Efforts are being made these days to create an atmosphere of fear and thus change the social fabric of India in the name of patriotism. Members of religious minorities fear growing intolerance. Mob violence has increased.
But this is not a Hindu vs Muslim conflict. It is hate vs love. The people on the side of hate are neither Hindus nor Muslims, they are demons– monsters in human form.
Imran is a young man who lives in Delhi with his newlywed wife. He came to Delhi 16 years ago with his family and settled in the Jamia Nagar area. His father is a doctor. Imran is head of Public Relations in an MNC. He studied from a reputed college of Delhi University and also got a chance to study at Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi. During his college years and at IIMC, he made many good friends from different parts of the country.
He has no intention to leave this city because he now considers himself a Delhiite. It has also become a matter of dignity to live in the city because his newlywed wife always dreamt of dwelling in Delhi, she actually comes from a small city of a neighboring state! One day his wife asked him, “We are in Delhi, aren’t we?” Imran replied, yes we are in Delhi and asked her why is she asking such a question. His wife said, “Back in my city people always talked about Delhi that power cuts are rare in Delhi but now when I am here we often face power cuts and sometimes for long 4-5 hours.”
Imran thought about his friend who recently moved near INA, saying that power cuts are not that common in the area. Imran pondered, why it is quite often happened in Jamia Nagar and not in other so-called “posh areas” of the city? But he remained quiet, clueless.
Imran loves the area of his residence. It is very close to his heart because he grew up there. He works very hard to maintain pace with the medley city. But he is sometimes worried about the changing temper of the city and its people. It pains Imran when his well educated friends and colleagues ask him; why do Muslims support Pakistan during cricket series or sometimes they even blame him saying he must have prayed for Pakistan’s win!
He deeply ponders on what makes them ask such petty questions despite knowing the fact that the Indian cricket team consists many Muslim players. It hurts him because he too feels proud being an Indian, as much as his friends do. He always tries to find the generating point of such thoughts which his non-Muslim friends hold for him. All such instances make him feel as alienated and discriminated.
He remembers, once his father had to go for a heart check-up. He took him to Jasola’s Apollo hospital. The hospital is well known and caters to many. After the check-up, when he came out of the hospital Imran felt something unfamiliar. He asked auto drivers for a ride to Jamia Nagar, they blatantly refused without citing any reason.
Finally, he unwillingly booked a cab to Jamia Nagar.
He thought; the city perhaps is changing.
Imran recalls the time he went to a nearby bank to apply for a loan, when the manager refused to grant him the loan saying the area Imran lives at is marked as “Negative area”. Imran had also previously heard from some of his friends that they were denied credit card approval just because they belonged to Jamia Nagar.
When Imran asked the bank manager to give the refusal in written, he said: “we can’t give it in written but we are unable to grant loans to people from your locality.” Imran stopped for a moment and thought, “Who lives in these areas? What is wrong with them?” He says, these are the same localities where Shahjahan and Ghalib have walked the pathways. Imran found himself cheated and ill-treated sometimes because of the religion he follows, and now because of the area he resides in.
One day in his office, Imran casually asked one of his colleagues to come home for dinner. His colleague said, “I don’t feel safe in that area. With Urdu hoardings and ghettoized locality, it is like a mini-Pakistan. I think they keep weapons too and might shatter my car”. Imran was not only embarrassed and shocked but also extremely hurt. He felt himself gradually being excluded and people being prejudiced.
With recent attacks on the members of his community, a feeling of insecurity has unconsciously enveloped his mind. This feeling became pronounced when two neighbouring families moved to Munirka from Jamia Nagar as they thought it would be a wise decision concerning their safety and future of their children.
Imran has been in Jamia Nagar for more than a decade. He is attached to his locality. He loves India but he feels betrayed and outcast from a larger social sphere. A victim of hate, anger and mistreatment. He often thinks who is responsible for making such a hateful atmosphere for Muslims? Why our identity is ridiculed to Pakistani or dangerous or terrorist?
Where is equality, harmony, and togetherness? All lost. Who is stimulating and poisoning others against us?
He hopes for better days; when harmony would exist and brotherhood shall prevail.
Citing his childhood days back in his town, he says it was safe everywhere. Practising any religion was never a problem. However, he is optimistic despite his skepticism.
The UnDelhiwalah is an exclusive series wherein Newsd delves into the relationship of the citizenry thriving and surviving in this cosmopolitan city.