(19) 40% of the Population are Slum Dwellers⁉The Skyscrapers and Slums of Mumbai: A Consideration of India's Ultra-Sequal Society

Mumbai Buddhist Columns & Dharma Talks

Travels in India and Sri Lanka (19)
40% of the population are slum dwellers⁉Mumbai's skyscrapers and Dharavi's slums - Thinking about India's hyper-inclusive society.

With the excitement of the Shiva statue on Elephanta Island still lingering, I decided to take a look around the streets of Mumbai, a huge international city on the west coast of India.

The infamous Indian smog is alive and well here, and the buildings in front of us are hazy.

Still, I was surprised by the skyscrapers of Mumbai. Mumbai is the financial center of India and has a strong global atmosphere.

Especially in areas with a high concentration of government offices and banks, it was easy to forget that we were in India.

I had a Starbucks latte here and breathed a sigh of relief. There is a Starbucks here, too.

Yes, yes. This is it. I can no longer bear to be without it. I can no longer be without international capital.

This was a most healing moment for me, as I had not been able to drink good coffee in Haridwar or Rishikesh in August.

And here I was, bravely heading to Kentucky. Just as there is a Starbucks here, there is also a McDonald's and a Kentucky.

Kentucky in India is also a causal partner for me.

(9) Kentucky in India is spicy! As someone who doesn't like spicy food, India was spice hell for me."As I told you in my article on Kentucky, I was completely taken in by the spiciness of Delhi's Kentucky.

This time, I want to take revenge. I would like to verify whether Kentucky is spicy even in Mumbai.

Kentucky in Mumbai is stylish inside. There is not the slightest hint of Indianness. It seems to be popular among young people these days as a dating spot. It is because it is cheap and tasty.

Now, the actual meal. I ordered the same hamburger as last time, but how did it taste...

...? Not too spicy...?

Oh, it's not spicy! It is not spicy!

What is wrong with me? I am not sure if my taste buds are strange, or if the last time I ate Kentucky was strange after my illness, but the Kentucky in Mumbai was not spicy. Our guide told us that the food culture of Delhi in North India and Mumbai in South India is completely different, so the spiciness of Kentucky in Mumbai might be different. Also, as a cosmopolitan city, Mumbai may be more globally oriented in its cuisine.

Hmmm...India is a big country! It is not as simple as one word, "India. This was an interesting experience.

And I was particularly interested in the "slums" here in Mumbai, which you can see in the photo here.

Mumbai's population is approximately 20 million, but it is estimated that 40%, or 8 million people, live in these slums. 8 million people is an unimaginable number. In Japan, Tokyo has a population of about 14 million and Osaka about 8.8 million. Compared with these figures, the impact of 8 million people becomes apparent. That many people are still living in the slums of Mumbai.

I also got out of the car and walked through Dharavi, the largest slum in Mumbai.

Indeed, the buildings are rather shabby, and the streetscape is hardly beautiful.

But it soon became clear that this was not the series of barrack huts I had imagined.

I did not take any pictures from this point forward, but I did visit a small street in the slum with my guide. The alley was narrow enough for one person to pass through, and was flanked by rows of ramshackle buildings. The buildings blocked out the sunlight, making the place seem dimly lit, but it was not a place that made us feel fearful. It was a place for everyday life. It was not the bleak and dangerous place of dramas and movies.

As we saw earlier, here in Mumbai, there are many high-rise buildings. However, slums like this one are spreading out right next to them. I was surprised when I drove around Mumbai, and slums appeared everywhere I went as if they were a matter of course. You would think that high-rise buildings and condominiums are paired with slums, but they are so close together. It is quite shocking to see such a blatant disparity between the rich and the poor.

The ultimate example of this would be Antilia, the private home of the Ambani family, India's richest family.

Mukesh Ambani (1957-)Wikipedia.

The entire slightly hazy building in the front of this photo is Mr. Ambani's home.By James CrabtreeBillionaire India: The Lights and Shadows of a Society Ruled by Millionaires."The building was introduced in the following way

Antilia, a high-rise built by Mukesh Ambani for himself, his wife, and their three children. No other building so clearly symbolizes the power of India's new elite class as this one.

