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Delhi 'Slum Walking Tour' Sparks Outrage on Twitter for 'Selling' Idea of Poverty

By: Buzz Staff

News18.com

Last Updated: September 05, 2022, 12:38 IST

Delhi, India

Residents of Sanjay Colony, a residential neighbourhood, crowd around a water tanker provided by the state-run Delhi Jal (water) Board to fill their containers in New Delhi June 30, 2009. (Credits: Reuters)

Residents of Sanjay Colony, a residential neighbourhood, crowd around a water tanker provided by the state-run Delhi Jal (water) Board to fill their containers in New Delhi June 30, 2009. (Credits: Reuters)

'Slum tours' in Delhi are a thing, and they draw visitors trying to 'find themselves', all while reducing the people who have been failed by a capitalist society into objects to be ogled at, instrumental in fulfilling a purpose that's not their own.

‘Poverty tourism’ is a phenomenon that has been widely criticised, where the lives of people living in poverty is romanticised and in essence, exploited for profit. It’s a trope that repeatedly occurs in Bollywood films as well (think Slumdog Millionaire) where the poverty of Indian slums is caricaturized for a predominantly foreign audience. ‘Slum tours’ in Delhi are a thing, and they draw visitors trying to “find themselves", all while reducing the people who have been failed by a capitalist society into objects to be ogled at, instrumental in fulfilling a purpose that’s not their own.

A journalist shared a screengrab from a company facilitating such a tour in Delhi, and charging Rs 1,800 for it. It sparked outrage on Twitter and started a wider conversation. It is to be noted that some organisations facilitating such tours invest part of the proceeds to developmental projects for the areas, through NGOs or otherwise. These are also to be distinguished from projects organised by residents of the slums themselves as a means of income.

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Such tours have been prevalent for a long time, most notably in the case of Mumbai’s Dharavi slums, popularised more by the success of the film Slumdog Millionaire. However, some initiatives have also been started by artists and performers residing in the slum itself, to earn as well as to bring attention to the problems with which they grapple.

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first published:September 05, 2022, 12:38 IST
last updated:September 05, 2022, 12:38 IST