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Mumbai Lecture, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1021

Essay

How was Mumbai shaped by colonization?
Mumbai was created from a series of islands, making it a port city. The Portuguese transferred the Mumbai port to the British East India Company in 1668. This made Bombay the heart of the trading empire for the British East India Company. The British wanted the goods from India so they infiltrated the Indian culture by trading and accommodation. In the 19th century a large number of Christian missionaries starting moving into India and created tensions and an uprising called the Sepoy Mutiny against British forces. This caused a transition in government to the Crown.

What was the situation after independence in Mumbai?
Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian people wanted the British to leave the country. They were interested in home production and Neru encouraged social democracy in an effort to get India to move toward self-sufficiency. This lead to a series of non-violent protests in the early 20th century, which put pressure on the British government to give up India in 1947. This eventually lead to fighting between the Hindi and Muslim people of India and civil war and a division of the country into Pakistan (predominantly Muslim) and India (predominantly Hindu).

What role did social democratic policies play in Mumbai’s problems?
Power was shared between the British (democracy) and the Crown (dictatorship). In the 19th and early 20th century, a large part of the India population was trained to run the bureaucracy of the Indian colony. Socially, the British imposed English law, modern technology and architecture on Mumbai. This, however, helped India’s success. But there still existed a dictatorship. The Indians realized that the British were milking them for their resources.

What is the way that poor people have filtered into Mumbai? What are their problems? What problems do the squatter cities create for the city as a whole?
High taxes were imposed on the poor by land owners. There were famines, plagues and problems for them. Resistance emerged, associated with Mahatma Gandhi and Neru who started the Indian Independence movement or the Congress Party. After the independence of India, people started to take (squat) land to build their own slum houses. Because of the low quality of life this created health problems and there was a lot of unemployment.

What role does Mumbai play in the modern Indian economy?
Mumbai continued to grow after the independence of India in 1947, mainly from people building slum housing. Investors had no incentive to get into the housing business because the government had regulations on the housing situation in the country and the rents were not profitable. The economy shifted during the 1980s to the neo-liberal or free market model for capitalism. This opened the door for land and builders to come in and build housing, high tech corporations and shopping areas like western-style.

What are the problems in Mumbai pinpointed in the articles?
Lack of housing caused people to build their own houses in slum areas. Sanitation problems were widespread and there was contaminated ground water supplies. There were disease epidemics of cholera and typhoid fever, also gastroenteritis and malaria. These mainly affected the poor and the slum dwellers. This was because the middle-class monopolized sanitation services provided by the government.

Why has the middle class in Mumbai been slow to improve public health in Mumbai?
The middle class held a monopoly on basic urban services that included sanitation services that the state provided. They chose to exclude the poorer people in Indian society from having access to public health and environmental services.

How is this different from the experience in cities like New York, Manchester, and Paris as they modernized (think about public infrastructure)?
Cities like New York, Manchester and Paris had adequate sewer systems built that would filter unsanitary water and waste away from the drinking and usable water that the people were exposed to. The poor people in India are forced to use contaminated water because rivers were turned into sewage and so forth.

What are the strengths, if any, of the slum communities detailed in the articles?
There is big business in the slum workshops in Dharavi, a large Indian slum. There are many businesses that have a combined annual output between $600 million and $1 billion per year.

Squatter City – Mumbai Questions

What do the speakers identify as the problems of the squatter settlements?
The problems of the squatter settlements included bad environmental living conditions. They live in filthy, disease causing environments because of the fact that they have no sewer system and waste has contaminated their water supplies. There are also problems with insects that cause disease such as malaria and cholera. Many people die from these diseases from living in the squatter slums. Also the squatters are victims of dire poverty-stricken conditions and they are forced to work hard for little pay.

What do they see as the great strength of these settlements?
Even with the problems, the strength of these settlements are their ability to produce usable goods for sale. They are very talented and their street shops are a source of income for many. I think they are also a close-knit group because they share the same problems and they build their own homes among each other.  I think there is strength in their understanding each other’s plights.

How do these poverty-stricken communities compare with our own slums in the United States? Do you have any direct experience with squatter settlements or slums in the United States?
I have no direct experience with squatter settlements or slums in the United States. I really do not believe that I have ever heard of slums in this country that are as bad as these squatter slums. To my knowledge, at the very least, poverty-stricken communities in this country have plumbing and sewer service. I know there are people who are homeless and living on the streets and trying to make do with what they have and may be living in similar circumstances, but I think that our country’s welfare system takes care of at least the basic human needs of the people here. We don’t have epidemics of diseases such as cholera and malaria here.

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