Have you ever wondered how the prejudices that are instilled in us since childhood make us intolerant rigid people, unwilling to be accepting of others? The world liberal has become a curse today, and secularism a jibe. Intolerance rubs our collective secularist nose into the dirt that is the new reality of India, where orthodox beliefs are not just unwavering, they are endorsed with fervour. Those in the minority; sexual, religious or any other kind, are the ones who pay the cost of this rigidity. A Muslim woman recently revealed in a Twitter thread, how she was prevented from renting a house she liked due to her religion.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • A Muslim woman has recounted on Twitter how she was refused to be able to rent a house due to her religion.
  • Indian society is increasingly becoming intolerant and rigid.
  • The rifts on the lines of religion, caste, gender, sexuality etc., are more pronounced than ever. 
  • We refuse to see people beyond the tags put on them which classify them as a minority and thus a social anomaly.

This isn’t the first incident where people have had to struggle to rent houses due to prejudices. Single mothers, divorced women, same sex couples, those who lie outside the spectrum of what our society labels acceptable or regular, have to struggle to live normal lives in more ways than one.

“Great news! After looking for an apartment for more than 6 months we finally narrowed down on a house that made us happy. We gave the landlords token last week. Apparently, we’ve just been informed we’ve been rejected by society because we are a Muslim couple.” This isn’t the first incident where people have had to struggle to rent houses due to prejudices. Single mothers, divorced women, same sex couples, those who lie outside the spectrum of what our society labels acceptable or regular, have a tough time living normal lives in more ways than one. This isn’t just about religious prejudice, but our general tendency to be unaccepting of those who challenge our conventional upbringing in any way.

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We are a society that is deeply insecure. So shaky are the grounds of our orthodox and patriarchal conditioning that any “abnormality” seems like a threat to our way of life. We forget to look at those who are different from us as people, because we can’t take our eyes off the tags that society puts on them. A judgemental attitude keeps us from seeing a single mother or a divorcee, as a woman struggling to sustain herself, or a person belonging to a religious minority as someone who is struggling hard to fit into the majority, a same sex couple or a transgender person, having to endure our absolute rejection.

It is alarming, the rate at which we are retreating further into our comfort zone as a society unwilling to understand the cause for hatred, bias and the fear of what we do not understand.

Little do we realise that such alienation only creates a more divided society, where each one of us will have to fend for ourselves sooner or later. Today it is a couple struggling to find accommodation due to their religion, what is the guarantee that it couldn’t be you tomorrow, on one ground or the other? You cannot keep doling out hostility and expect acceptance in return.

It is alarming, the rate at which we are retreating further into our comfort zone as a society unwilling to understand the cause for hatred, bias and fear for what we do not understand. Or let me rephrase, which our conservative upbringing fails to explain to us. Denying people basic rights like getting accommodation, just because it challenges our comfort levels, speaks volumes of how we are oblivious to our privilege. The question however is, have we gone too far down this path to be able to redeem ourselves or one can still hope? Hope for a kinder, warmer and loving society, where people aren’t refused basic necessities based on their identity.

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

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