Religious identity an obstacle to house hunting in Delhi

NEW DELHI: Twitter has been agog with the story of Ambreen Zaidi, an Army officer’s wife who claimed she was unable to rent a house in the Capital because of her religious identity.

Faced with a similar predicament, many Muslims, among them educated urbanites, prefer to live in congested “ghettos” such as the Walled City and Jamia Nagar. Their sense of being treated as “the other” drives them to clusters where their identity is not a questionable attribute.

Zaidi’s Twitter profile says she is a writer and a “proud Indian faujan”. Despite her Army, and therefore, impeccable nationalist credentials, her house-hunting problems have not ceased for all the hubbub on Twitter. Zaidi first made news on May 19 when she wrote,”We have been looking for a house in Delhi, owners refuse when they come to know our religion, on our face.” She was responding to a tweet about how insecure people from the minority communities feel when they migrate.

Her reply immediately caught the attention of social media. “My husband is an Army officer but that doesn’t matter! Our name /religion is the deciding factor,” she posted.

Zaidi’s story came as no surprise to Jamshed Khan, a TV journalist who has faced this problem for 15 years. A resident of Ganesh Nagar, Khan has a Hindu landlord who has been exceptionally nice to him. But his efforts to find a house in a better locality have yielded no result. “Earlier the property dealers used to try to find houses for me but they began telling me it was getting tougher because on hearing my name, people would rebuff the property dealers,” said Khan. “Even when I tell them that I am married to a Hindu woman and don’t eat meat by choice, they don’t relent.”

All that Khan wants is a better ambience for his children. He, however, does not want to move to Jamia Nagar. “Even the auto drivers refuse to ferry you to Jamia from other parts of the city,” claimed Khan.

Li ke him, photographer Mustafa Quraishi, a Gurgaon resident, relates completely with Zaidi’s experience. “I had moved to Mumbai about a decade ago and was shocked to find people not giving me a house on rent because of my name. I was forced to sleep in my car which I had driven in from Delhi,” he said, adding that he found a house owned by a Muslim, through a Muslim agent and a Muslim property dealer.

So, Zaidi focused on Noida. “Disheartened by Delhi we shifted our focus to Noida but it was the same story!” she said in a reply.

Credits ET Realty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *