Hospitality In The USA And India

My blog friend Lizwi from South Africa had this to say in his comments on my post “Visitor”. “Wow! I feel greatly honoured. I can assure you that what you say in this post is exactly what you always do to us, your online visitors. I doubt if my visitors (online and offline) can say the same about me. I really need to work on my social skills. This is a challenge I must accept. What do you think about US hospitality after the 09/11 event?”

I responded -“Lizwi, thank you for your very kind words.

I think that I shall write a post on the hospitality of the US after 9/11.”

Having given that undertaking I have been trying all this while, two weeks, to get some information on the subject and in the meanwhile got hit with Pune’s own 13/02. All indications are that the Pune blast was the handiwork of islamic militants and now, I am in a quandry.

I have made no secret of my anti terrorist sentiments and have also said that at various times, my islamophobia shoots up. As I write this, it has not come down after the Pune blast as, the rhetoric from across our border has gone shriller.

Some soul searching is called for. A close relative of mine chose not to sell his used car to a Muslim despite being offered a higher price because, he could not take the risk of that car being used for some nefarious purpose and being traced back to him. Land lords are not willing to let out accomodation to Muslims and Housing societies in India are not prepared to transfer ownerships to Muslims.

On an average, I get three emails everyday from Hindu organizations and sympathizers about Hindutva and anti Muslim propaganda. Others say that they get more. My Muslim neighbour applied for renewal of her passport and had to undergo indignities that a fellow Hindu neighbour would not have had to.

Everything that seems odd to non Muslims gets highlighted, even by me. Just see my post on prayer time and HE The Ambassador

So, Lizwi, post 9/11, Indian Muslims who go to the USA including some famous actors and politicians have to undergo stringent immigration checks and since the officials in the USA do not know the difference between a Hindu, a Sikh and a Muslim from his name, as long as he is brown, he is subject to indignities there just as the Indian Muslim in India is finding it difficult in India today. So much so that many things are being written about the problem, and slowly the Indian Muslim intelligentia is taking courage to come out openly against the extreme forms of Islam that is being brought into India by wahabi schools financed by Saudi Arabia. Among the recent writings, I found one by Najeeb Jung very interesting and you can read him here.

Before the Pune blast, we had our Mumbai carnage 26/11 just over year ago. Many guests to our country lost their lives. In our Pune blast, injured/dead guests included 12 foreign nationals -five Iranians, two each from Sudan and Nepal, one each from Yemen, Taiwan and Germany. As an Indian host, what should I tell these guests and their families?

Truth be told Lizwi, hospitality everywhere, including in India, is becoming selective in an atmosphere of violence and intolerance being spread by forces beyond your and my control and understanding. Everyone says “better be safe than sorry.” So, if guests in the USA are finding it difficult, I can understand why the hosts are being difficult.

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