A city within the city, Dharavi may be Asia's largest slum, but it is equal parts tourist trap 9for reality tourism) and middle class potential. Home to more than a million people out of which many are second-and-third generation residents, Dharavi's development was given a boost of Rs 100 crore by the late Rajiv Gandhi, in honour of the Congress centenary, coincidentally in the year that the ADC first saw the light of day.

Today's Dharavi bears a dim resemblance to the old rabbit-warren if twisting lanes and gullies bounded by roads, punctuated with fly-blown garbage heaps.

A good way to describe it would be Entrepreneur Central. Check out all the smart leather shops selling everything from shoes to jackets, and ladies clutches to travel bags.

The slum re-hab buildings that have sprung up in response the the first grant are themselves being pulled dow to make way for the first swanky constructions. The middle classes are moving in, but the old residents, now in possession of expensive real estate, are moving up as well.

More comfortingly, enterprise is the watchword and Dharavi's little businesses continue to thrive - embroidered garments, export quality leather goods, pottery and plastic. The state government has plans to redevelop Dharavi and transform it into a modern township, complete with proper housing and shopping complexes, hospitals and schools. In the next ten years, it could well be an address to aspire to!


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