Next Stop, Squalor

Next Stop, Squalor

Next Stop, Squalor 1 31
g have been escorting foreign visitors through Rio de janeiro’s infa-
f; mous favelas, with their drug gangs and ocean views, and the vast
J O H N L A N C A S T E R «’ ‘ townships outside Cape Town and Johannesburg, where tourists , ,1“;
rl “L . n o v a o o I l.
r ‘ are 1nv1ted to mix With South Africans at one of the illic1t beer halls
A y ‘ ‘ known as shebeens. A nonprofit group in New Delhi charges tour-
Next Stop squalor . ~ 1 ‘ ‘ ists for guided walks through the railway station, to raise money for
i ~ ‘ ‘ the street children who haunt its platforms. i
I FROM Smithsonian V But the Dharavi tours have been especially controversial. In a
i lengthy report last September, the Indian English-language Times i
Now television channel attacked them as an exercise in voyeurism {if
4 ‘ . J, . ‘ . ‘ ‘ a y – u
i 9}. and a sleazy bid to ‘cash in on the poor-India image. That report i:
was followed by a panel discussion in which the moderator all but
u . . “ . . . ‘: vyil
THE DHARAVI S UATTER S t , . _ 7;. accused POOJaI‘l of crimes against humanity. If you were livmg in l.
I Q – ET’I‘LEMISNT 1n Mumbai is oftende- 73;; .- l t Dharavi, in that slum, would you like a foreign tourist coming and
scribed as the biggest slum in Asia. It Sits between two rail lines i 1’ ‘ n u ‘ – – – – ‘ ’7‘
the northern art f th . . . ‘n ‘ ‘2 é”; s walking all over you? he sputtered. This kind of slum tourism, it is Mill
ing fishery Tlfe “Eek £123: on a creefk mat once SPSEIHCfi a thrlv’ I a clear invasion of somebody’s privacy . . . You are treating humans Eli
and the ai above Dharavi is gimp O sewage and Indusmal WaSte’ like animals.” A tourism offiCial on the panel called the tour opera-
v ‘ ‘ ;-.;- “ . . . . ,, ‘31:
B one esfi t th 1 . g tors paraSites [who] need to be investigated and put behind bars, “if!
fiesyalmost aglafi’h e m ls home to ten thousand small faCtO‘ and a state lawmaker has threatened to shut them down. Ell“
V-d ’ 0 em 1 Cgal and “9r?gula‘ed~ The factones Pro‘ The critics, it seemed, had claimed the moral high ground. But
1 e sustenance of a sort to the million or so people who are could they holditp V
tl‘fl‘olgghtéo live in Dharavi, which at 432 acres is barely half the size 5“ i ‘ i
o ew ork Ci ’s Central P ‘ ‘ ~ ‘ 553 ‘ ‘- I‘
picku and onltyone t ,1 fark’ There ls no dlscernlble g’a’rbage y One sunny morning this past December, I met Christopher Way at vgui
urbanpf’lell y 01 6t or‘every I ’440 people’ It ls a “sum of 1‘}; . Leopold’s Café, a popular backpackers’ hangout in Mumbai’s bus-
A z, . . . . . . H;
It is also one . , , , . . tling Colaba district. At thirty-one, he is boyish and bespectacled, «z :5;
oflast year a 0:1: Irgcliiztiisshnewgst tourist attractions. Since January .3. with a thatch of tousled brown hair and a thoughtful, unassuming i
y g en epreneur’ Chrlstopher way’ and hls C .57 manner. Over glasses of freshly S ueezed mango ’uice he told me iii
Indian busmess partner Krishna Poo’ari h b 11′ ‘ ‘ x: q J ’ . sill


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