Shared by Misbah Quadri on Facebook
“IN – JUSTICE
“Misbah, you cannot move in to the flat. There are no ifs or buts. This matter is beyond my reach. This society does not allow Muslim tenants and there is nothing I can do about it,” this was the broker of a flat I was set to move in to in a matter of less than 24 hours.
“Come-on! I will be paying the full rent, deposit; will follow rules like – no boys, no smoking, no drinking, etc. But why won’t you allow a Muslim tenant? I don’t get it,” I half screamed down the phone.
“The society’s decision is final. I will see if any jugaad can be done. Consider the answer no but even if something does work out, you would have to submit a NOC stating that if you were to face any kind of harassment from the society, the owner, of this house, the builder and the broker shall not be held liable in any way,” said the broker.
“Harassment? What do you mean by harassment? Will the society residents throw stones at me when they find out that I am a Muslim and see me walking by?” I was genuinely curious about this.
“Oh Misbah, stop talking like that! We live in a civilized society!”
I was almost laughing at this ironic statement the broker had just made and I said, “Of course we don’t! This conversation is a proof of that!”
The broker had had enough by now. “All I am going to say to you is that the society will not allow a Muslim tenant to live in the society and I cannot help in changing this situation. Do not move in to the flat!” With this, the phone line went dead.
With my bags packed, notice period of the current flat over, tempo booked, I was ready to move in to this flat which was in Wadala. After house hunting for quite some time, I had found this flat via a popular social networking site.
A female had contacted me, requesting me to move in as the third roommate of a furnished 3 BHK. Two girls were currently occupying the flat and they were looking for a third flatmate. The day I was supposed to move in to the flat, I got a call from the second flatmate of the house assuring me that they were on my side and that the broker was being an a*****e with his gimmicks. “I have never heard of someone being denied a flat due to such a foolish reason!” she said. And that was the day – April 06, 2015 to be specific when I moved in to the flat.
Within a week of having moved in, I am at office, its 10:30 in the morning, when the broker messages me “I really hope you haven’t moved in to the flat.” I sent across a reply immediately. “Ofcourse I have.” What followed was an exchange of text messages between the broker and I which ended with him stating, “I am going over to the flat. All your stuff will be thrown out. Wait till the call the cops!” I knew this was an empty threat – a “lookhi dhamki” but I couldn’t be sure about it.
I really didn’t know what to do or whom to approach for help. That night I walked home with immense fear and doubts in mind. I didn’t know what was set to happen. I was half expecting my belongings to actually have been thrown out. But thankfully, that had not happened.
Yet. During the next week, my roommates informed me that the broker was sending them a legal notice and that we would have to vacate the flat soon. These two girls would have to leave for taking in a Muslim roommate. Why was the broker going through with all this, simply because he could not tolerate a tenant belonging to a particular religion in the house was beyond my understanding.
I am not even a Muslim by practice. I prefer being referred to as an atheist.
It is true that our Constitution has set goals for ourselves and one such goal is the doing away with discrimination based on religion or sex. But that goal has to be achieved by legislative intervention.
They say, such incidents do not occur in Metros. “Yeh sab toh gaunvo mein hota hai.” This practice is rampant in Gujarat. Yes, we cannot purchase flats in any of the so-called “nice areas” of the state. And this is happening even in Mumbai. This happened when I had just moved to Mumbai, five years ago. And sadly, with time, this situation has only worsened.
Much has been written about this menace. Little has been done to fix it. Probably because it doesn’t affect many. Bachelors hai, inki kisko parvaah? Minority hai, sadne do inhe, etc.
What have we come to? Where have we failed as a nation? Why this ‘divide and rule’ and policy? India is fast becoming a disappointment for its own people. I might soon find it a matter of shame to be identified as an Indian.”