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Muslims Housing Problems In Delhi NCR

Housing Apartheid

It is almost impossible for the Indian citizen to find a home in any cosmopolitan who happens to be Muslim. The problem is at its worst in Delhi's most affluent neighborhoods. "The landlords want only Indians, not Muslims,"

Muslims have been driven to the margins of society and to ghettos and slums. In South Delhi areas like Okhla, Abul Fazal Enclave, Zakir Nagar, Batla House, in East Delhi areas like Laxmi Nagar and Darya Ganj in Central Delhi where Muslim population is thick, getting a good dwelling is difficult, because people, fed up with insecurity and exclusion elsewhere, finally come here. The houses are awfully expensive as a result.

Apparently, staying in Muslim-dominated localities infuses us with a sense of security. But that also means putting up with relatively poor infrastructure typified by narrow roads, poor sanitary conditions, few good schools and no credit cards.

We seem to subscribe to the saying 'jaan bachi lakho pai'

Affects of Segregation and Social Composition

Most of the localities like Okhla, Old Delhi, Seelampur, etc. are segregated Muslim areas. Kin- based neighborhoods' are fairly common. The density of population is very high in these settlements. Real estate prices are high, and because of congestion, houses keep on growing upwards as they cannot expand otherwise. For example, in Abul Fazal Enclave prices are higher as compared to Mayur Vihar and Noida.

Besides, these areas are less served by infrastructure facilities like an educational institution, healthcare facilities, roads, bus-stops or even electricity or tap water. Lack of these basic amenities also means that the economic opportunities that may have opened up for Muslims elusive.

The Sachar Committee report found a "clear and significant inverse correlation" between the proportion of the Muslim population and the availability of various facilities, which in turn leads to further social and economic disadvantage.

All Muslim localities end up looking like same. Mostly a linear settlement pattern followed with lots of narrow streets with lanes and by lanes, a booming bazaar on the main street selling everything from grocery, meat, and other necessary items of daily use to clothes, shoes, etc.

Education

What is preventing the Muslims from joining the main stream? Public education does not discriminate.

Education is one of the basic criteria on which the progress of a community can be measured in today's world. To stress the importance of education in Islam, Islamists often quote Prophet Muhammad PBUH who had said that if in search of knowledge, one has to go to China (implying the difficulties in the process) one should. Following this, Muslims should have been educationally very advanced, but, statistics show a different picture. Among the major religious communities of India, Muslims are the most backward as shown by Sachar Committee Report.

The aspects of Muslim life affect education in a big way. Due to the constraints of space, schools are few, especially in Old Delhi. Okhla though is full of schools, but these schools lack basic facilities like playgrounds, spacious classrooms, etc. Most of the schools found in Okhla are all private schools lacking recognition (often till primary) and are mostly Muslim majority schools. They facilitate education for children, as the distance' factor favours' them, and helps parents to send their children to a nearby school. Since, most of the schools in these localities have students from nearby areas only, (i.e. mostly Muslims); these children have no interaction with the kids of other communities....increase the segregation effect in future.

And what education is provided seems to have little relevance to the need of the times. Even in JMI or AMU, departments are clique-ridden, faculty-student relations are deplorable, inefficiency is the order of the day and nepotism and favouritism are rampant.

Formal education structure among Muslim community is not serving its basic purpose: To provide good and relevant education.