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This was my Pre-Diploma project at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. The Pre-Diploma project is a precursor to the final Diploma project. I combined 2 projects to be able to do this, as I found the complexity of the subject itself warranted it. Students could choose to do a project in any of the disciplines within the Visual Communication curriculum. I chose to do a photo documentation project that married into a area I was interested in ... In this case migration & human issues.

32 years later I find that the basic issues have not changed ... hence my decision to recreate this. In late 1979 and early ‘80’s we did not have a semblance of the technology that we have access to today. Prints were analog bromides. The text was painstakingly type written. The assembly was even worse - to make it into a book format ! I had to paste pages back to back to form the whole book. Photographs, illustrations and the typed text strips had to be then pasted based on the layout. A highly labour intensive task, which were aided by some of my friends who spent hours doing this. I had practically forgotten this book which which was relegated to the dark corners in one of our packed cartons. It was falling apart since the rubber solution used to paste them together had had it’s life. The pages and the photographs had completely yellowed. I decided to recreate the whole book using today’s digital tools. Unfortunately I just cannot find the original film negatives so I have settled for scanning and then editing them to attain a reasonable quality across the book. The layout has been left the way it was. More or less. Important Please keep in mind that the data is from the late 70’s. If it interests you current data is available on the internet.

The background used here is actually a scan of the pages that had come unstuck. I thought the textures were so rich !

Design Project 4 + 5


Guide : Vikas Satwalekar Visual Communication Faculty National Institute of Design Paldi Ahmedabad - 380007

a personal view

My sincere gratitude to the following for their help : Dr.Kurrien

Tata Institute of Social Studies, Bombay

Dr. Aharma Mrs. Panwalkar Jacob Aikara

Mrs. Rita Patel & Mrs. Rukmini

Mobile Creches, Bombay

Joseph Pinto & Dr.Niranjan Godkandi

Science Education Group, Bombay

Madan Naik & U.K.Nair

Mumbai Shramikh Sangh, Bombay


Planning Action Research Team, Bombay


National Service Kendra, Bombay

K.M.Shanmugam C.L.David Sukumaran

There are few things that can solely be done by an individual. This project is one of those. It would have been impossible for me to start without the help and cooperation extended to me by people who were total strangers to me, and had no reason to trust or accept me. During the course of my stay in Bombay, I have come into contact with many individuals, who have done their best to help me in the most humane ways. Most of them were from the slums. These are the condemned places in the city, generally referred to as the most dangerous areas and believed to be the nesting grounds for criminals and illegal practices. This is an attempt to see beyond this stereotype. Rajeev Manikoth

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Mechanics of Migration

15 14

n 1971 India had a population of 548 million, of whom 170 million, or about a third of the Indian population, lived in a village or town other than the place in which they were born. Of these migrants, 117 million were women and 53 million were men. Most of the migrant women ( 96 out of the 117 million ) lived in the rural areas, while a majority of the male migrants ( 31 out of the 53 million ) lived in cities or towns. Most of the migrants moved within their own state; 141.6 million migrants out of the 170, as against 19.4 million who moved from other states, and 9 million who migrated to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and other countries. The majority of the interstate migration consists of migration to urban areas. Of the 19.4 million interstate migrants, 11 million live in urban and 8.4 million in rural areas. In 1971, one out of every thirteen Indians was a migrant to a city or a town - 42.6 million forming nearly 40% of the country's total population of 108.6 million. More than a third of these migrants, 15.2 million, were born outside of the state and 27.4 million from elsewhere in the same state. One out of every seven urban dwellers now come from another state or from outside India.


Mechanics of Migration

Why do people migrate ? The phenomenon of migration is highly complex. The relationships between levels of urbanisation and rural densities reflect the operation of multiple forces. In some places, high levels of urbanisation stem from the "pull" factor which the urban centres exert regardless of rural density; in other places the so-called "push" from the rural areas is dominant. Those who are generally more modern and more literate are the ones who are "pulled". Rural - Urban Migration : Pull forces Economic : Prospects of material welfare, improved standards of living, higher wages in urban occupations, lots of job opportunities, more profit in the industrial sector than in agriculture. Less interest on loans from private money lenders in villages. Social : Educated and trained villagers seek intellectually satisfying occupations available in cities. Satisfaction of social and cultural aspirations. To join family already migrated to the city. Medical facilities available in cities. Proper housing, electricity, water system and sewerage in cities. Social mobility. Migration due to war or disaster. Rural - Urban Migration : Push forces Economic : Growing pressure of population on land. increase in rural debt. Unemployment or underemployment. Small holdings of agricultural land due to divided inheritance. Lack of alternative sources of income. Joblessness after harvest. Social : Insufficient social amenities like recreation and shopping centres. Poor state of medical facilities. Lack of educational institutions. Ineffective maintenance of law and order. Rivalries in the village. Desire to live near centres of administration. Lack of proper housing, electricity, water supply and sewerage. Insufficient transportation and communication facilities.


