No Muslims please! Is Mumbai really as cosmopolitan as it is commonly perceived?

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No Muslims please! Is Mumbai really as cosmopolitan as it is commonly perceived?

Post by FluteHolder on Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:15 pm

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/magazine/article3482963.ece




Is Mumbai really as cosmopolitan as it is commonly perceived?

“Nah…how can this happen in Mumbai, that too with a Bollywood star?” I heard many people say when Emraan Hashmi reported that he was having difficulty in finding an apartment due to his faith. Then it was Shabana Azmi. “I wanted to buy a flat in Bombay and it wasn't given to me because I was a Muslim and I read the same about Saif (Ali Khan). Now, I mean, if Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi cannot get a flat in Bombay because they are Muslims, then what are we talking about?”

I've studied in Mumbai, stayed in a hostel and enjoyed the freedom to move about even in the late hours of night or wee hours of morning more or less safely. I come from the town of Udaipur, where everyone knows you and seems interested in your affairs. But, when need be, they would also go out of their way to help you. In Mumbai, I loved that people tended to mind their own business. Here, you could feel carefree and uncared for. But not discriminated. At least I thought so.

Years down the line, I've been sensitised towards professionals, students, families, strugglers and stars who have one tag in common — I am a Muslim. A couple of months back, my cousin, who is a pilot with Jet Airways, had his base assigned as Mumbai. He came, stayed at our place and I was sure he'd find a good flat on rent soon in the suburbs.

Daunting task

But it proved to be a much more trying task than we'd anticipated. Through various agents, he scanned Powai, Santacruz, Andheri Lokhandwala, Kandivali Lokhandwala, Thakur Complex (Kandivali), Thakur Village (Kandivali) and so on. The choice proved to be very limited for Muslims. Many more options were available in the same areas, through the same agents, for my sister-in-law (husband's sister), who is a Bengali Brahmin. Most of the agents are gracious enough to inform you at the start about the limited options. The more discreet ones politely shake their heads about the unavailability.

Post many agents and many rejections, my cousin finalised a flat in Kandivali Lokhandwala and gave the token amount. After much delay, it was returned as the society had refused to let a Muslim in, although the owner was ready.

Last week, we went to see a flat in a building complex in Thakur Complex, adjoining the highway, where the society didn't have a problem with a Muslim tenant. But the owner refused to lend it to a Muslim. Although my husband assured that he, a Marwadi, was his brother-in-law and our offices were located quite near that building, there was no convincing the owner.

More liberal place

I walked away from that building, thinking about my grandfather who was the only one to open his shop during the Partition riots in the majority-dominated locality. People from all communities loved him well enough to elect him the Vice Mayor and then Mayor of Udaipur. His wife, my grandma, was the one of the initiators of women's education in Rajasthan and served as the Vice President of the Rajasthan Branch of All India Women's Conference (AIWC), of which Maharani Gayatri Devi was the President, way back in 1952. Our family comprises Kayasth Hindus, Shia and Sunni Muslims, Punjabis, Marwadis Baniyas, Bohras…many of whom have considerable contribution in politics, social service, arts, wildlife, conservation, literature and education in India. We celebrate all festivals round the year. I was always told that the fabric of Indian society was rich with a profusion of languages, traditions and cultures woven over the ancient, medieval and modern ages. It was impossible to separate it thread by thread. Come to think of it, perhaps our little town of Udaipur is much more liberal at heart than many a cosmopolitan city. Perhaps the people of olden days were more liberal-minded than many a modern Indian.

Many societies in Mumbai, of which the majority flats are owned by business classes, have the unwritten rule of not allowing Muslims in. In the apartment complex where my in-laws live, one of the best in the Western Suburbs of Mumbai, there is not a single Muslim family. Even though initially the builders may sell flats to Muslims, once the society is formed, no more are allowed. This is not a general rule in all societies, of course, but a prevalent one.

Yes, there are Muslims, as well as other minority communities, who prefer to stay in ghettos. But I realise, with a heavy heart, that there are not many places for a liberal Muslim to go to. And aren't the majority communities making ghettoes for themselves by not letting the others in?

In Gokuldham society of the popular comedy serial “Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chashma”, there are Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, but not a single Muslim family (except a token Muslim small store owner). Perhaps that reflects the reality of many other building complexes in Mumbai. No Muslims Please!

arefatehsin@gmail.com

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Re: No Muslims please! Is Mumbai really as cosmopolitan as it is commonly perceived?

Post by Kumarg on Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:52 pm

Well, not to justify the phenomenon, but by a similar analogy, Hindus
are not allowed to rent, buy or set up shop in the Muslim neighborhood
in Bombay. Try renting a flat in Jogeshwari West, Byculla or Akbar Ali
road.























To give you a different but similar situation in Delhi, Hindus have
been driven away by Muslims in what used to be (and probably still is)
the prime property area in the heart of Delhi, Daryganj. For decades it
has been a 50% Hindu, Muslim area where both lived peacefully. However
please note, there are huge life-style differences between
the two communities, which people in the name of being 'secular' and
'forward thinking' forget. Daryaganj is a very old settlement with
narrow lanes (gullys) and old house. Almost every gully has butcher
shops. They openly kill bakras and cows in public site. Then they
lacerate the abdomen of these animals and hang
them upside down to drain blood, again in public view. Many Hindu
families in Drayaganj on the other hand own a domestic cow or a buffalo
use them for their milk, apart from worshiping them on key hindu
religious festivals. Butcher
shops aside, Muslim families often buy a little lamb, a baby goat or a
baby calf and tie it on their roof. The little calf cries in
fear all night, and is butchered the next morning, on their terrace,
again in full public view. The Muslim families then clean and chop the
little calf into tiny-tiny pieces to be cooked. (And this is a regular
occurrence, not just on Eid). Due to these fundamental difference in
lifestyle, the Muslims would not rent to Hinuds, would not sell to the
Hindus and the Hindus had to slowly leave, to an extent that almost 90%
people there are Muslims now. No Hindu can dare to enter Daryaganj now.























