No Muslims, Dalits or Single Women : Indian Cities Rental Bias Turning Into Ghettos

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Mumbra is the largest Muslims ghetto in India.(File Photo)

KANPUR: Correctly it has been advertised that it is 2017, yet we are still encountering discrimination, people are not able to find living space anywhere in the country without discrimination.

Informal rules and discrimination by Indian landlords to keep out religious minorities and single people are eroding the multi-cultural nature of India’s cities and dividing communities into ghettos, analysts say.

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It’s 2017 – and we’re still encountering discrimination,” said Rishi Dogra of NestAway Technologies that ran a ad for housing without discrimination.

People should be able to move freely and find a living space anywhere in the country,” said Dogra, marketing head for the company founded by four young male graduates after they had trouble finding a home in Bengaluru.

It is in actuality, there is deliberate discrimination. What connects us is our cosmopolitan attitude but unfortunately, it has not been developed despite scientific way of thinking. Such discrimination has made country’s city centres less diverse and cosmopolitan.

Dalits and Muslims are less likely to find homes

According to earlier research which focused on identifying discrimination in the NCR areas from both the supply and demand ends. The research team led by Prof S K Thorat, chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research reveals that the demand side included Dalit and Muslim home-seekers facing unequal treatment; and the supply side included discrimination practised by the “house providers”, including landlords, real estate agents and brokers.

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While the broad results were categorised as positive and negative, positive was further broken down into differential demands (in terms of rents and security)

Tenants rejected

After phone interaction:

Upper caste Hindus: 0%
Dalits: 18%
Muslims: 31%

After meeting:
Upper caste Hindus: 3%
Dalits: 44%
Muslims: 61%

In other words, the chances of Dalits and Muslims finding a house fell in the case of face-to-face contact. It also means that a significant number of Dalits and Muslims have to spend much more to stay in accommodations in NCR than their upper-caste counterparts.

This indicates a clear case of market failure,” says Thorat, “where even prosperity does not allow you to buy your way out of discrimination… The studies do reveal that Muslims are even worse off than Dalits as far as the rental housing market goes.

What has been raised before us is not wholly a new attitude in the Indian society? It is prevalent since a long time. We are finding its forcefulness in stronger degree in present times. Our socio-political system even sustains it. This mindset divulges clearly at the time of elections.

Experience may be disheartening to those who are not considerate in coordinating with everyone and drawing a kind of undue meaning from it. Homes obviously do not discriminate; it is we who distinguish people on the basis of religion, region and race. What does it matter if one is single or intakes non-vegetarian foods?

It is not only limited to Mumbai, this is prevalent in every city. The more we get sophisticated the more we turn out insular. We seem to be influenced by foreign theories where intolerance rules the roost. Our indigenous society was quite open-minded. This is clear from our social cohesion once existed in the society. It was the British rule that brought this disease into our quiet society.

Otherwise, the country’s commercial hub used to be a commune for people professing varied religions. There were housing societies or co-operatives extending help to other community people but with the expansion of powerful housing societies, everyone was not able enough to secure homes.

This syndrome has been pervading since 1992-93 as Zakia Soman states.
Although our constitution allows equality yet housing societies frame discriminatory guidelines suiting them, asserts a real estate solicitor. Even the flick “Bachelor Girls” focusses upon this malady extensively. Such trend in Mumbai marginalises minorities and single women, several think so.

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