The Sunday Story “Closing the door on Muslims in our cities” (July 8) unfairly accuses members of other faiths of not renting out their houses to the minorities. Don’t people have the freedom to decide who should be their tenant? True, some people have reservations against some social groups. But it is primarily due to their food habits and lifestyle. People from some States love fish and use mustard oil for frying. Many people do not like the smell. The faith of some minorities does not permit them to sing, dance or socialise even during festivals. This can lead to frictions.
For every Muslim who is denied housing because of his name, there are the likes of the Aggarwals of Bharat Nagar, South Delhi, where I stayed on rent. This is not to deny that communalism has assumed alarming proportions and Muslims are at the receiving end. The world media has portrayed Muslims as being opposed to modernity, women, and world peace. Such ideas have percolated deeply everywhere, including India, and destroyed the centuries-old bonds of friendship and tolerance. The state should make efforts through the media and educational programmes to change this scenario. Political parties should ask their cadres to propagate Hindu-Muslim unity.
Arif Ahmed Choudhury,
If only Muslim leaders stop preaching extremism and help the community mingle more with others, discrimination will start declining.
There will still be landlords who would want to rent their houses out to “like-minded” people but those with a broader outlook will not be apprehensive about letting out their homes to Muslims.
I have had Muslim tenants for 10 years. There has never been a problem with them. They are very decent. They keep the house neat and tidy, and even undertake minor repairs without waiting for us to do them. I spent my childhood with many Muslim friends in Royapettah, Chennai. We had a good time together and I even learnt to speak Urdu. There are good and bad people in all communities. Keeping away from people just because they are Muslims makes no sense.
We eat neither eggs nor meat at home. It was very tempting to add the clause of “only vegetarians” when we wanted to rent out our flat in Chennai. But the unfairness of denying our house on the basis of religion and dietary habits hit us hard on our face and we are happy we took out the clause. All we had to do was to put ourselves in the affected parties’ shoes.
While in Vijayawada, I found a house with modern amenities. Even though the rent was 50 per cent more than the prevailing rate, I requested the person who was in charge of renting the house that I may be permitted to bring my family members to get their approval before paying the advance. The person agreed. After half-an-hour, when I went to the house with my family, he refused to take the advance saying the house owner had instructed him not to let it out to Muslims. This happened 12 years ago.
I had a similar experience in Hyderabad. I could not find a house near my children’s school. I had no choice but to find a house owned by Muslims, in a Muslim dominated area.
Even in “secular” cities like Chennai, I have been told on my face “we don’t give our house to Muslims.” Of course, people quickly clarified that it was only because I was a non-vegetarian. I lived in Germany for nearly four years and never faced any discrimination, even though we are quick to call Germans racist.
If I ever decide to rent out my flat, I have a good mind to include a “no vegetarians” clause so that people realise how bad it feels.
Abdul Rahman Noor,
Muslims face problems in not only finding a house but also renting out their own homes. A few students from IIT, Roorkee, including me, were in Bharuch, a Muslim majority district in Gujarat, for summer internship. After a long hunt for accommodation, we found a Muslim who agreed to give us his house on rent. But, to my surprise, my friends refused to stay in a Muslim’s house.
Voggu Vikas Reddy,