The real differences between urban and rural levels of living is greater than it appears, because services and electricity are overwhelmingly concentrated in the urban areas where the main decision makers live. Rural people, dependent as they are upon climatic conditions, are the most vulnerable with little or no reserve stocks of food and no savings. Their low income, usually based on tenancy rather than ownership of land, the fluctuating natural conditions, and the lack of alternative employment in the off season, all tend to keep them in poverty, because their income is low, their productivity is low, and so new investment in agriculture is almost nil. So the general condition of the rural dweller gets worse rather than better. The drift to the cities seems destined to continue for many years to come. For two out of every peasant, land holdings are about two acres, not sufficient to provide a living for a household. Furthermore, many of those who have two acres do not own the land. They are tenant farmers or sharecroppers, and that they have to pay a certain amount to the land owner. The very poor, who do not even have tenant rights, number about one third of the total population. For them life is extremely impoverished. They depend on seasonal employment for their total annual income. Governments have made efforts to redistribute agricultural land, but this rarely constitutes a once and for all change that will relieve the rural population from want. Other conditions in the national and world economy influence the viability of the small farmer. Without invetsment to raise the small farmers output, the redistribution of land is only a temporary palliative. Where the quality of soil makes it uneconomic to invest, non-agricultural employment is the only method available for sustaining or raising rural income. tWhen the smallholders suffer a sudden decline in their crops or increase in the costs, they may be forced to sell their land and even their animals and crop reserves, reversing the effects of previous redistribution. Rural disintegration, under the pressure of agricultural inefficiency, leads to urban compaction as the pressure builds. People who are thrown off the land in the name of agricultural inefficiency, have no recourse but to move to the city. If we refer to the city as a place which at least provides food and shelter, that may appear strange. But it is in fact the only place which may be relied upon to provide those essentials, once the rural society and its economy have been destroyed. This reliance upon the city as the provider of last resort may be temporary. None the less, for the uprooted peasant, the city is his last resort.


Peace. Total peace. That's what you experience when you attain Nirvana. That's what you get when you come to India. But in India, peace means more than what the dictionary tells you. You'll find peace in India's colourful bazars. You'll find peace listening to the jingle of cymbals and the rhythm of of dancing feet. You'll find peace of a different kind.

In the warm smiles and the friendly faces of every Indian. In the uninhibited hospitality and simplicity of everyone. You can get all this. And for so little. Indeed, Indian Airlines, India's domestic airline, makes you an offer that is truly remarkable. For an airfare of 200 US dollars* you can spend 14 days (US $ 275 for 21 days) travelling all over India. A choice of 61 destinations. Ranging from Kashmir to Khajuraho

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We have a country which is rich culturally and has an abundance of natural resources. We have a great many things of which we can be proud of, and rightfully so. We have a marvellous landscape that extends from the Himalayas in the North, to the Cape Comorin in the South, as varied as the people and their cultures. This is what we sell to the tourists. The "exciting", "beautiful" face of India. We have glorified our past and conserved it for appraisal and discussion. The history of our magnificent culture. The culture which has such variety and diversity, that one cannot get tired of it. We have chosen what to record of our history, and what not to. We have heard only of the victories of our noble kings and emperors, but not of the soldiers who made it possible. What we do not want to see or think about is the poverty of our contemporary culture.



"Technological civilisation opened unlimited new vistas to man. It made possible cities larger than ever before, offering benefits of urban life to ever greater numbers of men, and bringing a diversity of social life and intellectual exchange never before known. But now in the center of most of these cities, malignant cores have developed. The people in city slums know little of the rich variety of choice and quality that exalts human life. More frequently, their lives are encompassed by filth, ugliness and squalor" ~ "From Sea to Shining Sea"


" What the city offers is for those who succeed, not for those who fail".



More than 3,168,768 people


in Bombay live in the slums


he increase of the low income population of the cities has been far more rapid than the increase in the housing available to them with resulting pressure and tension. In such a setting, powerful interests are able to profit by the sale of exclusiveness on the one hand and overcrowding on the other. In Bombay, land has become a scarce resource, with prices ranging over Rs.1000/Sq.m. For a land value of Rs.50/Sq.m, 13% of households cannot afford even a one room tenement, 42% for land values of Rs.100/Sq.m, and to 96% for land values between Rs.500 & Rs.1000 Sq.m. In a 1978 report titled "Finance for Housing Schemes" by the working group on Role of Banking System, set up by the Reserve Bank of India, a conclusion has been arrived at : "An ordinary person in India cannot build a house with his own savings and credit is not available to him on terms he can afford."



