A report published in TOI says a builder is constructing 'Muslim-only' apartments in Greater Noida. The builder, Adarsh Group, is promoting the apartments - Gulistaan Golf View Heights - as "dream homes for elite Muslim brotherhood".
The report goes on saying, it will have a mosque, a madrassa, and will face Qibla - the direction a Muslim faces when offering prayers. Construction is likely to begin by the end of this month.
Well, it is unique experiment, since for the first time a developer has narrowed its focus down to a particular community and will cater to the needs specific to the community. But, one wonders whether such townships at all fit constitutional ethos of India.
Against India's constitutional ethos
India is a land of unity in diversity where people of all sections of the society live together in peace and harmony. Visit any neighbourhood and you can hear ringing of temple bells and prayers from a mosque at the same time.
Confining a particular community to a particular area would make them more vulnerable in case of violence. Hence, people living in a particular area would become a soft target to social miscreants or vested interest groups.
As per the TOI report, renowned political scientist Imtiaz Ahmed said the idea of India is rooted in inclusion and integration of all communities. "But such an apartment complex, dedicated exclusively to a particular community, makes them more vulnerable in case of violence and disturbance. Besides, it goes against the constitutional ethos of the country," he added.
Welcome move by some
A few might consider it as a good move as it will bring people of a particular community together and hence it will be easier for them to celebrate their festivals or perform their rituals at ease. They think it will give them a freedom to chose a locality of their own and also free them of the humiliation as several landlords are not in favour of renting houses to Muslims.
But, it would render the innocent kids to learn a little about others' traditions and cultures. Children, irrespective of each others' community, are seen playing and bonding with each other.
These playgrounds are not only confined to playing games, kids here even know about the others' faiths and religions. It is here where kids start respecting one's 'Bhagwan' and the others' 'Allah' or 'Christ'. This bonding lays the foundation stone of a socially and communally strong India.
Now, consider a place where kids of one community get to know about their faiths and religions but have no idea about the other faiths/religions. Living in a secluded neighbourhood would eventually result in alienating them from other sections of the society and they would not be able to learn and respect others' faith.
Of course these kids will be in each others' touch at schools, but schools are no place of informal bonding.
It would have been better if the builder had planned to bridging the gap between people by constructing places of worship for people of every faith to inculcate communal harmony instead of creating a rift.
Well planned strategy by the developer?
Whatever may be the outcome of such a specific township but one thing is for sure, it has given a perfect opportunity for the developer to gain some free publicity by raking up a controversial issue. This would definitely draw some eyeballs towards their project.
Hence, it will be interesting to see whether such a plan gets a thumbs up from the people or will the developer be forced to change his idea.