Dharavi - No Longer the Biggest Slum - but the Biggest Melting Pot of Entrepreneurs

Several years ago, I read an article featured on National Geographic on Dharavi - It was an eye opener to me. Dharavi was famous because it was the biggest slum in Asia, and instead, I found myself reading about the various industries that Dharavi supported. How poverty stricken people who did not even have the luxuries we do, were creating things that we did not even dream of creating. It's truly amazing how Dharavi, located in prime Mumbai property, housing a million people, was actually churning out some 3000 Crores. ( Yes - the annual income through all the informal household enterprises stands at 500$ million )

Still from the video -  1 - source

Still from the video - 2 - source

Last time I went to Bombay, I was determined to visit and understand what goes on inside Dharavi. But I was apprehensive to go without

someone who knew the area well. I found Be the Local Tours after Googling and I put it on my things to do list. Why Be the Local ? Because it seemed to me to be the best. (compared to the other search results) However, I did not get any free time as I was on business trip, so I decided next time.

Today, I came across this wonderfully made video that was posted by The Logical Indian. I have visited Bombay several times, but failed to actually understand the mammoth industry quietly working there - The slums of Dharavi.

There were a lot of thoughts that quickly went through my head -

The power of the internet - How access to internet shaped the dreams of the heroes of 'Be the Local' - Their story here.

A story of inspiration - So many entrepreneurs beating the odds to make a living, sure to inspire you.

The hidden jewel - Adjacent to the Bombay Airport, from where hundreds of flights operate daily, sits Dharavi. Dharavi is no slum - it's a melting pot of hundreds of entrepreneurs. They make heart shaped diyas, they recycle plastic, make leather chappals and hand bags, make pappad and savouries - basically, they churn out 3000 Crs every year.

They work - Yes, it seems silly, but in a city like Bombay or even a Delhi or Kochi, begging on the streets is so common. To me, it's indeed extraordinary to find so much of hope inside of Dharavi. and the best part, the hope is being translate to work and money is being earned.

I definitely am going for a guided tour next time ! As for last time, I did manage to see the dhobhi ghat behind Mahalaxmi Station. It's the biggest open air laundromat in the world. 

Dirty linen from hotels, hospitals and even homes comes here and gets washed. It is mostly done by men. Functions every single day; water is changed twice a day. 

One of my best captures. Shows the fusion of The newer Bombay and The older Bombay.

Also, Happy weekend guys ! Virdas is coming this weekend to Kochi ! :) Buy your tickets here.

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