A Place to Live


t is a fact that the majority of rural migrants take refuge in "bustees", "zopadapatties" and shanty towns of cities, which are termed as "slums". They start as temporary dwelling places under the chronic shortage of durable and cheap housing, and eventually become a functional element and major land use of the city. Today more than 30% of Bombay's population live in these settlements. In Bombay there are about 847 slums accompanying more than 3 million people. Most of these become slums because of lack of minimum civic amenities such as, water supply, latrines, ventilated living spaces, without which civilised life loses much of it's meaning. The residents of these slums who are mostly low income group come with the hope of securing some employment as unskilled or skilled labour in the city. But they not only remain, but continue to remain unintegrated with the main stream of urban life. They continue to be governed in their behaviour by rural culture and social standards. Their economic modes of existence and the distance of their residential environment tends to reinforce their isolation further from the rest of the urban population. The term distance here means, social, educational, cultural, moral and psychological dimension, rather than physical distance. The slums are therefore small villages within cities with social and cultural traits almost intact. The spontaneous settlements of the urban poor are not merely aggregations of shacks and huts, but communities of fellow migrants. Each is based on a network of affinities of language, region, village, caste or creed. It enables the rural migrant coming from small village communities to become socialised and acculturated in the complex and diversified environment of the metropolitan city. In effect the migrants are moving from one form of organisation of social life to another. For many the movement to the city itself means a movement up in the social ladder. If a migrant lives in the metropolis and especially if he has some cash he can send home he raises himself and his family in the esteem of his village.


A Place to Live

The migrant is no more enthralled be his unkempt surroundings, dilapidated house, or lack basic facilities than are appalled outsiders. He does what he can, to make his house livable, but is always hampered by the lack of water to keep his house, himself and his community clean. When he knows his tenure status is permanent, he invests a great deal of time, energy and available resources in improving it.

rainage and sanitation is a known, but often unpracticed concept. Not because the people do not believe in it, but due to the lack of any kind of financial aid from the authorities. Lack of water proves to be the biggest hindrance in keeping their own environment clean and hygienic. A clean and hygienic environment becomes secondary to just managing to afford a proper meal for the family.






In the limited confines of the hutment, every inch counts. The scarcity of space has resulted in a highly developed sense of interior space organisation. All the functions of a house are within the usual 10 x 10 ft. area of the hut.


Growing up in the Slum


he possession of certain basic needs is characteristic of all human beings, regardless of their time or place of living. Yet, the way in which these needs are satisfied is dependent not only on inborn nature, but also on influencing factors inherent in the physical environment and the culture in which an individual is born and develops. Each era and each culture presents a set of circumstances that mould the child's overt expression of his basic needs. The child born and bred in a modern, democratically organised society may experience needs that differ in extent and intensity from those of a child who matures in a different perhaps more simple form of culture. Some of the child's needs are physical, others are rooted in the development of the self- concept and of social consciousness. Perhaps one of the most important childhood needs is training towards wholesome and socially approved fulfillment of his many wants, urges and desires. Since the migrant child at birth becomes the member of a "minority" group, his personal impulses, urges and desires cannot be divorced from the wants and interests of his immmediate social environment. It is not uncommon for children to be illiterate. School is a luxury which is not easily accessible to the child. The parents do nor usually see the necessity of an "education". As soon as the child is 8 or 9 years old, he or she is often sent to work to contribute to the family income. If at all the parents exhibit an interest in sending their children to school, it remains economically an impossibility.


Growing up in the Slum

he stability and individuality that the children's lives lack, can be stimulated in the learning situation and maybe the school period is the only time when such sustained involvement is possible. Traditional methods of education have been proved useless in slum areas, where the child's involvement is not merely with the conditioning of his mind, but with his physical survival and with the material gain he can obtain. although it is minimal. These children are not less able, their environment represents a mental and physical poverty from which it is difficult to escape. If their education is looked at economically, the country is losing out on this part of the investment in ability.


he immediate neighbourhood is the play environment of the child in the slum. Often the settlement is on marshy or waste land or by the side of the railway tracks. Lack of open space within the settlement, forces the child onto the unhygienic and filthy environment that is usually the neighbourhood. The vulnerable child is open to any kind of disease prevailing in the area.



Growing up in the Slum



“To enjoy special protection and to give opportunities and facilities to enable him to develop in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom aand dignity. To have a name and a nationality from his birth. To enjoy the benefits of social security including adequate nutrition, housing, re-creation and medical services. To receive special treatment, education and care if handicapped. To be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation and to be protected from practices which may foster any form of discrimination. ( UN Declaration of the Rights Of The Child)


Growing up in the Slum


Growing up in the Slum

oday's child is tomorrow's prospective citizen. What he experiences and learns today will determine the quality of his personal contribution in the total function of society. The child in the slum seldom gets the chance to fully experience childhood with it's joy and rewards of of learning. He does learn. He learns how to add to his parents' income. He learns how to survive.



A Means of Survival


In urban societies, the poor are confronted by a "status assignment" system, in which occupational, economic and educational achievements are the primary basis for differentiating status levels. Self-perpetuating cultural deprivation demonstrates that, in consequence of a low level of school achievement, the child is likely to respond by assigning low reward values to success as a student, and to drop out at the first opportunity. This means he enters the "job market" at a disadvantage, in that the only jobs he is likely to get are those most likely to produce alienation from work. This is transmitted from generation to another especially in isolated or potentially isolated areas. It is economically determined that the country needs a fluid mobile mass, who move to work as wanted and who are otherwise unemployed. The insecurity of inconsistent earnings, poor conditions and inability to change to more lucrative situations puts a social stress on the least fortunate of these people.



A Means of Survival

The people work for money to live, not because they like the work; if they do, it's a bonus, instead of a human right.


