I am so proud! One of the photos E. took in Mumbai is used in a website, and with his permission, a rare event in India, where intellectual property rights are about as enforced as women’s rights.
We had gone on a guided tour of the city with Salman and Muzaffar from “Be The Locals”, a tourist agency recommended by the hotel. This agency was founded and still operated in Dharavi, Mumbai’s (and maybe India’s) most famous slum. The two young men proudly live there, and attend college. Their education is funded in part by this job. As mentioned before (previous post), it was really an entertaining experience. We selected the “Off Beat” tour, and took tons of pictures. In the dhobi ghat (the massive mainly manual industrial laundry area), E. made a fun portrait of Muzaffar, who also goes by the name of Ganja. Go figure! When he saw it on the camera screen, he asked to have a copy, which I sent him a few days later.
A couple of days ago, I was checking the guide’s agency’s website for a friend, and found E’s picture right there: http://www.bethelocaltoursandtravels.com/OurTeam.aspx
After a lot of editing, here’s my newest version:
Be The Locals also offers tours of the slums. Many agencies in Mumbai do, especially after the success of “Slumdog Millionnaire”. We had a long discussion with those guys about it. Personally, I find it repulsive. Not the slum, but the idea that I would pay a slum dweller to observe the squalor they live in, then either feel sorry for them, or be grateful for my life, or a combination of both. My hubby disagrees. I understand it could be very educational, an eye opener for some. And if the fees are used for their tuition, all the power to them. In the U.S., do we let people pay to visit a homeless shelter, a shooting house, a cancer ward? There is a fine line between curiosity and voyeurism, and that’s my own limit. From my readings (not experience), I understand the tours are designed to showcase the positive energies of Dharavi, but strategically avoid certain less rosy areas.
Next time we go to Mumbai, E. may go. I probably won’t.
Way to go! Next stop National Geographic.