Monday, July 22, 2013

A Muslim Professor's efforts to rent a house in Ahmedabad

“On house-hunting at Bopal, I introduced myself as Prof Malik to an owner who took me as a Punjabi. He assured me of no hurdles in loan processing. But the deal couldn’t take place the moment I told him about my faith. The owner expressed his inability to sell the house to a non-vegetarian. I could just quip ‘Aren’t Punjabi non-vegetarian?’ But his understanding was beyond the realm of logic,” said Prof Malik, sharing his experience. The professor had almost got a house on rent through a common friend. “IIT-Gn was willing to pay extra rent for the house. Everything was finalised but the society members reportedly opposed the owner’s decision of giving the house on rent to a Muslim. Two days later when I was preparing to shift, I was told that the house was given to someone else,” he said.

More here. Prof. Javed Malik is currently at IIT-K.

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Update (23 July 2013): The link appeared in my RSS feed yesterday, I didn't check the date on the story; it turns out that it was published over 16 months ago (February 2012). Hat tip to Sunil Mukhi, who goes on to point out:

Though this story is often used for Modi-bashing, for once I don't think it's his fault (and nor is it Sonia/Rahul's fault, though so many believe them to be the root of all evil in our country!). The remarkable thing is that such blatant and ignorant discrimination is practised not by uneducated villagers, but by the upwardly mobile residents of elegant housing complexes. Even in the stylish new developments in Pune there are signs warning against "renting out to bachelors and foreigners". This is a general statement of prejudice but also comfortably covers the many Iranian students in the city. The same is true in certain areas of Malabar Hill in Bombay, where buildings are declared "vegetarian" in a bid to keep out the obvious communities. And let's not forget the time the actress Pooja Bedi Ibrahim (as she was then) was asked to drop the "Ibrahim" when applying for a credit card. "You see madam, our bank doesn't give credit cards to Muslims" she was told. It wasn't the BJP or the Congress that took this decision. It was a middle-class bank official. In other words it was you, me and our uncles and aunts.