From not getting a job to being denied a rented apartment, discrimination in the civil society have existed for ages. The only difference is, victims were not outspoken. To think only the “backward” and not so “broad minded” would do this, was what people who turn a blind eye to issues like these, might have thought or at least portrayed.
Religion, caste, etc apparently are considered something only pushed by the “hardliners”. People with better things to worry about like “development” have bigger things to ponder about, right?
And to think of our cosmopolitan cities being part of pushing religious agendas forward, is something totally absurd. Unfortunately, it isn’t.
Be it directly pointing out, like the incident in Kolkata where a bearded Muslim was termed as “terrorist”, or simply not accepting a job application as the Mumbai Company’s policy is to not accept Muslim candidates, or subtly hinting around responses like these. This mindset is deeply entrenched in our society for long and is passed on from generations like some sort of treasure.
Speaking from personal experience, religious based discrimination have been seen first-hand. Remember this one time in Bangalore, when I was on the lookout for a flat in my bid to move away from the PG. The very cheerful land-lord, a young 30-something guy, told me about the place in a very excited tone. After some five minutes of talk about where I worked and stuff like that, while showing me around he asked my name.
You know how some people are great at hiding their displeasure and keep it to themselves? Well, this one wasn’t the type. Name reveals your religion and asking a name is much easier than asking your religion, right? Not just his tone changed but he also asked me in a very visibly rude tone, “You’ll be cooking Beef here? Because it is not allowed.”
I was glad that I didn’t liked the place. I didn’t made a big fuss out of it that time. Just like I never do when someone from office or during my years at college, wishing Happy Independence day” on 14th August itself or would jokingly refer as terrorist”, “Jihadi” when wearing anything remotely religious, or even sporting a little stubble. I doubt what will happen when I’ll end up growing a beard!!
It is sad to see people being so openly discriminating others, but governments or laws cannot change the thinking. One cannot blame the change in Government for this scenario completely, this has been here for long. Of course, those voices are more empowered now.
Pointing out mistakes or wrong-doing in others is easy. You can brush this issue under the many rosy carpets of the “Idea of India” where we all live in harmony. Don’t be a defensive Indian in turning a blind eye to these issues. I’m pretty sure you’ll encounter many idiots for whom their religion or caste is supreme. Stop them right there, because the idea of one being superior often leads to looking down others as inferior.
Get off those high horses or religious or caste, and learn to speak up. If you think there won’t come a time when situation is reversed, then you’re seriously mistaken. History bears testimony to this. The oppressor-opressee shifts have went on for ages. Unless this mindset is not changed, expect someone else to use this to oppress you in future. There are no dearth of idiots on either side.