A Means of Survival

f a man wants to become rich, he can either gamble, sell himself well, although to do this he has to have at his command at least similar facilities and opportunities to those he is trying to emulate. Or he can go outside the rules of society to obtain money in a way that society will condemn as illegal. So basically everything is stacked against him. The rules of the game are someone else's, and the further down the socio-economic pyramid he is, the fewer the tools at this disposal to enable him to realise his potential. The scarcity of jobs, indeed the tendency for capital - intensive developments to reduce job opportunities, is creating a sense of hopelessness among the poor. Employment in the city is at two levels. One is the organised, modern, formal sector characterised by capital - intensive technology, relatively high wages, large scale operations and corporate and government organisations. The other is the unorganised, traditional, informal sector - labour intensive, small scale operations, using traditional methods and providing modest earnings to the individual or family owner. In the modern sector, wages are usually protected by labour legislation and trade union activity. In the informal sector, there is easier entry, but less job security and lower earnings. Though the jobs in the modern sector may be more desirable, they are often beyond the reach of the poor - they require literacy, experience and a level of training the poor find difficult to acquire; and in a labour surplus market, employers can afford to insist on exceptional qualifications.




A Means of Survival



A Means of Survival

llicit liquor is the cheapest luxury that the slum dweller has access to. It removes him temporarily from his reality. The liquor business is a well organised network with effective distribution channels within and without the slums.



A Means of Survival

The People "What they expect in their own situation in any foreseeable future is very little : they may want more, they may believe they have a right to more : but they have learned and they have been brought uo to settle for a minimum. Life is like that they say."


The People

There is a societal reaction to slum dwellers. The non slum dweller often associates the physical appearance and different living conditions of the slum with belief in the "natural inferiority" of those who live in the slums. As a slum is an “inferior� place, those who live in it are also perceived as inferior. This perception has important important consequences in the social isolation of slum dwellers and their exclusion from power and participation in urban society. Those who live in slums lack channels of communication. The "local" politician often becomes the only "ambassador" to the outside world, one who unfortunately tries to manipulate it frequently for his own benefit. The attitude of society to them has created a closed community, who finds security in themselves. It is a fact that crime and "illegal" activities flourish in the slums. But this is a social fact which exists not because they are inherently corrupt or crime oriented. For some, these actions are the only means of survival, in a society which does not offer them an alternative. They might hate doing it. But with time they learn to accept it as a source of income and as the only choice, if it can be called a choice at all. What is disheartening is that most of these "illegal: practices and occupations are initiated by outside elements and in confrontation with the law, they do not come into the picture.


Realisation of their own status has made them withdraw in to a shell of their own and exhibit an uncertain receptivity to an "outsider". In this sense, I was an "outsider" and I could feel the doubt and uncertainty in some of them about my presence with a camera. I had been using a camera for the past few years. But this was the first time that I had reservations of using the camera to document the lives of a community. It would have been an intrusion, if I had tried to photograph the real moments of their lives. I believe that each individual, be he rich or poor, has a right to those moments in his life, to be experience without the intrusion of an external element. But, I also believe that certain social truths has to be uncovered so that we can come face to face with reality. And I wonder whether the "responsibility of seeing" is just another way of not wanting to confront reality at all.

"Out of sight, out of mind?" I have been with these people and I understand them a little more. I do not pity them. That would be wrong. I only have respect for their fortitude which keeps them from sinking and being ground under by society.


The People

Fakheer Mohammed Fakheer came to Bombay in 1944, when he was 9 years old. He first came to the Matunga camp, which was an undeveloped area at that time. His hails from Cheetapur district, Gulbarga in Mysore State. The first job that he could get was washing dishes in a hotel. After a year in Bombay, he went back to his hometown. He stayed there for 7 years selling bangles with his father. He came back to Bombay when he decided that he had to try his hand at a better job. His first hut was demolished by the Bombay Municipal Corporation, and he had to shift to another site nearby. Fakheer has 8 children ( 2 had died ). The eldest (20) works. The rest remain at home. One boy and a girl attends the municipal school. One of the girls' is married and has 3 children. His son who goes to school, is 11 years old and is in the First Standard. Getting admission into the school was extremely difficult because of official bureaucracy. His hut in which he is presently residing is 15 years old. The condition of the hut is a statement about his life's achievement. He recollects that his house in his hometown is 4 times bigger. He also had land. But, he maintains that jobs were difficult and it was very difficult to provide for the whole family.



The People


We live in constant fear, because we do not know when we will be ordered to leave this place"

"If anyone sees my hometown, they will wonder why I am so poor here. The truth is that it will be more difficult to look after my family there. After all, what is the use of having a big house if your children do not have anything to eat?"

"This land belongs to the TATA's. When I built this hut, they told me to move from here, saying that if the power pylons, which is just outside, collapses and anything happens, they would not take the responsibilty. I told them that if I die it will be only my responsibilty and that they should not worry about an insignificant person like me."


The People

"I have stayed in this hut for more than 15 years.

