Monday, October 30, 2006

A Muslim Ghetto in New Delhi

The Indian masses have no faith in the secular democratic government of their country. It is evident from the wide-spread corruption and null participation of the people in the participation of democratic process. If any ordinary Indian should be asked about the integrity of the public representatives and government servants, a majority of those would refuse to have faith in them except those having some vested interest. People have a belief deep down in their hearts that secular democracy doesn’t solve the problems of mankind.

Similar is the case of Muslim community living across the globe having no faith in the secular democratic governments. Therefore we see that the Muslim minorities living in any part of the world try to preserve their culture, Islamic values and identity by separating themselves. Or sometimes they are separated by the establishments through prejudiced treatment with them. They have firm faith in Islam that it resolves the problems of mankind in the best way.
Today these Muslim dominated areas are termed as 'ghettos' by the people of the West. One phenomenon is similar to all Muslims’ ghettos that they are neglected by the secular governments all over the world.

Like several ghettos in India, there is an area in the southern part of Okhla, New Delhi, known as Jamia Nagar, founded by Dr. Zakir Hussain, the late president of India.
It is the largest Muslim minority concentrated area in Delhi sheltering Muslims from all walks of life and administrative offices of most of the prominent Muslims’ national organizations. It stretched from Zakir Nagar to Shaheen Baag adjacent to U.P. border. Abul Fazal Enclave and Shaheen Baag accommodate lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of Muslims alone beside Zakir Nagar, Batla House and Gaffar Manzil. The whole Jamia Nagar in general and these two areas in particular are getting ‘motherly treatment’ since their inception. An ‘ideal condition’ of acute shortage of electricity can be witnessed here. The area doesn’t have proper dumping facility. Two huge sewages running parallel at one side. One of it is Agra canal turned into a canal-sewage carrying most of the dump of South Delhi. The roads are rough, streets unplastered and uncared drainage system. There is no arrangement of supply water from Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). People rely on underground water which is declared unhygienic by the government agencies. Either one has to buy a polythene bag of water for Re. 1 which carries 1 glass of water. Selling water is a hot cake for the vendors who collect water from MCD tapes from adjacent localities. Some people also set up small water refineries and supply water at Rs 10 per cane which carries 20 litres of water.

It is an irony that most of Muslim representative political and religious organizations execute their administration from here while turning a blind eye to the problems of the local people. They should give some of their efforts to attract the attention of the State government and its bodies. But, as mentioned earlier, people have no confidence in secular democracy which has lowered their morale in the reformation and development process.

Abu Musab, New Delhi
29th October 2006

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