More Annoyed than Amused


Posted by parsingtime on July 25, 2007

Random Banker and I went to Dharavi while in Mumbai. It is the biggest slum in Asia and an company that basically works as a non-profit trying to provide schooling ect provides a tour of it.

If you told any native Mumbaiker that you were going to visit Dharavi they would have told you you were crazy and to give it a miss. However, I’m going to tell you that if you are in Mumbai go take the tour.

It is really worth your while. Of course there are some smelly parts (it is a slum and there is raw sewage) and the roads aren’t finished but I can’t tell you how interesting it was. It is a group of poor people who need a place to live and built shacks and now it is a place where over a million people live (in 1 sqaure KM no less) and proves that people fundamentally want to trade.  There is a complete society within this slum.  They collect plastic bottles and recycle them and then resell it. They clean out oil cans, scrape off the labels and resell it to the oil makers. The women make papads (an indian type of appetizer). A company provides the raw materials and they roll them out and package them. Over $65 million US dollars flows into that slum. They make clothes (which certainly makes me think about the made in india labels!) and have doctors and schools all within the slum walls.

It was dirty and smelly and definitely not for the faint of heart but RB and I got to see a part of Bombay that very few people see. Poor people who are working really hard to make it. They don’t have a lot of electricity, running water is only for two hours a day and they are all dirt poor by most of western societies standards but you could tell they were proud to show off what they do and how they earn a living. They may live in Asia’s largest slum but it is a community where people really are trying to work for their money and do better for themselves.


One Response to “Dharavi”

  1. Ramesh Natarajan said

    The posting is informative. Thanks!

    Though Indian economy is growing, it is worrying to know about the widening gap between the rich and poor. Please read the article:
    Gap between rich and poor w i d e n s

    Ramesh Natarajan
    Global Indian

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