Ah, and let me not even try to open the can of worms that Kashmir is
where Hindus have been stripped of their property and kicked out by
Muslims, let alone "....being discriminated against and finding it
difficult to rent a flat...", which sounds like a miniscule problem than
being actively kicked out of our homeland.





















Anyway, Kashmir aside, such problems exists not only for Muslims but for
Hindus as well, its just that no one writes about it. Since Hindus and
Muslims have fundamentally such different lifestyles, I think it OK if
they don't mix, its OK to live surrounded by your own communities. I think its best for both.

PS: BTW please don't think I am biased against one religion or another. I
just remember another example, something I noticed when I visted
chinnai last year. So there are these colonies or even buildings, which
are predominantly owned by Tamil Brahmins. A non-vegetarian (be it a
Sikh, or another meat-eating Hindu or Muslim) are not allowed to rent or
buy. Would you call that discrimination?

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Re: No Muslims please! Is Mumbai really as cosmopolitan as it is commonly perceived?

Post by Kumarg on Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:47 pm

i'm sorry, don't know all my paragraphs were separated by such huge gaps in my previous post...some technical glitch.Posted again with corrections.


Well, not to justify the phenomenon, but by a similar analogy, Hindus
are not allowed to rent, buy or set up shop in the Muslim neighborhood
in Bombay. Try renting a flat in Jogeshwari West, Byculla or Akbar Ali
road.

To give you a different but similar situation in Delhi, Hindus have
been driven away by Muslims in what used to be (and probably still is)
the prime property area in the heart of Delhi, Daryganj. For decades it
has been a 50% Hindu, Muslim area where both lived peacefully. However
please note, there are huge life-style differences between
the two communities, which people in the name of being 'secular' and
'forward thinking' forget. Daryaganj is a very old settlement with
narrow lanes (gullys) and old house. Almost every gully has butcher
shops. They openly kill bakras and cows in public site. Then they
lacerate the abdomen of these animals and hang
them upside down to drain blood, again in public view. Many Hindu
families in Drayaganj on the other hand own a domestic cow or a buffalo
use them for their milk, apart from worshiping them on key hindu
religious festivals. Butcher shops aside, Muslim families often buy a little lamb, a baby goat or a
baby calf and tie it on their roof. The little calf cries in
fear all night, and is butchered the next morning, on their terrace,
again in full public view. The Muslim families then clean and chop the
little calf into tiny-tiny pieces to be cooked. (And this is a regular
occurrence, not just on Eid). Due to these fundamental difference in
lifestyle, the Muslims would not rent to Hinuds, would not sell to the
Hindus and the Hindus had to slowly leave, to an extent that almost 90%
people there are Muslims now. No Hindu can dare to enter Daryaganj now.

Ah, and let me not even try to open the can of worms that Kashmir is
where Hindus have been stripped of their property and kicked out by
Muslims, let alone "....being discriminated against and finding it
difficult to rent a flat...", which sounds like a miniscule problem than
being actively kicked out of our homeland.

Anyway, Kashmir aside, such problems exists not only for Muslims but for
Hindus as well, its just that no one writes about it. Since Hindus and
Muslims have fundamentally such different lifestyles, I think it OK if
they don't mix, its OK to live surrounded by your own communities. I think its best for both.

PS: BTW please don't think I am biased against one religion or another. I
just remember another example, something I noticed when I visited
Chennai last year. So there are these colonies or even buildings, which
are predominantly owned by Tamil Brahmins. A non-vegetarian (be it a
Sikh, or another meat-eating Hindu or Muslim) are not allowed to rent or
buy. Would you call that discrimination?


Kumarg

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Re: No Muslims please! Is Mumbai really as cosmopolitan as it is commonly perceived?

Post by ashdoc on Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:27 am

problem is that mumbai has suffered a lot due to bomb blasts and other acts of terror for the past 20 years , and the primary suspects in all cases have been muslims .

this has led to a seige mentality among mumbai's citizens that muslims are nothing but trouble . they dont trust muslims and feel that they might come in trouble of the muslim person they keep as tenant turns out to be connected with some radical outfit or some act of terror .

this mentality is not present in small towns which have not suffered from repeated acts of terrorism .

of course , the hindu is nothing but a communist mouthpiece---forever taking the side of the communists' favourite constituency , the muslims . bal thackeray once said that the hindu should be called the muslim !! if a similar act of discrimination occurred against a hindu they will keep mum about it

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Re: No Muslims please! Is Mumbai really as cosmopolitan as it is commonly perceived?

Post by Kumarg on Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:25 am

I never thought of that aspect, that's an interesting point. I was thinking solely from the point of view of how essentially disaparate their lifestyles are, but yes as you noted, this is more common in Bombay versus other smaller towns, and that could be due to lack of trust in Muslims owing to the many terrorist attacks on the city by Islamic extremists. Its a pity that good educated Muslims have to suffer due to this negative stereotype.

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Re: No Muslims please! Is Mumbai really as cosmopolitan as it is commonly perceived?

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