The People

Rajesh Shyam Rajesh hails from Khargone in Madhya Pradesh. He came to Bombay in 1969. Since his arrival in '69 he has visited his hometown six times, His brother and wife lives there. On his arrival in Bombay, he stayed with his father-in-law for 3 years. In 1973 he shifted over to Powai where he is currently resides. He lives with his wife, mother and 4 children in a rented shelter. Rajesh did his matriculation from Bhopal. Then he worked as a lower division clerk at the cotton spinning mill, but he was asked to leave because of surplus staff and was subsequently without a job for 5 months. His father had a cloth business and Rajesh found no prospects in the continuation of his father's economic occupation. He enrolled in a technical training institute called JIT, and did a course in fitter training for a year. He also worked as a temporary employee there. Rajesh had high aspirations. He had dreams of having a good home, etc. His present situation is far removed from his aspirations and he has developed a deep sense of frustration. He is a machine operator at Estrela and works shifts. When he has night shifts he sells bags in Ghatkopar during the day. He sends two of his children to a Hindi medium school. Rajesh earns about Rs.575/- per month. On his request, the company has given him night shifts as a temporary measure, because he wanted to sell his bags during the day. He has a loan to pay back.


"Why should there be a difference between a machine operator and a clerk with the same educational background? The clerk gets Rs.1000/- Why should society support such a system?"


The People

Naveenchandra Chimanlal Solanki Naveen has been in Bombay for almost 13 years. His hometown is Balsara in Gujarat, where his parents and sister live. Naveen came to Bombay because he had difficulties in obtaining a job in his hometown. At that time his father was in Bombay. He perceived Bombay as a great city with great possibilities for him and made this move with high aspirations .. Life in his village was difficult and he wanted a better alternative. His first job was as a peon in a shoe factory. Now he works as an assistant to a machine operator at Hindustan Ferrodo and gets a salary of Rs.850/Naveen lives with his wife and two children. He has not sent his child to school because there is no school in Gujarati medium which he can afford. Naveen goes to visit his parents every two months. At this moment he has no intentions of settling down in Bombay. He says that if he finds a better job, he would leave Bombay. Naveen got the hut, where he is now staying through a friend. He had to pay a deposit of Rs.100/- with a rental of Rs.20/- per month ( He spent about Rs.400/- in improving it). Naveen wants a better job but does not have the necessary qualifications. He prefers life at his village to life in the city. No savings are possible as he sends money every month to his parents at home.

" A man who earns Rs.5/- a day cannot have a proper meal. How can one talk of developing or maintaining his surroundings ? His immediate concern is about managing to feed his family."


"There should be some way that the individual interests of children can be encouraged. With financial assistance, there can be great people from the slums too."


The People

Duryodan Pundalik Ingle Duryodan is 31 years old and hails from Poona. He has been in Bombay for 8 years. He completed his school in Poona, but could not continue his education further because of financial and other difficulties, even though he had a keen interest in higher education. Later he did a course at ITI ( Industrial Training Institute ) in carpentry. He also trained at PTC ( Prototype Training Centre ), Rajkot, for some time. He came to Bombay since he could not get a job there. He got a job first at IIT on a temporary basis, after which he joined a telephone factory, where he is currently continuing. He had worked for short periods in various factories. His wish had been to get a job as an instructor. He says that he is not satisfied with his job, but has no other choice. At the moment he has no intention of going back to his hometown. His father, brother and sister live there, where they own a small piece of land.


Duryodan sends some money regularly to his father. He lives in Powai in a rented hut of 100 sft. His wife and two year old child stay with him. He earns approximately Rs.500/- and just about manage to make ends meet. In his spare time he reads newspapers or goes to see the TV at the community Welfare Centre. He is the treasurer of the Gramastya Seva Mandal and also Deputy Secretary of the Powai Tenants Association.


The People

P.P. Mathew Mathew hails from Trichur district in Kerala. He came to Bombay in 1953, when he was 23. He got a job as a beedi worker. In 1963, he left Bombay because of ethnic conflicts sparked off by the Shiv Sena during the time of the Pakistan war. He went to Madhya Pradesh with his wife's brother and started a smalll shop at the Bailard Iron Ore project. He worked there for 12 years. When the project was completed, Mathew shifted to a new project area on the friendly advice of the engineer. He had some bad experiences at the new site, which forced him to go back to Bombay. Mathew was married when he was 29 and has 4 children (3 boys and 1 girl) The eldest son (13) works in a box manufacturing factory and attends night school. Mathew has a brother in his hometown, who lives with his family there. He has not gone home since 1977, because he could not afford it. He earns around Rs.300 per month. He does beedi work and own a small shop. Mathew is an asthma patient and has to spend 75 paise every day on medication. He does not own any property at home and has no plans to return to his hometown. He has well off relatives in Bombay, but has no interaction with them. He feels that they might not appreciate him retaining contact with them because of his social status.


"Just yesterday an old woman died on the railway tracks. A train hit her. This happens very often. I think the train is a saviour for us."