The 160-meter-high steel and glass tower occupies an area of only about 1,200 square meters, but its total floor space is roughly two-thirds that of the Palace of Versailles.

The ground floor is occupied by a large hall similar to one found in a hotel, complete with foreign chandeliers weighing a total of 25 tons. Six floors for parking are used to store the family's collection of cars, while a staff of several hundred people is on hand to meet the various needs of the family.

On the upper floors, luxurious living spaces and hanging gardens are the main attractions. The reception room on the top floor has glass walls on three sides and opens onto a spacious outdoor terrace with panoramic views of the city of Mumbai.

Downstairs is a sports club with a gym and yoga studio. The "ice room," a sort of inverted version of a sauna, provides an escape from Mumbai's intense summer heat. A short walk downstairs to the second basement level is the recreation floor for the Ambani children, where there is a soccer field and even a basketball court.

Over the years, Mumbai has remained a divided city. It is a high-density megacity, with residential neighborhoods for business tycoons and investors, and shacks with tin or plastic sheeting as roofs standing right next to them. Antillia seems only to amplify this divide - Mumbai is known for its extremes of wealth and poverty, but the towering buildings themselves are even morelevel,,It is as if they are creating a

*Some lines have been changed to make them easier to read on smartphones and other devices.

Hakusuisha, James Crabtree, translated by Ryohei Kasai, "Billionaire India: Light and Shadow of a Society Ruled by Millionaires," p. 19-20

What do you think? I hope this has given you a sense of the awesomeness of Antillia.

Now in India, these super-rich people are emerging at an increasing rate. They have overwhelming wealth, but on the other hand, the problem of disparity, as described above, is shaking India. Originally, India was a country with a caste system and a large disparity, but even so, a tremendous disparity that cannot be tolerated is being created in India today. Moreover, political corruption is also a major factor, and this situation is likely to cast a large shadow over India's future development.

If you are interested, we encourage you to visit the followingBillionaire India: The Lights and Shadows of a Society Ruled by Millionaires."I would like to recommend a book called

However, what our guide told us about this slum was also really interesting.

To my surprise, many of the people who live in the slums here "live there because they like it.

Huh?" you may think, but it is true. The evidence is that the Indian government is now providing many houses for slum clearance operations, but even if they move in, the residents soon return to the slums because they don't like it there.

Why do they abandon the clean homes provided by the government and return to the slums?

First of all, it is a burden for them to pay rent and utilities.

And this is important,They're comfortable enough in the slums for them.This is what he means.

They would much rather live in a slum than pay high rent and utility bills.

The guide gave us further explanations, a sensation that we Japanese do not really understand.

'Actually, many of the slum dwellers in Mumbai are migrant workers who come from rural villages. There are no jobs in the countryside. That's why they come to Mumbai, the big city. They work here for 10 or 10 years, accumulate money, and then return to the countryside. After they have saved up enough money, they build a big house and live comfortably. In the countryside, they don't have to spend a lot of money, so they can live like that."

Oh, I see! And this commentary made me huff and puff.

I have seen this in the countryside of Khajuraho, where life in the countryside is almost self-sufficient to begin with, with ramshackle buildings and open-air toilets. If that's the kind of life you're used to, then slum life isn't so hard, is it?

Yes, that's right. They don't perceive slums as particularly tough places. Rather, they see it as a convenient way to save money."

Oh well, this was a big misunderstanding. I had always thought of slums as places where the poor live in desperation, but they are also cities of migrant workers from poor rural villages in India. That is why they can live in dirty houses without worrying.

With the excitement of the Shiva statue on Elephanta Island still lingering, I decided to take a look around the streets of Mumbai, a huge international city on the west coast of India. And what I found of particular interest here in Mumbai were the "slums. Mumbai's population is approximately 20 million, but it is estimated that as many as 40%, or 8 million people, live in slums.

But, of course, we are well aware that not everything is as it seems. It may be true that there are plenty of problems, such as poverty, harsh living conditions, and discrimination. However, I felt that it may be one-sided to think of the slums as a whole as if they are to be pitied.

For those interested in learning more about life in India, see Daisuke Sato's1.3 Billion Toilets.and by Kinya FujimotoThe Danger of India's Favorable Development.I would recommend reference books such as

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