The Indian government has angered many citizens by endorsing plans to tear down Mumbai's largest slum -- the setting for the Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire" -- in order to make way for luxury housing and commercial areas.
As part of the slum rehabilitation project, developers will bull-doze the crowded Dharavi slum and move existing residents into modern apartment buildings. They say that clearing the slums and making way for more upscale real estate will help usher in India's growing economy.
Community activists and slum dwellers argue, however, that the million people who call the slums home do not want to see their homes, businesses and community give way for the new developments.
National Slum Dwellers Federation member John Bai says that while he is not against development, he notes that many Dharavi residents run businesses out of their homes and would not be able to work in the new spaces.
"Everybody wants [redevelopment], but not at the cost of our bread and butter. See, most of the people, they are earning a living in their house itself. They've got small home industries. Now, if we are displaced from this place, in buildings, we can't do all these businesses," he says.
"We've never asked the government for new houses. The government came to us. We're very happy where we are. Some people even say that, if we move into bigger houses, there will be problems, because we'll have to pay property taxes and we'll be living right alongside people who are wealthier than us." - Siddharth Mehde, slum resident
"If a city has ever had a chance to reinvent itself, to make its mark on the international world, I believe that the process through which it will happen is through slum rehabilitation." - Shaan Mehta, MM Project Consultants Ltd.
"You can't rehabilitate people through a movement or a migration from one building to another. You've got to understand culture." - Suhel Seth, Managing Partner, Counselage.
1. What do you know about India?
2. What is a slum? Who lives there?
3. Have you seen "Slumdog Millionaire?" How does the film portray the slums?
1. According to the video, what are the arguments for redevelopment? What are the arguments against it?
2. Do you think it is fair for India's government to endorse a project that would move residents away from their homes in the name of redevelopment? Why or why not?
3. How would you feel if you were forced to leave your home and move somewhere else?
4. Have you heard of any similar occurrences in America or in your community where poorer residential areas were affected by development?
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