The People

Abdul Kareem Abdul came to Bombay when he was 11 years old, together with his mother and sister. They had a relative already staying in Bombay. Trying to survive in their hometown in Cuddalore district (Tamilnadu) was very difficult. Abdul is married and has 5 children (3 boys and 2 girls). Three of them go to school. He wants them to get vocational training, so that their future can hopefully be better. Abdul does not have any qualifications and works as a painter in the docks of the Bombay Port Trust. His first job on arrival in Bombay was with a watch strap maker. But he decided that it would not take him anywhere. If he finds a better job he would leave. He earns about Rs.500/- per month. The money is always used up and he has not managed to save anything at all. There is always a health problem in the house and about Rs.20 is required every month for medicines. His eldest son, who is 17 years old works as a mechanic. The additional income is a blessing because part of his salary goes towards repaying a loan that he had taken. The question of savings does not arise at all. Abdul's house measures 10x10 feet, in which he, his wife and 5 children live. He pays Rs.20 as rent per month. His situation is such, he says, that it has become impossible for him to even offer something to eat or drink to his cousins and friends when they come to visit him.



The People

Mooswamy Manikkam Mooswamy left his hometown (Chidambaram district in Tamilnadu) in 1968, looking for a better chance in life. He has worked as a construction worker for the twelve years that he has been in Bombay. He visits his hometown once a year. His cousins and relatives live there on a small piece of land which they own. He keeps in touch with his cousins through letters. In Bombay, he lives with his wife and his children ( 3 boys and 3 girls, of which 2 boys and 1 girl is married ) His three sons also work as construction workers with the Bombay Municipal Corporation. Mooswamy gets Rs.8 per working day and works 6 days a week. He does not expect to get a better job. He sees no alternative but to continue with his present status. Returning to his hometown is not an option. The concept of savings does not mean anything to him. He has used up whatever money he had for the marriages of his children. His only form of entertainment is to watch a Tamil film once a month.

The People

Shanmugam's view This piece is written by K.M.Shanmugam who lives in Dharavi (Considered to be Asia's largest slum). He hails from Kerala and is a Party worker. The jhopda is a place where poverty and illiteracy reign supreme. A playground of barbarism. A place where there are no basic facilities even for relieving oneself. People can even commit murder for a drop of water as their means of livelihood is violence and antisocial activities. On the one side are their huts which prostrates to the earth, on the other the skyscrapers - beautifully painted and protected by dogs and their drivers who resemble the dogs in their servility and loyalty to their masters. The imported car, with silken upholstery, mini movie, television. Yes, palaces which are paragons of ultra modernism. Two telling examples of the change that the Indian social and economic system has ultimately created! Hutments and Palaces. They are living close by, but these two societies cannot mingle. There is the difference of Heaven and Earth in their minds. One the one side people sipping the sweetness of life, the other bitterness. So long as we cannot shatter the social system which renders the poop hutment dwellers "antisocial", no force can uplift them. They hate the world which has denied them the heavenly pleasures that others are enjoying. They are ignorant of the forces which have pushed the into these hellish depths. If they knew, the flames of their anger would burn the ruling class into ashes. The Government has not really thought about these unfortunates who are forced to do reckless things in their fight for survival. The Government is following a policy which indirectly nurtures the violent trends in them.


The "goondas" of each of these regions are the leaders of the ruling party. They can move around freely without the interference from the police. they are lulled by the hollow promises and scant actions. They are unaware of the social systems and their various implications. It is of no use telling them about these. What is the uses of explaining the intricacies of a machine to an infant ? What they want is quick relief. Give them a gulp of liquor and ask them to attack someone. They will not have any inhibitions about doing so. On the contrary, if you try to dissuade them by citing his actions illegal, it will not make any difference or yield any results. How can the poor send their children to school? When they reach that age they loiter around with their comrades. They sleep on the floor and see their parents copulating. The arrack which is cheaper than tea boils his tender nerves, unrhymed sexual thoughts in his mind, waves of intoxication which reel the head, a beedi stub in the lips --- this is the future of a child in the slum. He does whatever he can to pacify his burning stomach. What can spiritual thoughts do for a hungry stomach ? He learns to live by robbing, pick-pocketing and even committing murder. His father has been doing that, and his son will be doing that. A birthright which passes through generations without a break. The Government spends crores of rupees in getting hold of these culprits and in punishing them. Alas! Had this money been spent on uplifting their lives.


A Story of Eviction From Janata Colony to Cheeta Camp In 1949, The Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) decided to transfer different jopadapattis (slums) of Bombay to Mankhurd and Jogeshwari. In accordance of the decision, the BMC acquired land at Mankhurd, In 1950/'51 ( When Moraji Desai was the Chief Minister) different jopadapattis of Bombay were demolished and shifted to Manhkurd in the basin of a hillock on the Sion-Trombay road. The uprooted people were assured that it would be their permanent place of residence. These peopl made this inhabitable land livable. They were alloted 300 sq.ft. each to build their houses. This place was called Jananta Colony. In the beginning the people were put to great hardship. Drinking water had to be fetched from great distances. However, they started their new life with the satisfaction that they would not be uprooted again. The people started to build churches, temples and mosques. They also started cottage industries. It was like a real township. In spite of Janata Colony being a cosmopolitan community, not a single case of communal disharmony was witnessed in the 25 year history of the colony. All the 70,000 inhabitants of the colony who professed different faiths lived in peace and harmony. In 1952, the Bhabha Atomic research Centre (BARC) was established on the other side of the hillock near the Janata Colony. At tht time the Government wanted to give the Janata Colony land to an oil company, but the Municipal Corporation took up the matter of shifting the Colony. Dr.Bhabha, the BARC Chief had assured the delegation of the Janata Colony, that if the colony was ever shifted, BARC would provide pucca houses to those affected. Later, Dr.Vikram Sarabhai and other important people also issued press notices that the Janata Colony residents would be provided housing worth 4.5 crores.


