11 Interesting Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Dharavi

Dharavi is one of the most well-known slums in the world. So you think you know everything about Dharavi? Did you know that the film Slumdog Millionaire, which won Oscars in 8 different categories was shot here?  Read on to know some interesting facts about this sprawling colony.

1. In the 18th century, Dharavi was an island

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2. A couple of 13-14 year old Dharavi girls have created android apps

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After learning how to use a computer, they learnt how to make android applications, and created the logo using MS Paint. They have an app that sends notifications to a registered user about when it is their turn to fetch water from the neighbourhood communal tap, a women’s security app with a distress call feature that lets out a scream when the screen is tapped, and a primary school lesson app in which there are three screens – one that displays the English alphabet, one that displays the Hindi one, and another that has a Math sum.

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3. A lot of workshop owners use Whatsapp to conduct business

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After a craftsman makes a kurta or leather purse for a client, he shoots a picture with his smart phone and sends it to the customer before the latter places a bulk order.

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4. The recycling units of Dharavi generate revenue by turning around the discarded waste of not only Mumbai’s 21 million citizens, but from all around the country and abroad as well

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5. They have a hip-hop crew called the SlumGods who have collaborated with international hip-hop artists

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Akash Dhangar, the founder of the SlumGods, quotes the rapper KRS-One: “He said you can’t learn hip-hop. You have to become hip-hop.” Over the past five years, the crew has collaborated with renowned hip-hop artists such as Tokyo-based DJ Sarasa, AKA Silverboombox, dancer-choreographer Prosenjit Guy Kundu, and the California-based MC Mandeep Sethi.

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6. They have a contemporary art festival

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Dharavi has a 3-week art festival organised by the NGO Sneha, called the ‘Alley Galli Biennale’ that showcases artwork made by local residents and artists.

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7. There are a few guided tours through Dharavi, showing the industrial and the residential part of Dharavi

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8. But if you think that they do not contribute to the economy…Dharavi has a large number of thriving small-scale industries that produce embroidered garments, export quality leather goods, pottery and plastic

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There are 20,000 mini-factories in Dharavi. Most of these products are made in tiny manufacturing units spread across the slum and are sold in domestic as well as international markets.

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9. Some scenes of the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire were actually shot in Dharavi

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The film is based on the book “Q & A”, which is also set in Dharavi.

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10. As of 2015, over 200 small and medium entrepreneurs from the bustling slum are now a part of a major e-commerce website, which is one of India’s large online retail marketplaces

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The exclusive Dharavi store will sell luggage, shoes, accessories, pottery, apparel and jewellery made in the slum.

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11. Leather, textiles and pottery products are among the goods made inside Dharavi by the slum residents. The total annual turnover has been estimated at over US $665 million

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Want to know some more shocking facts? Here’s a video that will take you inside the gallis of Dharavi:

The Other Side Of Dharavi

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