A Tale Of ‘Two Cities’: Hindu-Muslim Divide Deepening In Ahmedabad, India

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Sectarian tensions between Hindus and Muslims — always bubbling under the surface of India's chaotic and teeming urban streets and which frequently explode into deadly violence – appear to be rising in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat state. According to a report in The Hindu newspaper, Muslims in the city – complaining of increasing discrimination and official neglect in a state ruled by controversial Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – are gradually concentrating in “ghettoes” along the perimeter of the huge and diverse city. In previous years, Muslims lived in various neighborhoods across the city.

One such “Islamic quarter” Juhapur (believed to be the largest Muslim “ghetto” in all of Asia) is crowded with at least 400,000 Muslims. Prior to the communal riots that swept parts of Gujarat in 2002, Juhapur, on the western end of Ahmedabad, only had a population of about 250,000. “Most [Muslim] ghettos have come up on the fringes of the city, away from the Hindu mainstream and lacking in basic amenities,” said an op-ed in The Hindu paper. “[These ghettoes] present a picture of filth, slush and puddles of dirty water. They swarm with flies and mosquitoes. There are no sewerage lines. A foul smell permeates the air. There is no water supply, and whatever is drawn is not always [drinkable].”

Just adjacent to the Muslim enclave of Sajid Row Houses is a clean, affluent Hindu neighborhood called “Dharmabhoomi Society” with all social services available. Muslims blame the BJP-controlled Ahmedabad Municipal Corp. (AMC) for the sharp contrast in living conditions and services between the two neighborhoods. “What more can explain the reality than the fact that ours is a Muslim [neighborhood] and theirs is not?” said Subedar Shaikh, a retired railway employee and resident of Sajid Row. But BJP characterizes complexes like Sajid Row as “illegal Muslim colonies.”

Written By: Palash Ghosh
continue to source article at ibtimes.com

12 COMMENTS

  1. A similar level of bigotry once happened to all sorts of groups in every world city…
    Almost every faction of society is guilty of some discrimination toward those they don’t agree with….Not all of it – is as obviously bigoted as this but some is much worse…….
    Even though everyone knows it still goes on all the time at some level….its hard to prove…
    But if its an institutional prejudice – citizens could ban together to lobby the politicians and at least protest against bigotry …Ghandi came from Gujarat…the Hindu leaders ‘should’ understand peaceful protests….

  2. I assume that its the separatist and self segregating mentality of Muslims, to be the likely main reason responsible for their woes,
    just about where ever they find themselves! I recall something like this also happening in Myanmar, except in there, they had trouble getting along with Buddhists. Islam surely has to be the foulest religion of all religions!
    Its like Neo Nazi’s crying about discrimination.

    • In reply to #4 by Terra Watt:

      I assume that its the separatist and self segregating mentality of Muslims, to be the likely main reason responsible for their woes,
      just about where ever they find themselves! I recall something like this also happening in Myanmar, except in there, they had trouble getting along with Buddhists. Isl…

      That is the same stupidity as the Nazi argument the Jews preferred living in ghettos. Replace Muslim with Jew in your post and everyone knows your politics. And replace Myanmar with Russia.
      Fascist tendencies seem to be universal, it is always to find a scapegoat for the worlds problems and then blame the victim.

  3. When I was in India in 1985 in Bombay (now Mumbai), the newspapers were full of stories calling for the nuking of Pakistan. I had no idea how strong the hostilities were. The papers were so openly racist. I gather things have got worse since then.

    We tend to worry about USA-Russia or Israel-Iran, but I think WWW III will start in India-Pakistan.

    • In reply to #5 by Roedy:

      When I was in India in 1985 in Bombay (now Mumbai), the newspapers were full of stories calling for the nuking of Pakistan. I had no idea how strong the hostilities were. The papers were so openly racist. I gather things have got worse since then.

      We tend to worry about USA-Russia or Israel-Iran…

      @Roedy, I normally agree with most of what you say but you are completely wrong here. Would you take the view of national newspapers to be the public opinion or the foreign policy? Would you form an opinion about Britain based solely on the two leading newspapers – The Sun and Daily Mail

      India might be extremely poor and extremely oppressed by oligarchy and heavily divided by culture and religion and language, but I would seriously doubt that we would start a World war. In their millenias of existence, neither China or India has gone into global occupation or conflict. It is not in the cultural fabric of these nation states to kill “others” for what they believe. Having instigated 2 global conflicts, countless genocide, countless destruction of natural habitats and shameless subjugation of fellow sentient beings, Europeans should learn to be a bit more humble, don’t you think?

      When asked what he thought of Western civilization, ‘I think it would be a good idea.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

  4. Global warming ocean rising will flood the agricultural land in India and Pakistan. Global warming is rapidly melting the snowcaps and glaciers in the Himalayas that irrigate both countries. As land and water becomes ever scarcer, India and Pakistan will have to be at each other’s throats even without the religious tensions. Part of me is glad I am nearing the end of my life and may escape having to experience this.

    • In reply to #6 by Roedy:
      The kind of consequences of G ‘l W’g you have alluded will influence every corner of the world–not just India and Pak’n. Besides, the world will still be safe at large if the western power let them fight with their own muscle power, be it Iran-Israel or India-Pakistan…but this is not going to happen. US/Russia will be too eager to supply deadly arms to these nations and the rest of the world. Us foreign policy alone has doomed the world of more violence than the would-be violence from a potential Global warming-induced conflict.

  5. I wonder if these Muslims reflect on the fact that they aren’t paying a Jizya Tax to the Hindu Indian Government? If one reads the ‘Rationale’ section for this tax in the link below, you’ll see how it would be if the roles were reversed.

    “Though jizya was mandated initially for People of the Book, that is other monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Sabians), under the Maliki school of Fiqh jizya was extended to all non-Muslims. Thus some Muslim rulers collected jizya from Hindus and Sikhs under their rule.”

    “Jizya tax had to be paid by each non-Muslim male in person, by presenting himself, arriving on foot not horseback, by hand, in order to confirm that he lowers himself to being a subjected one, accepts humiliation of having been conquered, willingly pays in gratitude for his life being spared in lieu of the taxes.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jizya

    As usual, religion poisons everything, and may well hasten the end of civilization as we know it…. Mac.

    • In reply to #7 by CdnMacAtheist:

      I wonder if these Muslims reflect on the fact that they aren’t paying a Jizya Tax to the Hindu Indian Government? If one reads the ‘Rationale’ section for this tax in the link below, you’ll see how it would be if the roles were reversed.

      “Though jizya was mandated initially for People of the Book,…

      Interesting. It sounds like a tax imposed on outsiders and it’s strange that I’d never heard of it before. I suppose the tax is made high enough to be an imposition, but not so high that the outsider would leave the country.

      It’s sad that any one group are made to live in squalor. I wonder how their way of life compares to that of the Untouchables?

  6. The hypocrisy of religions and religious people… On the one hand, they tell “immoral atheists” that “they should respect other people’s religious faith” when it is in fact THEM who have no respect for people of a faith other than their own. What they really mean is that “we should respect THEIR faith but it’s ok to despise religions other than their own”.

    What a bunch of condescending, self-righteous bullies. And they have the gall to accuse atheists of destroying religion when historically, they are the ones who have been (and still are) at each other’s throats for ages.

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