Dekho Hamara Hindustan at a Micro Level


By Kollengode S Venkataraman

e-mail:  ThePatrika@aol.com

Recently, there were sporadic news in the Indian English media on Muslims having difficulties in getting housing in cities like Mumbai. This news was picked up by the global media. Understandably, the Pakistani media also picked up the story to berate India’s secular credentials. Pakistan’s problem in dealing with divisions within Islam is far more serious with routine murders of Shias by its Sunni extremists.

In Pakistan, when they discuss the need for communal harmony, it is not about reducing tensions among Muslims (95% of the population), Hindus (1.5%) and Christians (1.5%); it is about reducing the tension between Shias (20%) and Sunnis (75%).

In any case, when The Hindu, a leading English daily from Chennai, published the story on the Muslims’ difficulty in housing in Mumbai, a reader’s response to the Letters-to-the-Editor highlighted how insidious this problem is in India at the microlevel.

Here is a letter written by one Annadurai Jeeva from the world-famous Vaishnava temple town Srirangam in Tamil Nadu that appeared in The Hindu (http://tinyurl.com/Story-On-Srirangam):

 “Judicial interventions and legislative actions are not enough to eradicate the endemic discrimination in matters such as housing. The problem is not peculiar to Mumbai.

In Srirangam [the famous Vaishnava temple-town in Tamil Nadu], it is quite impossible for even an Iyer family [who are Smarta-
Advaita  Brahmins] to find rented accommodation in an area dominated by Iyengars [Vaishnava Brahmins], not to speak of families belonging to the OBCs and the SCs, which only exposes the hollow claims of India possessing a secular identity. 

Other intermediate castes in the periphery are averse to the SCs, Muslims and Christians… …”                     

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