Slum-dwellers in Mumbai, India, face forced evictions, police brutality, and political repression. With conviction, they fight for survival against an economic system predicated on ‘using and losing’ them.
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This dossier shines its light on the harsh realities of slum-dwellers surviving in the high-tech industrial capital of Mumbai, India. With more than 7 million people living in sub-standard housing, representing over half the city’s population living on less than ten percent of its land, Mumbai is a metropolis in the midst of a critical social collision.
As the city in Maharashtra state continues to expand its IT sector and undergoes a seemingly boundless building boom, rural laborers continue to flood its borders and laid off factory workers continue to squat its abandoned lots. The gap between rich and poor citizens gradually widens and private interests are waging a direct offensive on the poor urban dwellers. Slum tenements are razed to the ground overnight to make way for developing condominiums whose price-tag outcompetes that of any other emerging economy; the homeless are brutally ejected from public lands to accommodate World Bank branded bridges and boulevards.
Recently, public discourse has taken renewed interest in the slum demolitions, ever since media outlets began reporting on the fate of child-stars from the award-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire”. As such, certain critical questions, which underlie the political atmosphere of these demolitions, are in need of attention. These include:
• Why do the slums of Mumbai exist and what are their origins?
• How are poor people reacting to these rapid changes of urban development and their effects?
• What will be the outcome of a poor people’s movement of resistance?
• What are some of the emotional and physical costs sustained by those facing forced eviction?
• What is the role of the mainstream media, private developers, and urban planners
in framing the use and misuse of land interests in Mumbai?
India Institute for Critical Action: Centre In Movement