Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Time magazine examines tough transitions in old Bombay, India

HEART & SOUL OF INDIA. Bangalore and Hyderabad are the emerging technology centers of India. Kolkata (Calcutta) is the sagging sacred city in the east. New Delhi, in India's northern heartland, is the government center. But Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is India's throbbing heart and soul, as well as its primary gateway to the world. All that is hopeful, wonderful, and excellent, along with all that is despairing, troubling, and tragic about India converges in this west-coast megacity.

Time is producing a series of articles titled "Inner Workings of the World's Megacities." Time's online article about Mumbai focuses on the quandary of redevelopment in the world's largest slum--Dharavi, home to over 600,000 residents within a 500-acre area. Dharavi must be developed--but by whom, for whom, how, and at who's expense? How Mumbai redevelops Dharavi will be a signal to other megacities around the world.

The article is worth reading for two reasons: (1) It is spot-on in pointing out the juxtaposition of past and future and the ever-present challenge of poverty amid development and redevelopment, and (2) the future of the modern world must reckon with India--and global citizens need to learn as much about this nation as possible.

This Time photo by Adam Ferguson show an intersection in the world's largest slum, Dharavi, with downtown Mumbai in the background.

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