although they do not think in this narrow manner.

I am sickened that few feel any anger about such situations anymore.

15 comments:

  1. Farzana,


    Really it is a case of discrimination based on religion. But you have to think why Muslims only... No other religious people have such problems. I'm not a religious person... But I'm sorry to say I will do the same to an unknown muslim. It's not because of hate but because of fear. No one will ready to open such a pandora's box.



    You are a great artist. Why you feel being frustrated. Your paintings remembering Van Gogh. I think your life also like Van Gogh.

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  2. It's painful to hear this. But I don't buy anyone's argument that this has to do with terrorism. They simply don't like Muslims and this emphasizes the success of the saffron brigade in polarizing the communities.
    One solution I could think of is for Muslims to take a decision - Believe in the Indian Constitution and get massacred or Take the saffron bull by the horns. If one community would not have Peace, why should the other community have it. This is not a win win solution, but a lose lose one nevertheless a just one.

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  3. Anon :
    You said :
    "One solution I could think of is for Muslims to take a decision - Believe in the Indian Constitution and get massacred or Take the saffron bull by the horns. If one community would not have Peace, why should the other community have it. This is not a win win solution, but a lose lose one nevertheless a just one. "
    Don't you think a better solution would be for the State to remind itself of it's constitutional duties towards its citizenry ?
    Cheers,
    Mahesh.

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  4. Das:

    I appreciate your candour. There are other communities that choose to live in separate colonies. The problem when such separation is forced. Instead of asking why only Muslims are a problem, it might help to ask why people have a problem with Muslims.

    I would seriously like you to list out your fears. Without any fear. Even Van Gogh cut off his own ear, unlike Mike Tyson!

    Btw, thanks for liking whatever little 'art' I manage. I know I don't paint like any great master, but I wonder how much you know about my life to compare it with Van Gogh's. Curious.

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  5. Mahesh:

    Spot on. Thanks for the response.

    Anon:

    See Mahesh's reply.

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  6. After proposing my just solution here (One of the solutions, not the only one though), I happened to watch Saba Qureshi, the assistant to Shahid Azmi (Murdered for defending a fellow citizen) jubilantly talking to the press after the acquittal of her client Fahim Ansari. This restored my faith, but not in the system of governance and the constitution but on scores of people like Saba. I add Mahesh and you to the list too for being the voice of reason.
    While I agree on Mahesh's intentions, I don't believe in the idea of the state reminding itself of its duties. People have to remind the state.

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  7. I support Hindu - Muslim marriages as long as no conversion out of Hinduism is involved and the children are brought up as Hindus, with Hindu names. Unfortunately, most such marriages result in incorporation of the entire family into the Muslim fold. What is worse is that the Hindu community does not feel enraged by this. Instead they are too busy killing their own co-religionists because they belong to some other caste. And no, I do not buy the argument that religion is a matter of personal choice. Go tell that to Pakis and Saudis!

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  8. "If one community would not have Peace, why should the other community have it. This is not a win win solution, but a lose lose one nevertheless a just one."

    It is not a lose lose one but a win lose one. As long as it is itsy bitsy bomb blast you can get away but in a full blown civil war, you will be crushed.

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  9. Anonymous,
    You said :
    "....I don't believe in the idea of the state reminding itself of its duties. People have to remind the state. "
    Agreed. It is rather naive to expect state reminding itself of its duties.
    Cheers,
    Mahesh.

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  10. Anon 1 and Mahesh:

    The state reminding itself is the ideal. How that is done is another matter. I have posted a followup, and it raises even more questions.

    Anon 2:

    A civil war requires the state machinery to be active. Are you suggesting that Muslims are not part of the state? That is what the whole fight is about.

    Free and Footloose:

    If you believe in cross-religious marriages, then let the couples decide. Ours is a patriarchal society and unfortunately conversions take place when the man is of a certain religion, and it applies across the board.

    Comparisons with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia (both incidentally cannot be boxed in together)make no sense. Our Constitution is secular, so your personal opinions do not apply.

    I think it is time we grew up and learned to read our own laws and looked in the mirror.

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  11. FV: "I think it is time we grew up and learned to read our own laws".

    Well said. It is amazing that some indians think that they can respond to thuggery and intimidation with more of the same, speak proudly of India would not be a democracy if it was not for the majority community, and not understand that no one has the right to take the laws into their own hands -- that leads down a slippery slope. Pakistan and Certain gulf states do not care for their constitution or have one to care about, so anyone wanting India to treat the constitution like they do in those countries should just move to those countries...why settle for a duplicate when you can experience the original?

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  12. Al:

    I hope you are also referring to establishment thugs.

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  13. FV:"I hope you are also referring to establishment thugs."

    Thugs come with all sorts of affiliations, and most of the time it is abuse of authority of people vested with such authority by the state.

    Theoretically, the "state"/government is supposed to behave with the highest standards of ethics thereby ensuring that the "establishment" is not some bunch of crooks/thugs pretending that their interests represent those of the nation-at-large.

    But we all know what the reality is. Try filing a Freedom of Information petition for releasing information that will nail all the evil crooks and thugs in the DMK party (Tamilnadu) and its thugs....you will be lying dead in a ditch on the roadside within the week. This is no fiction.

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  14. The real troubling thing here is the incompetence and lack of will exhibited by the state government. I mean, if the Shiv Sena is going to be "enforcing civil law" with their Dept. of Preservation of Culture, Dignity, and Freedom, then why do the fools in the state government even exist? Why have a police department backed by constitutional writ when any bunch of violent tools can pick up an axe and a spear and "enforce good behaviour"?

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  15. Al:

    Agreed. But establishment thugs are legitimised.

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