Monday, June 16, 2008

Dharavi - Asia's largest Slum

Last week I visited Dharavi to photograph small manufacturing units located in Asia’s largest slums. I had to negotiate a maze of narrow alley leading to the interior of Dharavi. The place reeks with filth and decaying garbage. There are clusters of double storied shanties with narrow lanes fit enough for only one person to pass through. Even in broad daylight the place is engulfed in semi-dark with hardly any sun light able to pass through the crammed houses. Water pipes run along with open sewage lines.
The area is dominated with Hindus and the Muslims. Both co-exist in peaceful condition except during 1992-93 when the riots had broken out. People from different corners of India had come to Mumbai in search of green pasture and settled in Dharavi. There are ghettos of different community holed up in Dharavi, the Muslim community, the south Indian tamilians, the kumbharwada potters of Gujarat, the labourer of Bihari and UP. Basti (colony) belonging to the South Indian Tamilians stand out. One could see many wayside Murugan temple and hotels selling south Indian delicacy wada sambhar and Dosa. A Mosque and Temple located next to each other is a common sight. One can find all kind of small industries here – the tanneries, leather, garment, furniture and clay pots.
The people of dharavi live in pitiable and deplorable condition. The Maharashtra government has earmarked funds to built new homes for them under slum redevelopment scheme. So there is a silver lining in the otherwise dark clouds for the people of Dharavi. Images of Dharavi is uploaded in the gallery section titled Dharavi of my site- Also read a story on a potter published in Guardian Weekly, UK.

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