Sequence of events In 1965, a survey of Janata Colony was conducted by the BARC. In 1966, BARC advised the Janata Colony people to from a co-operative society. At the same time, construction of quarters for the BARC staff began near the Janata Colony. In 1970 Janata Colony residents submitted a plan for 4500 houses to the then Minister of Urban Development of the Maharashtra Government, Mr. P.G. Kher. In 1971 the then Chief Minister, Mr.V.P.Naik declared that all proprietary rights of the houses in the Cheeta Camp would be given to the residents. The Chief Minister also asked the residents of the Colony to deposit Rs.1600/- each within 3 months. Rs.80,000/- was collected from them and deposited with BARC. In 1973, BMC declared that all unauthorised structures of the Janata Colony would be legalised, but it did not materialise. On 19th December 1974 a notice was posted on the Municipal office of the colony, for the shifting of the Janata Colony. A deputation of the colony met the Chief Minister of Maharashtra at Nagpur and submitted a memorandum to him regarding the shifting of the colony. On 1st February 1975, Maharashtra's Minister for housing, Mr.Prabhakar Kunte, advised the BMC not to shift the Janata Colony. The Chief of the BARC declared in a press statement that the site of the Janata Colony would be utilised for constructing a swimming pool, theatre and other recreational centres.


A Story of Eviction

On 5th April 1976, the Supreme Court ordered that the Janata Colony residents should be provided with more facilities till 5th May 1976, and then shifted from the place. The State Government and the BMC were contacted in the light of the Supreme Court judgement, but they paid no heed and stuck to their original programme. On 13th May 1976, the SRP and the civil police surrounded Janata Colony. An appeal was made in the High Court because the Government and the BMC did not pay attention to the Supreme court order. But the High Court neither dismissed the appeal nor allowed it. It merely kept it in abeyance. On 17th May 1976, the houses were demolished post a lathi charge by the police. The forcible shifting to the Cheeta Colony began in the trucks provided by the BMC. The operation was complete by 10th June. Every family was allotted sites on the basis of leave and license. Whereas at Janata Colony there was no leave and license system. In Cheeta Camp, the rent was fixed at Rs.20, whereas at Janata Colony it was Rs.3.25 On 17th May 1976, the Cheeta Camp dwellers in a big rally at Janata Colony protested at the inhuman treatment by the BMC officials. Some people were arrested and cases filed against them. The poeple who were shifted to Cheet Camp with their luggage and wares on 17th May were not allowed to build their houses. They were asked to wait until the final meeting of the BMC was over. On 1st June, there was a heavy downpour which continued for many days, and swept away the belongings and building materials of the evictees. One man named Abdul Hameed committed suicide out of sheer hopelessness and frustration. He was unemployed and had no money to pay the BMC. After his death, his widow was alotted a plot of 10 x 10 ft.


Was shifting necessary ? According to the BMC., the shifting was necessary because the BARC needed the land. The Chairman of the BARC, Dr.Sethna, on different occasions had expressed the view that a swimming pool, a theater and recreation place shall be provided for the residents of the BARC colony. Again in the Press conference, Dr.Sethna advanced the theory of accommodating the scientists attached to BARC, failing which there would be a brain drain. For the benefit of a privileged few, 70,000 people were evicted and put through immense losses and inhuman trauma. It seems that in front of skyscrapers of BARC the dilapidated hutments of Janata Colony were like eyesores to Dr.Sethna and he desired that they be shifted out of sight to far flung areas. The expenditure incurred in this process was enough to build pucca structures at Janata Colony itself.


A Matter of Acceptance ociety has decided that the migrants and their settlements in the city are dangerous pockets in the city and that they are positive eyesores. These "invaders" are seen as undesirables, liable to cause health problems to the city populace, unless they can afford the prices of the national consumer society. Since that is not possible, they have to be removed from the vicinity of the city. Governments have formed their urban housing policies for low income families on these premises : The eradication of slums and squatter settlements and the rehousing of their inhabitants, who, it was assumed, were degraded by the conditions in which they lived ... The present trend in policies seems to be based on three basic assumptions : 1. That all urban slums and squatter settlements must be cleared and their inhabitants rehoused in "decent" safe and sanitary housing. 2. That the individual housing units (With it's construction costs inevitably subsidised by Governments to reduce its economic cost to the level of rent paying capacity) is the basic variable in solving the housing problem. 3. That Government sponsored and subsidised programs of low cost housing construction are essential since private enterprise will not participate as there is no perceived profit in housing programmes for the low income groups.


