Pride of place
When Nida, now 26, stepped out of her home in Delhi for a physiotherapy course — she would go on to become the first girl in the family to graduate — she thought the battle with reluctant relatives would remain the toughest she would ever fight. But her journey from Delhi to Ahmedabad — she now lives in Patna with her groom — pitted Nida against the deep biases still prevailing in urban India about who one’s neighbour should be.
Against all family advice again, she had decided to take up work at IIM Ahmedabad last November as a research associate. She soon discovered that she could not choose her accommodation in a city that, while claiming to be urban India’s promise, also has among the most tightly separated ghettos in independent India. “I was shocked at the kind of discrimination I saw there,” she says.
Denied the flat she wanted in upscale Vastrapur along with her roommate Shwetambara — from Bihar, from where Nida’s family too originally hails — Nida says what shocked her was that “I was told straight to my face by the landlady, after she had agreed to give us the flat, that she wouldn’t as I was a Muslim. When I asked her how she could say that to my face, she told me casually that it was because of my father’s face;
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