Ali Husain is a prosperous young Indian Muslim businessman. He recently bought a Mercedes and lives in a suburban-style gated community that itself sits inside a ghetto.
In Gujarat, it is so difficult for Muslims to buy property in areas dominated by Hindus even the community’s fast-growing urban middle class is confined to cramped and decrepit corners of cities.
Husain embodies the paradox of Gujarat: the state’s pro-business leadership has created opportunities for entrepreneurs of all creeds; yet religious prejudice and segregation are deeply, and even legally, engrained.
If a Muslim enquires about a property in a new development, often the response is: “Why are you even asking?” said Husain, speaking at his home in the Muslim neighborhood of Juhapura, where filthy slum streets rub against smart new apartment blocks and enclaves.