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Dharavi: India's Largest slum

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Being the largest slum in south east asia , its already difficult for dharavites to cope with the stress of daily life of managing the enough amount of resources to survive in the economic capital of india . Dharavi generally has a composition of people that is totally diverse in nature, like that of India . People from different parts of the country come to Mumbai to try their luck in becoming a part of this big economic machine of India (Mumbai). The suitors who are looking for a better economic prospect come lured towards the city of Mumbai with a lots of dreams in the city of dreams .Lured by the enigma of the riches, they hunt for the ladder to alleviate them from their current economic and career status and many come here for career aspects also looking to get a boost in their life . They come in this whole new environment that they experience have both culture shock and language barrier just waiting at the entry gates of Mumbai . Its takes awhile for person to settle in such a ecosystem he never anticipated of , its goes on to takes experiences through the struggle he faces on the road which he saw as a not so hostile environment but his perception changes soon as he comes in touch with the hostile nature of the city , that’s full of competition and a neck to neck race between the peers to achieve something better than yesterday . Thus they find it very difficult to manage an accommodation that is, and the ones available are to pricy to afford , thus the slums are created in such cases .and in Mumbai this slum is called dharavi , though there are other slum settlements but dharavi stands out of them by a big margin . It has a whooping population of 1000000 living in just 2.1 km/sq of area in the heart of the city.These people constitute of people who can’t manage to live elsewere in the economic capital .

                               So now lets dive deep into the history of Dharavi , its known that it is one of the oldest slums in the South east Asia . During the British colonial era the area was inhabited by the Koli fishermen .The slum was established in 1882 during the British colonial era and grew due to expulsion by the colonial government of factories and residents of downtown of Mumbai, due to migration of poor Indian labours into the urban Mumbai .For this reason Dharavi is one of the the highly diverse settlements both religiously an ethnically also . It is estimated to have a population of of 869565 people square mile . with a literacy rate of 67% Dharavi is the india’s most literate slum .

                                   The entire dharavi lacks any sorts of infrastructure such as roads , public convenience , toilets with an average of 1 toilet per 500 people , most people use the alleys and rivers as toilet though it is the source of fresh water for the people of Dharavi. through there is BMC(Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) which supplies the portable water to the houses and electricity is also provided by them . but yet there is shortage of fresh water and electricity in then settlements . many households use eletricity by illegal means , by katia , a method of electricity theft ; same is also the case with the portable water , though dharavi has many wells but its water is not fit for drinking .

 The slum has a severe health problem , with a long history of epidemics and other disasters . other disasters include the water logging in the area during the monsoon season which causes flood like situations in Dharavi. While india’s life expectancy is 67 years , but the average life span in dharavi is less than 60 years . virtually all housing is constructed illegally , and is extremely crowded and small, because as many as 5 people sleep in a tiny room of 6x5 square feet area.

              But dharavi is not only squalor , but also has a important business with textiles , pottery, jewellery, refurbished garments and other refurbished goods . steel being the most important industry along with large recycling business. And with the “ slum tourism” becoming a new trend , now dharavi is receiving a rising number of visitors every year. According to an estimate dharavi’s economy is a bit greater than a billion dollar economy, with over 1500 factories .

                                                The demography of dharavi constitutes od four major communities – hindu(60%), muslim (33%) , and Christian(6%)- each living in its own area , with temples ,mosques and churches. Badi masjid , is the oldest religious structure of the slum.


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