india: day 8: asia’s largest slum

dharavi is a vast sprawl of huts and shanties. it is a depressing sight, but you wouldn’t know that from the faces of its inhabitants (a very eclectic group of people ). this has become a recurring theme on my trip. these people are happy at the core of their being. the slums were a real eye-opener. i will be returning to shoot an ngo school in the heart of dharavi on the 14th.

my first glimpse of slum life. people shitting EVERYWHERE.

these are called “gullies”. it would take an entire day if you followed one gully from start to finish.

the slums are replete with in-home cottage industries. pottery is a major industry because of its cheap overhead and high pay out.

eggs eggs eggs! one lak eggs (100,000).

this man has been unloading eggs his entire life. that’s a lot of eggs.

people sleeping all over the place.

coming home from school. this empty lot is the future site of low-income housing. the government is constantly dismantling communities to put up vertical villages to save space. the slums are growing rapidly.

everyone and everything scavenges to survive.

beautiful children.

this kid was so smart! he spoke to me in german, turkish and then english. “i am learning from the foreigners, uncle”.

these men climb a ladder with loads of rocks on their heads over and over. and they still smile.

more kids. most of them run around with no shoes on. the streets are horrifyingly dirty. glass. metal. garbage. feces. dead animals.

smiling again.

a recycling center. people sort everything by hand. all types of plastic. glass by color. rusty metal. plastic utensils. computer wires. and they either reuse it or sell it again.

shitting in the river.

older siblings are rarely found without a younger sister or brother on their hip. it is a huge burden for young children to bear. but it is either this or work.

this kid had to shit so bad!

and he STILL stood for a portrait. what a trooper!


~ by jacobbmurphy on September 10, 2010.

11 Responses to “india: day 8: asia’s largest slum”

  1. amazing photos

  2. brilliant stuff again.
    i’m a medical student at Sion Hospital, which is right next to Dharavi. you may even see community health programmes organised by the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine during your visits there.
    ummm…you’re wrong about one thing. untouchability is a thing of the past in cities, it exists only in rural India. all kinds of people live in relative harmony with each other at Dharavi, as i’m sure you’ve noticed.
    can’t wait to see your next set of photos.

  3. Beautiful images. They really capture the essence of Dharavi.
    It is amazing how cheerfully life goes on here despite the poverty. The houses have televisions, even if they aren’t big enough for 3 people. The children do not have money to go to school but they are all multilingual. The kids have to work everyday and are such a combination of innocence and cynicism.
    You’ve managed to convey most of those in these images!

  4. Hi, I like your photos end how you capturing the stories with those artwork. That’s not beautiful object but you made a great photo stories. Like it !

    *sorry for my English, I came from Indonesia.

  5. You know what I like about this post? The positive attitude. You came here (India) and took snaps of negative things with a positive attitude. That is noteworthy. 🙂

  6. I totally agree with every word “Leia” just mentioned.. Dharavi is actually a very inspirational place… U have definatly tried to do justice to it by these pictures 🙂

  7. Beautiful Pictures Jacob. You truly have captured the essence of Dharavi, and the essence of Indian Poverty. But you know Jacob, India is SO much more.

    I have always found it fascinating how every time India opens it’s arms to welcome the people from the west, you still manage to find the little loopholes. We show you the Taj Mahal, and you photograph the polluted Yamuna. We take you in our Mercedes, and you’re interested in the roadside beggars. We clean the neighborhood for you, and you take back home the pictures of where we dump our waste.

    A word of advise Jacob – Do not ONLY capture what India is, but try to contrast it with what India is transforming so rapidly into.

    – A proud Indian.

  8. I would’ve hurled. I can only imagine the stench. You’re a brave lad. You must have looked like a gleaming peice of porcelain meandering amongst the muck and mulch. Gr8 photos….yet again. Keep em coming.

  9. I love the way you see the world through your camera. Amazing photos. Have just discovered your blog through freshly pressed and am subscribing so can see all the updates.

  10. Can you please elaborate on the eggs…where do they get them from? Are they factory farmed? who buys those eggs? Are the hens cages of cage-free? I would just love to know… did you know we recently had a billion eggs recalled in the US due to poor regulations and horrid conditions of the hens.

  11. Incredible photo array.

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