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Blog: Imagine My Plight – A Muslim, Non-Vegetarian Bachelor

“Maybe he is making a bomb inside the closed room,” stated my landlord to my neighbour. This occurred in a really cosmopolitan space of Pune simply 5 years in the past. My working hours in an MNC had been from midday to 9 pm. So, my entrance door remained closed more often than not as I went to work late after my neighbours had left, and would return within the evening when different residents had been asleep. My neighbour was fairly proud of my working hours and he or she informed my landlord that this man is a “very no-nuisance person”. At that point, my landlord had identified me for six months. She responded to her that we have now to be very cautious with “these people”, who is aware of what they might be doing behind closed doorways. I found she had stated this as a result of the neighbour, landlord and agent had been pals and I heard this from the agent. 

As I moved from my city in Andhra Pradesh to 3 completely different states – Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Delhi – this rampant discrimination when making an attempt to lease a house has been my norm. In Chennai, after liking a one-bedroom flat, I used to be conversing with my uncle standing subsequent to me in Urdu, when the proprietor immediately requested me in regards to the group I belonged to. When I informed her that I’m a Muslim, she promptly replied, “In our culture, we can’t allow meat-eating people a place in our house”.

This is amongst my learnings: if you’re a bachelor, it is an issue; if you’re a non-vegetarian bachelor, it is an excellent larger downside. And on the prime of the heap of issues is being a Muslim, non-vegetarian bachelor.

But now, I do not thoughts all of this stuff. I mainly assume this: that more often than not, individuals assume I’m a terrorist or, perhaps, a suicide bomber. These tales of discrimination in rental housing solely get highlighted when this occurs to Muslim celebrities; in any other case, it is a actuality that the group faces day-after-day. Ansar Shaikh, an IAS officer, stated in 2016 that he had to change his name whereas getting ready for the Union Public Service Commission in Pune.

In one other occasion, in Pune, I recognized an space for the dealer the place the lease was in my finances and the flat was not too removed from my workplace. He warned me {that a} Muslim shopkeeper had not too long ago been evicted from this locality, and “you better not go there”. Ultimately, I had two selections: to seek for a Muslim ghetto that might be safer for me, or pay extra lease and keep farther from the workplace in a extra tolerant space.

At one level, I used to be renting a flat with a buddy who was a Sikh. The neighbour in my absence would inform my roommate, who was additionally my colleague, that you just higher keep away from this Mohammedan man, these individuals are very harmful.. This previous girl additionally used to talk very properly with me at any time when I met her. Maybe she was simply scared that I’d blow up her constructing if she wasn’t good. Everywhere I went, there was a sword of suspicion hanging over my head. I’ve seen heads flip and facial expressions change as soon as I inform them my title and so they perceive which group I belong to.

I had been to Delhi to organize for the Civil Services, and I wished to be an IPS officer sporting that uniform and people stars on my shoulders, singing my nation’s nationwide anthem with immense pleasure. Again, I needed to begin looking for a spot to remain for all of this to occur. My buddy and I began on this journey once more. Everything was finalized; when it got here to signing the rental settlement, the agent checked out my ID card, noticed my title, and stated this could not occur. He took these papers from me, slid them in direction of my youthful buddy, and requested him to signal. He was afraid that the owner wouldn’t desire a Muslim staying of their home. The brokers have additionally turn into very good as of late. In a locality, they’ve an excellent concept of which landlord will lease their dwelling to a Muslim, and who will not.

I bear in mind this incident from Chennai – in Anna Nagar, the dealer, who was additionally an auto-rickshaw driver, stated, “Yeah, don’t even try for that place, that landlord won’t rent it to you. Only cooking egg is allowed in that, but its smell shouldn’t reach downstairs into his house”. It’s a really tough state of affairs; each time I prepare dinner an egg, I’ve to calculate how far the doable draught could journey.

So all over the place I seek for a home, I’m confronted with a dilemma. What ought to I reveal first? That I’m a bachelor, a non-vegetarian bachelor, or a Muslim non-vegetarian bachelor?

I begin by telling the agent that I’m a bachelor after which attempt my luck in any respect types of locations. But apply this triple filter to any locality, and the search outcomes are literally fairly dangerous. You are simply left with the worst of the lot. I’m educated and have skilled a number of privilege; if that is my expertise, what in regards to the much less lucky ones? Denying a rental lodging to individuals due to the faith they belong to or for his or her meals selections is deplorable to say the least.

My nation is a land of unity in variety – or does that apply provided that we’re staying in numerous gated communities, streets, localities which can be fenced primarily based on faith and caste? You inform me.

(Waseem Ahmad is pursuing MPP at Kautilya School of Public Policy. He has two years of expertise within the IT sector.)

Disclaimer: These are the private opinions of the creator.

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