06 December, 2020

One Side Of The Divide

An Outlook investigation finds ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ has left the state’s Muslims in an economic ghetto

One Side Of The Divide

Medina Warsi’s ageing husband isn’t employed, and for want of any other job, keeps accounts at the tea stall she runs in ‘Bombay Hotel’, a sprawling slum on Ahmedabad’s outskirts. You walk to this area through refuse and rubble. Only Muslims live here, in dwellings bereft of municipal attention. His dubious sinecure keeps Mr Warsi busy for perhaps half an hour a day—the tea stall makes slim profits, Rs 250 on a good day. Yet, visiting neighbours openly gawk at the sum—they earn much less stitching nighties for Re 1 apiece, embroidering shirt collars or rolling bidis. The Warsis’ income, though, isn’t enough to fix the man’s unknown ailment, the one that keeps him unemployed.

Bombay Hotel is 25 minutes from the city’s upmarket western districts, dotted with thousands of atms, business centres and multiplexes, criss-crossed by the best metalled roads in the country. Originally built to house 20,000 people, it now accommodates 90,000 or more, swelling with the 2002...



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