Three women who came to the city of Delhi at three different points in its history, with three different backgrounds, and to three different settlement “categories”. All of them see their work as something which is making a difference, education, housing and food….yet three different positionalities…three kinds of differential access to resources…..three different ways of negotiating these differential access….
As the playful production of momos go on in the first floor of a shop in Chirag Dilli, Vikas, one of the 25 year old momo entrepreneur jokingly ask – “इतनी फोटो खीच रहे हो, कहीं बेन तो नहीं लगवाओगे?” ‘you are taking so pictures, will you ban us (laughs)’ …. and me “मेगी की तरह मोमो को बेन कर दिया तो दिल्लीवाले सड़क पे उत्तर आएंगे!” ‘if momos are banned like magi then dilli walas will protest on roads’……. laughs break as I taste the ingredients!
Urban development has lead to a binary theorization of the cities, into the formal and the informal. Where the economically weaker section is seen as living in the ruptures of the legal systems and called the informal. The informal, understood as- of which is devoid of formality, thus most of the discussions pertaining to informal are portrayed against the formal. Informality thus becomes an anarchic appropriation of what could not be absorbed in the formal.
The general notion of shame towards non-formal settlements like Kathputli Colony, which essentially is a colonial legacy, is undermining the immense potential that this settlement has. Kathputli Colony is part of the cultural landscape of Delhi and can be accentuated so
Informal Settlements – Understanding + Interacting is an elective course (2013) for third year architecture students of Sushant School of Art and Architecture. Fifteen Students in three groups tried processes to interact and understand the informal settlements which steer away from the regular and formal analytical methods.
I felt sad that none of the politicians talked about any of the urban implications. Especially in light of the largest ever investment into urban areas through JNNURM, I thought Kamal Nath would have taken up some issues, because he is the urban development minister and was in trade ministry, which is a rare blend. Jaitly was speaking red and lefties were making arguments way too below their standards. Well! All others were just speaking something which I found really hard to make any sense in terms of logical argument.
When we say slums, we are talking about a place which more than 93 million people call home. When India is having an upper hand in global economy through a demographic dividend, one in every eight child (0 to 6 years old) lives in a slum….. thus the situation is grave.