The attempt to solve the housing problem with the aid of police force, bulldozers and modern construction techniques was the direct consequence of interpreting the problem in terms of a quantitative deficit of modern dwellings. Two attempts at solving the housing and slum problem were at the Turkman Gate incident during the emergency in Delhi. Under this plan, 7 lakh poor residents of the city were removed from within the city area to pints beyond a supposedly green belt into satellite shanty towns called Seema Puri, etc. The second line of approach was called the Indian habitat Movement and was sponsored by Sanjay Gandhi in North India during the Emergency period of June 1975 to March 1977. This was an attempt to beautify the city, to surround and penetrate the city parameters with green belts, and develop pretty suburbs all round the city so that the affluent can feel comfortable.


A Matter of Acceptance

he real problem of the modern world, the thing which creates misery, wars and hatred amongst men, is the division of society into rich and poor. The significance about this division between rich and poor is not simply that one man has more food than he can eat, more houses than he can live in, while others are hungry, unclad or homeless.


he reality and the depth of the problem arises because the man who is rich has power over the lives of those who are poor. And even more important is that a social and economic system, supports these divisions, and constantly increases them so that the rich gets richer and more powerful, while the poor gets relatively ever poorer and less able to control their own future. This continues despite all the talk of human equality, of the fight against poverty, and of development.

The Answer ?


A Matter of Acceptance

he pace and scale of urbanisation are such that housing programs, based on such idealistic objectives as the eradication of slums and the massive implementation of Govt. subsidised housing projects, are an exercise in futility, incapable, given the resources, of making any effective contribution to the issue of housing. Given the impracticality of the total clearance of slum and squatter settlements in urban areas - indeed given the practical likelihood of their continued expansion in numbers and areas as the urban population inevitably increase - a new search for policy alternatives must begin from a fresh examination of the social and economic conditions in these spontaneous, uncontrolled settlements for the masses of urban poor, and from a fuller and more accurate appraisal of their inadequacies. Far from being simply "cancerous growth" of intolerable sanitation (the middle class and official view), they can be seen on investigation to perform at least six functions of major importance to the urbanisation process as a whole. 1. They provide housing at rents that can be afforded, and importantly through variation in hut and room size, they provide a narrow but important range of housing choices in relation both to varying income levels (and therefore rent paying capacity). 2. They act as "reception" centres in the urban areas for the predominantly unskilled and illiterate migrants from rural areas.


3. They provide within the settlement, a wide variety of employment in family and cottage industries, particularly in the vast numbers of marginally small scale engineering enterprises which provide both th means of livelihood for large numbers of slum dwellers, but also the opportunity to acquire productive and entrepreneurial skills - i.e., the slum has an important function in the economic adjustment of the migrant villager - to the changed environment of urban areas. 4. They provide the means to the slum dwellers of a considerable physical mobility within the urban area in search of employment, and through their ubiquitous location, the opportunity of finding accommodation in close proximity to the work place. 5. Through a wide variety of strong social and communal organisations within the slums, they provide slum dwellers with essential social support in unemployment and other occasions of difficulty and stress. 6. Finally and of particular importance to the problem of urban housing provision, they encourage and reward small scale private entrepreneurship in the field of housing; in that their huts are constructed in such a way that rooms can be let for profit to individual tenants.












Acknowledgements My sincere gratitude to the following for their help : Dr. Kurrien Dr. Sharma Mrs. Panwalkar Jacob Aikara All from Tata Institute of Social Studies, Bombay

Mrs. Rita Patel & Mrs. Rukmini "Mobile Creches", Bombay Joseph Pinto & Dr.Niranjan Godkandi Science Education Group, Bombay Madan Naik & U.K.Nair Mumbai Shramikh Sangh, Bombay S.K.Das Planning Action Research Team, Bombay A.Jockin National Service Kendra, Bombay K.M.Shanmugam C.L.David Sukumaran I am grateful to the understanding shown by my guide Mr.Vikas Satwelakar, NID, Ahmedabad, which helped me complete this work. And my sincere thanks to Kavita Valladares, Mala Sarkar, Suranjana Mukherjee and Abid Belal for all the help in assembling the book together.


References Ekistics April '63, May '63, July '71, Feb '71, Sept '75, March '74, Oct '79

Habitat : Human Settlements in an Urban Age ~ Angus M.Gunn

Immigrants and Neighbourhoods ~ Dr. N.S.Gore ( TISS, Bombay )

Design : Incorporating Indian Builder : Nov '79 Community Decay ~ Jon Rowland

Classes, Crisis and Coups ~ Michael Marland

Equality ~ Kohn Rees

Sons of the Soil ~ Myron Weiner

Systematic Sociology ~ Kimbail Young & Raymond W. Nack

A Minority group in American Society ~ J. Milton Yinger

Environment and Development in Shanty Towns : Exchange of Experience (Seminar documents co-sponsored by ENDA ( Environment Development Action) and PART ( Planning Action Research Team ~ Yusuf Meherally Centre, Bombay )





Profile for Rajeev Manikoth

images of a people  

Who exactly are the migrants? An attempt to look beyond the usual perceptions.

images of a people  

Who exactly are the migrants? An attempt to look beyond the usual perceptions.