Pulianthope: Muslim-dominated area in Chennai faces marital insecurity

By Shafee Ahmed Ko, TwoCircles.net,

In Chennai, thickly populated Muslim areas such as Pulianthope, Triplicane and Royapettah are considered very important. Pulianthope is an area once thought to be very sensitive for communal disharmony especially during Hindu festivals Vinayaga Chaturthi and the Ganesh Utsavs. Decades ago these were causes for communal flare-up. Nowadays this Muslim dominated area is rampant with broken marriages even when there is improvement in their educational, social and economic condition and there is low graph of crimes.

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The majority of the population is Muslims (around 70%) and Hindus (Marwaris and Sikhs) comprise the rest 30%. The area once thought to be the most backward industrially, socially and educationally and in marital security, is keeping pace with the time in improvement on all fronts except marital security. TwoCircles.net had talked to some important personalities in the area on the issues.

Mr. Saravanan, Assistant Commissioner of Police:

I have been Assistant Commissioner of Police here for past nine months and served as Sub-Inspector at adjacent police station of Vyasarpady for four and half years. To my knowledge Muslims and Hindus have no ill-feelings. They live in total harmony. The few cases that come from the majority Muslims are petty cases. I have not come across any grievous criminal cases such as stabbing, rape and communally disturbing one. There is slaughter house here. Majority of Muslims are slaughterers and Hindus are partially engaged. The cow slaughter is prohibited. So far I heard no violation of the prohibitory order. There are no gangsters operating here and no extortions of money here. Pulianthope is very safe place to live.

I am disturbed on one factor among Muslim fraternities. Number of cases we have been receiving here is that of the marriages broken. In my station, we police officials give them best counsel to re-establish their marital relation and most cases stand amicably settled. We prevent them as far as possible to approach family court because they will lose peace of mind.

Mr. Zakir Hussain Sheriff, Co-Correspondent, Princess Matriculation and Higher Secondary School

We are blessed with 2150 students. It’s a great in number. It shows that parents are aware of value of the education. We draw nearly 50% of Muslim children. Parents are able to pay the tuition fees regularly. Muslims are socially aware now. The time has changed in the Muslim society in massive way. Two decades ago I have seen Muslim parents bringing their wards in shabby dresses, those fathers working in slaughter houses or butcher shops did appear in blood stained (due to their profession: butchery) waist loins and shirts. In present scenario, they are decently dressed and use polite language. The major industries are plastic scrapes, waste recycling industries. They have money power now. My second generation students are well placed in IT industries which fast mushrooming around our area.

We are happy (with the school income) by the Grace of Allah and blessing of my mother who started this school. (The school has two modern vast and gigantic buildings and children running here and there with blistering sun-and fish market-like noise)

As far as marital security, we know a little. Every year there is 10% migration of the parents — 10% goes away from the schools and same number is filled up. However, I presume that 20% of parents may have a broken marital relation. I personally counsel them for compatible life.

Dr. F.A. Azeezur Rahman M.S. (ENT)

I have been practicing here for past 3 decades. In earlier days I was charging Rs.20 as a fee.

Most patients could not able to afford and some would come with coins and few currencies. But the days have changed now. Now I charge Rs.200 and most patients offer Rs.500 single currency and it’s me that I have to count the balance for them. I find a social awareness since boys and girls are educated and well placed. Booming industries like plastic recycling and old used clothes perhaps played for a legendary change. But the infrastructure development work of the Corporation has less impact here. The roads, civic amenities have no appreciable changes.

Abdul Ravoof Sahib, President Masjide Muqaddas Pulianthope

I go back to the olden days where our Muslim men and women were engaged in “Beedi” manufacturing business and they were pent up in their houses. Although they were not educated they had income and the Muslim society was not a laughing stock. Although the Muslim boys and girls are educated now, there is degradation in their morality especially in girls. They have an absolute change to the modern trend of living system.

The harmonious life is tremendous, of course. But Islamic society is in danger. How I can tell you the wretched situation of Muslims girls here. If I do that, it means, I am spitting on my own face. The youths in Tabligi Jamaat are doing a good job traveling short and long distances but to hope that they do a survey of how many young and tender aged widows and orphaned girls exist in the particular areas they visit and offer themselves to marry these young women will be like living in illusion.

I feel that the marital insecurity among Muslims in Pulianthope is appalling. The modern education especially to the Muslim girls will worsen the marital security.


Although Pulianthope is advancing in economic, social, cultural and educational ambiance, the Muslims, as usual in other places, still remain in ostensible and obdurate and incorrigible burlesque in marriages system with burdening loans and EMIs. The societal system has to be changed and what good are in Islam have to be adopted and followed rather to keep the marriages in fracture.