Photographers' Blog

Jostling for space in Mumbai

October 13, 2011

By Danish Siddiqui

To live in the world’s second most populous country and city is itself an experience. When I was asked to do a feature story on the world’s population crossing the 7 billion mark, I realized it wasn’t going to be an easy task. This was simply because there were so many stories to tell in this city of dreams, Mumbai.

I chose to do a story on the living conditions of Mumbai’s migrant population who pour in to the city by the hour.

I decided to go to a slum which is inhabited mostly by migrants arriving from the northern part of India in search of a better future. Most of the migrants who live there work as taxi drivers and manual laborers. It was difficult to get access as they were always apprehensive of journalists. But I was able to convince a couple of them over a cup of tea after which they opened the doors of their one room world to me.

This same one room tenement acts as their bathroom, kitchen and living room. The one room is shared by at least 5 to 20 people who share the space, rent and other expenses.

When I first entered I was amazed to see how 10 people lived in 4.5 x 3 meters (15 x 10ft.) space. It had a small bathroom which was nothing but a one meter high wall creating a small enclosure in a corner. The room also had a slab to keep utensils and two huge containers to store water. Every inch of the room was smartly used to store the personal belongings of its occupants.

The occupants were a bit uncomfortable with my camera initially but adjusted to it over time. I called the occupants by their names which helped get rid of their initial inhibitions. I photographed the room and its occupants over four days and at different times as everyone would leave by 8 in the morning for work.

The lack of space never got in the way of the occupants having a good time and enjoying each others company. For millions of these migrants living in these conditions in their dream city they might not be living their dream but I am sure everyone is working hard to achieve it.

The youngest boy told me that he wants to become a pilot one day and fly with his family. I hope they all live to see their dream come true soon.

Millions of migrants swarm the streets of Mumbai, jostling for their inch in the big bad city everyday but the dense population of the city, with people from different regions of the country, gives Mumbai a unique special character.

Comments
7 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Hi, I’d love to see a photo story about Chinese babies as part of mankind crossing the 7 billion mark.
Lucas
http://www.pictobank.com/

Posted by Photoluc | Report as abusive
 

Is India becoming too big to govern?

The population growth in India has outgrown everything else, even perhaps corruption. It is the country with the highest population density in the list of top 10 countries with highest population and with largest land. Only one country with higher population density and in any one of the two largest/highest list is its neighbor, Bangladesh. Bangladesh is in top 10 highest population list. No wonder illegal Bangladesh immigration is a major headache in India.

To commensurate this wonderful population growth story, Indian political growth is apologetically moribund. The number of seats in people’s parliament have increased from 489 to 543. To compare with population growth, since 1951 the population of the country has increased from 361.1 millions to 1028.7 millions. All the political growth has been horizontally, and not vertically……

The sad part is that number of seats in Indian parliament have been freeze till the year 2026……………………

Posted by abhi1498 | Report as abusive
 

Is India becoming too big to govern?

The population growth in India has outgrown everything else, even perhaps corruption. It is the country with the highest population density in the list of top 10 countries with highest population and with largest land. Only one country with higher population density and in any one of the two largest/highest list is its neighbor, Bangladesh. Bangladesh is in top 10 highest population list. No wonder illegal Bangladesh immigration is a major headache in India.

To commensurate this wonderful population growth story, Indian political growth is apologetically moribund. The number of seats in people’s parliament have increased from 489 to 543. To compare with population growth, since 1951 the population of the country has increased from 361.1 millions to 1028.7 millions. All the political growth has been horizontally, and not vertically……

The sad part is that number of seats in Indian parliament have been freeze till the year 2026……………………

Posted by abhi1498 | Report as abusive
 

This is really a very good story with some great photos.

Apratim Saha.
http://www.apratimsaha.com

Posted by apratimsaha | Report as abusive
 

India is certainly too big, but a little bit of commonsense can solve all their problems. material handling equipments

Posted by Ashok007 | Report as abusive
 

I know that many taxi drivers migrating from North India spend their nights in the taxis and use public baths (Sulabh Shauchalayas) for morning activities. They do not even have a roof above their heads. A few have arrangements with building liftmen of commercial buildings and get to sleep on floor once all offices are closed and lifts are powered off in such buildings.

In spite of all the hardships that they face, Mumbai still seems to be an attractive work destination for many.

Posted by iamShishir | Report as abusive
 

The goverment is failing to take successive actions to handle to growth of the city. Thank you for the photographs Danish Siddiqui

Posted by PrathviRaj | Report as abusive
 

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