A whistle-blowers account of the chaos that is urban development Slumming India is a chronicle of our times, offering a glimpse into the story of the slumming of our cities. The author explores the fundamental question of how, in the worlds largest democracy, a large and growing section of the urban population is less equal and not faring well. Written with rare honesty by one who has been part of The System, the book dwells on the underlying processes through which so many urbanites have been marginalized as slum-walas, forced to live on pavements or in jhuggi clusters, and how a small number of urban development-walas are letting our cities slowly die.

The real problem, Gita argues, is not the pervasive urban squalor that offends us all, but rather the moral and intellectual bankruptcy that sustains it. The stories used in the book are not unique urban dwellers are witness to them every day and the author stays clear of painting a static overview of the slum problem through statistics and stereotypes, preferring, instead, to highlight the human aspects of the problem. The book does not provide yet another original solution rather the reader is left to find answers to the question: what can you do to solve the problem and what are you waiting for? This thorough and uncompromising analysis is a must-read for all those concerned with urban issues.

Original Cover from Penguin edition
© Gita Dewan Verma