I didn’t want to tell my story until I saw TV actor Eijaz Khan alleging that he was denied accommodation because of his religion. Well, I don’t deny his allegations but my experience has been totally different. While hunting for a home on rent, which I need for just 4 to 6 months in Greater Noida West area of NCR, I thought it would not be an easy task in Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh.
Why would a Hindu landlord rent a flat to a Muslim family of four members only for 4 to 6 months? Some of my friends asked this question and they answered it as well. Will a Muslim landlord rent a house to a Hindu family in Jamia area?
Yes, such questions do arise while you rent your property to a completely unknown family or an individual. These questions remain deep inside you, but usually do not come out. But such questions remain, forcing you to follow stereotypes and go with the labels like Hindu, Muslims, and Christians. This claptrap makes you judge people by his/her religion, race, caste and place of birth. This creates a notion that is highly generalised, deeply flawed and creates biases. This happens everywhere – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai etc.
Now back to my experience. With a doubtful mind, we started our search for a rented accommodation in Greater Noida West telling prospective landlords that since our flat in the area will take 4 to 6 months to be completed. We needed a house on rent till we get the possession of our own flat. As we had secured admission of our kids in a nearby school, we needed to shift in April. On the second day, a broker told me that he had shortlisted a flat for me and we could shift immediately.
“Did you tell him that we are a Muslim family,” I asked. The broker replied in the affirmative and repeated what the landlord had said. My landlord had told the broker – “Religion doesn’t matter and we all are humans be it Hindu, Muslims or any other religion.” My second question was – “When can we meet our landlord?” The broker answered that the landlord can come and meet us after we had shifted. After some paperwork, we shifted in the flat without any hassle. I spoke to my landlord on phone and invited him for a cup of tea. He said he would come to collect rent next month. We are yet to meet as the broker went to his house to get the rent agreement signed while I was busy with shifting.
Now, the most pertinent question: How would I have reacted had I faced difficulty in getting a house on rent? Probably, I may have reacted like Eijaz Khan. People might think so. But no! Being a Muslim has never blocked my path. To be brutally honest, I have always been treated well and grew in my profession without any biases from any quarter. I am a journalist and am capable of noticing any such biases. So my answer to the most pertinent question is – I would not have blamed my religion for any denial of accommodation as my experience doesn’t suggest so. Having said this, I would also not like to judge the people who blame their religion in such matter. To each his/her own.
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