Last year reports surfaced in the newspaper that a minority student was denied home and livelihood in Mumbai because of a social stigma associated with his religion. It seems unimaginable that a particular individual is denied rightful paid habitation merely because of some appendages associated with him, and here we speak of not merely religion, but umpteen number of factors that are taken into account which runs against such individual for renting a home in the business capital of India. RM analyses that how renting a home in Mumbai has become a task in itself!
Prejudiced and stigmatized religion and caste have always been an ante factor that inhibits one’s chances of renting a desirable property. Even a recent UN Institute studies points towards the impeding chances of minority community persons to rent a habitation in the city which has always represented several regions of India due to its vibrant open culture. Whether this problem has emanated from the rising debate of “intolerance”, or rising tide of fundamentalism in Kashmir and West Asia, or whether this was always present and only now came to the fore? One thing is for sure, this has to stop! The landlord has full right to do due diligence of the tenant, but such diligence has to be reasonable and absurd classification such as religion and class shall not be the reason for once denial to attain a desirable rented habitation.
Another prejudice that runs throughout Mumbai’s landlordism is the negative preference or denial given to bachelors, students, professionals such as lawyers etc. Using the arguments, landlords presume a myth that all bachelors are loud and all indulge in immoral activities which disturb the peace and tranquillity of their property. Well, if this argument is believed then I am sure, all immoral elements in the society has to be essentially bachelors and marriage stamps you as a moral citizen of this country. Moreover, stigma towards certain professions such as lawyers, journalists arise out of the fact that they are shrewd and habitual offenders of law. Again, this generalisation shows the cleavage in our society and does no good for the peace and progress of this country, in addition impedes one!
In addition to all this, interviews of tenants who failed to get desirable rented habitation revealed shocking demands and objections of Mumbai landlords. Such objections would include having a female friends come over, late night social gatherings or even employment, long hair and tattooed body, non-secure income, belong to a particular state or village region, non-vegetarian, unhygienic appearance or shabby look, family background etc. All these must seem shocking but these are authentic evidences. This mentality has to go, and shall not represent Mumbaikar-ism.
Apart from high skyrocketing prices of rental in Mumbai, these umpteen factors run that impede renting a place in Mumbai. Mumbai has been the torchbearer of vibrancy, unity in diversity and multiculturalism wherein people from diverse backgrounds and livelihoods come together to work and grow with the city, with also adding their respective contributions to the growth of the city’s economy and development. One is sure that Mumbai shall be a symbolism of what it stood for these decades and not what is totally anti-thesis of the idea of Mumbai!