Saturday, February 17, 2007

Slumming it

I went to Dharavi today, with an American visitor. We saw tiny shops selling grains wholesale. We saw jewellers. Leather shops. Textiles. Dyeing and embroidery. Pottery. Papadam making. Paper and plastic recyling. Lottery tickets, barbers, knife sharpeners, flower vendors, vegetable sellers. Temples, mosques, movie theatres. Sewers, toilets, and poverty. Dharavi is alive and vibrant and sickening and stench-filled, all at the same time. It is staggering.

1 comment:

helga said...

"slumming" is your title and contradictions carefully chosen.. as "alive and vibrant" well as "sickening..staggering"..

Here's what I picked up (virtual tourist) as description where a young Indian guy almost seems to "defend" the very existence of "a slum" -this one - in stating..(never mind his deliberate "rapping/sms language"..I copied and pasted as it was)

"its the asylum seekers from neighbouring countries like bangladesh and sum low really low income famlies who have been living in dharavi since donkeys years if you dont know anything about my country then DONT *** it out . ur so wrong in saying that indians live in slums."

He's talking to someone- who has apparently never been there - referring to "those who are too timid to visit can read the article under and see about 70 photographs at
Might make some queasy about the conditions in which majority of Indians live'.. and both "queasy as well as majority"..(and maybe some arrogance to be spotted) annoy him to the extreme so it seems..

I understand his respons.. (the original posting seems patronizing) but is it so hard for "non slum"..modern Mumbaikers to see and accept Dharavi is there?
Never mind the "asylum seekers" but the concept of "low income families since donkeys days" here..seems "a point of action" (to be) rather than a reason...