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In the shadow of the others

Futuristic office towers. Stylish bio food stores and organic cafés. Residence Antilia, 173 m high and the world’s most expensive residential building. Downtown Mumbai is showing in forced modernity. Only one multilane in concrete away: Dharavi. Mumbai’s mega slum. A confusion of boxlike houses, tin huts, minute workshops, one-room factories, market stalls, piles of rubbish, cookshops and open sewers. Diseases, deprivation, marginalization, side by side. At the same time this is the epicenter of India’s informal economy. And an unleashed show of initiative, force of innovation and network. Absolutely hot for international fashion labels: the tanneries and micro-manufacturers for leather accessories. Super creative: always new recycling concepts for plastics, reaching from yogurt pots to computer cases. A profit of a milliard dollars is generated in Dharavi every year. That’s what financial experts estimate. A touching glance behind the façade of the informal. Photographs by Sven Hoffmann, editing and music: Viktoria Hall-Waldhauser.