Of Garbage and Strength

A photo essay of the Deonar dumping grounds.

New Media Fellows 2013

By Anindita Sengupta

February 22, 2013

Also published at Anindita Sengupta's Tumblr

Deonar dumping grounds in Mumbai is where the city’s trash is gathered. It is also where a settlement of rag pickers has sprung up—a somewhat extreme case of people living close to where they work. Because they are classified as an illegal settlement i.e. the government does not recognise their right to live on this land, they have no access to basic infrastructure.  Water and sanitation are perilous. As is stability. Their houses are demolished frequently. With seemingly infinite resilience, they build them again. 

In Mumbai, ‘illegal’ slums often become legal over time as the government realises that the people who live in a settlement just cannot move because they would starve if they did. These people, like many others, hope that this will happen for their settlement. Then, perhaps, they will have roads, water pipes, electricity lines.

Anindita Sengupta is a 2013 IRP New Media Fellow. In February 2013, Anindita joined IRP on the Spring 2013 trip to India to report on child survival.