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When Your Home becomes The Monster

Sidhant Koshi, Priyam Sharma and Sahil Shah

If I were to ask someone what feelings they associated with the word “home”,most people would probably say words like affection, support and describe a place that belongs to them- a safe space. But what happens when this safe space is taken and shattered by someone or something?

Horror movies have always been great vehicles for social commentary and that is because they portray, the fears and anxieties of people. Movies such as the Conjuring, Exorcist and Haunted are all horror movies that have portrayed homes as being haunted.They play into the idea of what it would feel like when the place that is supposed to provide you with protection and love turns into a hostile and uncertain environment. Looking at the world around us, this thought seems to be turning into a fact day after day.

As reported by the BBC, “Mohammad Munzir, a Muslim man,had his house burnt and looted by masked people armed with staves, hockey sticks and stones, who were chanting “Jai Shree Ram” or victory to Lord Ram.” This isjust one out of several examples of minorities and their homes being attacked in India, in the last few years. This is because of the nationalistic and religious sentiments that have taken over the majority, making them make decisions that aren’t justified.

The report also mentions how,“Khajuri Khas, a marginalized area in north-west Delhi, was one of the neighborhoods engulfed by the recent Delhi riots, which were sparked by clashes over a controversial citizenship law, with mounting evidence that Muslims were targeted in a planned manner. ”Not only this, as it further added that, “The mob targeted the Muslim houses”.

It is sad how a home that was supposed to be a safe space to grow your family in, becomes a site that triggers memories of tragedy and horror. It is disturbing to see the increasing xenophobia in India, a country that was once known to be warm, to people from every background, welcoming them with open arms. Recently, around 50 Muslim families living in north-east Delhi have said that after the riots, their Hindu neighbors have made it impossible for them to live there. They are selling their houses below market value just so that they can leave the place.

This hostility and hatred towards minorities hasn’t just been limited to India. We’ve seen countries like the US, most countries in Europe and even countries such as Brazil becoming extremely closed off towards immigrants, with feelings of anti-immigration and Islamophobia being very strong in a lot of these countries. Donald Trump was heavily criticized for keeping immigrant children in cages. At this point, in history where we’ve seen the return of the popularity of right-wing nationalism and xenophobia, are even children no longer going to be spared? Have we as living, thinking beings slowly lost all sense of morality?

To further explain, this in the arena of world politics, an example of this can be two such agreements namely, the Balfour declaration and the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Talking about the Balfour declaration, it took homes away from many Palestinians as it announced support for the establishment of a “national home” for the Jewish People in Palestine- a place that belongs to the Arab population; which was then contested and fought for by the Jewish through force and exploitation. As mentioned in a report by Al Jazeera, “A century on the middle east continues to bear the consequences of the treaty and many Arabs across the region continue to blame the subsequent violence in the middle east, from the occupation of Palestine to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, on the Sykes-Picot agreement”.

A major difference in horror movies and real life is that, in real life a house can only be as safe and loving as the humans living in it. In a lot of horror films such as Gojira, Train to Busan and The Host, we see the common theme of humans being the real monsters at the end, rather than what we as audiences believed to be the monsters at the start of the film. I hope we can learn from such cautionary tales before we end up seeing ourselves become the monster in someone else’s life.