“Muslim ho?” asked the broker before providing the address of the apartment. Delhi-based human rights activist, Mariya Salim wasn’t taken aback by this inquiry since this wasn’t the first time someone had asked her this while she was house-hunting.
Having moved to Delhi back in 2012, her experience in finding a place to rent has never exactly been pleasant. She has constantly faced discrimination based on her religion to the extreme that she longer has a decent place to call home at the present moment.
Does this happen because the current religious-based political situation in our country is creating these mindsets? Or were they always prominently living among us and we were too ignorant to pay attention?
Salim claims that even after she has increased her budget to double, no landlord wants her to rent their properly based on the sole fact that she is a Muslim. She also revealed that apart from being downright racist, people are so oblivious to how uneducated and conservative they sound. It’s either a flat out rejection, “No, I don’t want a Muslim to live in my house” or “No, don’t worry. I am well-aware that not all Muslims are terrorists.”
The situation has gotten out of hand to the point where a broker clearly told Salim that people believe that women from Afghanistan are involved in prostitution rackets and that is the reason they do not rent out properties to Indian Muslim women.
Why would anyone in their sane mind want to even interact with racist and bigoted people? They are living proof that the concept of secularism only exists in the Constitution and not in their values. From big cities to small towns, this concept isn’t alien to people who belong to minority communities.
Tanish Sheikh, a French-language student in Chandigarh has faced similar discrimination in the ‘planned city’. Landlords have gone back on their words even after the whole process was complete and payments were made. Not realising her religion based on just her first name, Tanish has had to face extreme inconvenience due to people’s discrimination against Islam.
This story first appeared on indiatimes.com