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Dharavi: Asia's Largest Slum

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    Dharavi: Asia's Largest Slum

    What's Afoot in Asia's Largest Slum

    One hundred years ago, Dharavi, which is now Asia's largest slum, was a fishing village at the edge of Mumbai. As the growing city dumped its junk here, the salt plain turned to swampy landfill. Then, from the 1950s, as rural Indians arrived in Mumbai, or Bombay as it was then known, looking for work, they came to Dharavi. Now the teeming slum, which used to be the most marginal of all marginal communities, is right smack in the middle of Greater Mumbai. Its warrens ring with the sound of tinkers' hammers and the chatter of Bollywood songs. A blind man could navigate Dharavi by scent if he could avoid the open sewers and also, somehow, the live and low-slung power lines. There is the smell of river trout from fishermen's open carts, cardamom sold by spice merchants, caramelizing sugar, fresh clay spinning on potters' wheels, and the tang of animal skin from one of the tanners' colonies, home to a caste of Dalits, or untouchables, who live in Dharavi. Dharavi is also home to India's first "Indian Idol," 23-year-old Abhijeet Sawant, who, after sudden stardom struck last month, had to go into hiding because so many rabid mothers ran him down for marriage proposals.

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2118033/entry/2118040/

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2118033/entry/2118041/

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2118033/entry/2118047/

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2118033/entry/2118048/
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