Dharavi is located in the middle of India’s financial capital, Mumbai. It is spread across a 2 square kilometre area. Christened as “Asia’s largest slum” by the (slum) tourism industry, international movies and the Government of India, its actually much more than that – it is a thriving industrial belt filled with small-scale factories.
Walking through Dharavi, home to an estimated 15,000 single-room factories, it becomes difficult to conceive of anything that is not made or recycled here. There are plastic, metal and paper recycle units, leather and textile which includes dyeing clothes, block printing, screen printing and tailoring. You will find glue, pipes, soap and candle making units besides brick breaking, bread bakeries, pottery and the list goes on.
Home to a million residents, Dharavi is full of self-sufficient entrepreneurs who have created job opportunities on their own. It is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, diverse settlement.
Hundreds of tourists, artists and photographers visit Dharavi every week to peep into the lives of people living in this infamous slum. If you can ignore the filth, stink, deafening noise, and poverty in these narrow lanes and workshops – apart from hard-work and sweat – you will also stumble upon creative inspiration in the form of graffiti, patterns, shapes and colours.
Text And Photos By Vidyavati Chandan