I was almost declared a terrorist in centre of Delhi at Connought Place, on 25th January 2010 by a sitting Police men, because I had a hotel card from Ladakh (J&K), where I volunteered for flood relief. He saw medal hanging in my arse, as I passed by him and the excitement increased with me wearing beard and a card of J&K in my wallet.
I don’t remember anyone other than Tagore, who had a beard and was a good guy in the media. The demise of beard and its negative image in all forms of media does not encourage people to keep it. The head can be held high, with the heaviness of beard too, but the mind is full of fear for the bearded and the imagined
I have been in Mumbai for more than two years. And wearing a beard and kurta, makes people think that I follow Islam. When I started looking for a affordable house in Navi mumbai, they rejected me as they thought I was Muslim. I did not argue or uttered my name, the intolerance and hate in the air was enough
to scare me, though I have a Hindu name and uncircumcised penis. The space was not religious but angry and intolerant.
These spaces are not only result of the policies of he governement but also the daily projection of it by media. While the spaces designed by public policies of government force lower income groups and minorities to live in ghettoised community everywhere in the world, where erasing poor from the surroundings and putting them in places where resources are far are common norms, on the other hand, the daily projection of a common image of bad from particular state and feature labels all in the same color.
The recent example was when Sunday Mumbai Mirror and even the local Assamese newspaper put the headline that BODOs killed civilians, where bodo is a tribe and some of the militants were involved in killing. Imagine any bodo person coming to the city and saying I need a house and I am bodo not a terrorist. The idea of North east India and Jammu & Kashmir to media is very much restricted to violence, where in many people have to die to come to news.
From beard to the housing, a space can be disillusioned by media and state which decides about personal looks and one’s basic shelter.