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Slumming It: The gospel of wealth comes for Dharavi

Slumming It: The gospel of wealth comes for Dharavi Re f o r m e r s Slumming It The gospel of wealth comes for Dharavi 3 Daniel Brook n a speech to the financial elite of India delivered in Mumbai in 2010, president Barack Obama opted for an unusual form of flattery. He saluted “all the Mumbaikars who get up every day in this City of Dreams to forge a better life for their children—from the boardrooms of world-class Indian companies to the shops in the winding alleys of Dharavi.” It was a notable name-check. Despite the president’s mangled pronunciation, his audience of well-heeled Mumbaikars all knew what Obama was talking about. Dharavi is their metropolis’s most famous slum. Were Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to come to America and do the same— hail the impoverished workfare mothers of Anacostia while on a state visit to Washington, say, or give a shout-out to the tenants of Harlem’s housing projects during a speech on Wall Street—it would be an uncomfortable moment. But, of course, it would never happen. If Singh’s speechwriters tried to throw in a mention of a famous impoverished neighborhood, higher-ups would surely excise it. The American myth of equal opportunity is greatly cherished, they http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Baffler MIT Press

Slumming It: The gospel of wealth comes for Dharavi

The BafflerMar 1, 2014

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Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
© 2014 Daniel Brook
ISSN
1059-9789
eISSN
2164-926X
DOI
10.1162/BFLR_a_00251
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Re f o r m e r s Slumming It The gospel of wealth comes for Dharavi 3 Daniel Brook n a speech to the financial elite of India delivered in Mumbai in 2010, president Barack Obama opted for an unusual form of flattery. He saluted “all the Mumbaikars who get up every day in this City of Dreams to forge a better life for their children—from the boardrooms of world-class Indian companies to the shops in the winding alleys of Dharavi.” It was a notable name-check. Despite the president’s mangled pronunciation, his audience of well-heeled Mumbaikars all knew what Obama was talking about. Dharavi is their metropolis’s most famous slum. Were Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to come to America and do the same— hail the impoverished workfare mothers of Anacostia while on a state visit to Washington, say, or give a shout-out to the tenants of Harlem’s housing projects during a speech on Wall Street—it would be an uncomfortable moment. But, of course, it would never happen. If Singh’s speechwriters tried to throw in a mention of a famous impoverished neighborhood, higher-ups would surely excise it. The American myth of equal opportunity is greatly cherished, they

Journal

The BafflerMIT Press

Published: Mar 1, 2014

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