Interview of an author

Topics: Mumbai, Slum, Book Pages: 7 (1954 words) Published: February 25, 2014

Focusing on the POSITIVES of Dharavi: Rashmi Bansal -

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Focusing on the POSITIVES of Dharavi: Rashmi Bansal
Last updated on: August 21, 2012 19:36 IST

In an interview with, bestselling
author Rashmi Bansal talks about her new
book, Poor Little Rich Slum (co-authored by
Deepak Gandhi) and just why Dharavi is such
an important part of Mumbai.

You've probably heard of Dharavi; it's

impossible not to have. If you're living in Mumbai,
you probably pass by it every day, holding your
breath, turning up your nose and trying hard to
ignore the filth around you.
The government has, from time to time,
announced plans to redevelop the 175 hectares
of goldmine into a commercial-cum-residential
haven smack in the heart of the city.
Much has changed since the first plans were
announced. For starters, the Lehman Brothers
(one of the bidders who wanted to redevelop the
slum) fell on their faces and led the world into a recession. India stood strong during the crunch; the UPA government got elected twice, following which at least a dozen scams were unearthed, the Greek economy failed and is yet to find its feet and of course, Slumdog Millionaire became a runaway hit, putting Dharavi on the map for the rest of the world. In the midst of all this, though, Dharavi continued to stand and its economy kept itself running. Over a period of nine months last year, bestselling writer Rashmi Bansal, along with co-author Deepak Gandhi and photographer Dee Gandhi visited the slum, with the idea of writing a book that has now become an institution of sorts. The result is a crisp little work with a bright blue and white cover called Poor Little Rich Slum: What We Saw In Dharavi and Why It Matters.

Featured in the book are heartening 'success' stories of individuals who have lived and worked out of Dharavi for a good part of their lives -- a garment maker who started out with almost nothing, a shoemaker to prominent Bollywood stars who ran away from his home with no money, and a highflying executive who gave up his job to make a difference to the children of the slums. These are but three of the many stories featured in Poor Little Rich Slum -- stories that usually get tucked away in the feature pages of newspapers but are now documented. In the following pages, author Rashmi Bansal talks about what makes Dharavi different and just what she learnt from her visits there. Read on!

'Dharavi has created its own economy'
Last updated on: August 21, 2012 19:36 IST

Tell us about how the idea for Poor Little Rich
Slum came about.
It is my fourth book and (like the previous four) it
also focuses on the spirit of enterprise and
entrepreneurship, but in a very different setting
from the previous books.
The idea (of writing about entrepreneurs in
Dharavi) came from my co-author Deepak
Gandhi, who worked for the United Nations
Development Programme and felt strongly about
He's visited slums across the world and felt that
the slum problem is universal, but that Dharavi is
unique in its response (to the other problems
that exist in slums). Elsewhere, people use
(slums) merely as low-income housing. Dharavi,
on the other hand, has created its own economy,
one that is not seen anywhere in the world.



Focusing on the POSITIVES of Dharavi: Rashmi Bansal -

So we decided to explore that aspect and find out more about it -- see if we could focus on the positives of Dharavi, rather than the problems that exist there and ones that are extensively written about. We thought it would be great to explore the lives of people who can rise above (such hellish situations), create something and have dignity and purpose in life.

'There is pride in what people in Dharavi do'
Last updated on: August 21, 2012 19:36 IST

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