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2-min read

You Can Now 'Experience Living in A Slum' In Mumbai for Just Rs 2280 Per Night

'Poverty porn' much?

Raka Mukherjee | News18.com@RakaMukherjeee

Updated:October 5, 2018, 4:47 PM IST
You Can Now 'Experience Living in A Slum' In Mumbai for Just Rs 2280 Per Night
'Poverty porn' much?
Western movies often portray India in a familiar light - a poor, dirty country riddled with slums, and no development what-so-ever. Basically, Slumdog Millionaire. People have always called out this very problematic trope, as this perpetuates a very limited, and wrong image of India to the rest of the world.

Further perpetuating and exploiting this trope today is a 'slum hotel' in Mumbai where at the cost of $31 USD or Rs 2280, you can stay at a room in a slum.

The hotel which 'opened' less than a year ago, is run by slum dweller Ravi Sansi, in the Khar Danda slum in Mumbai. Sansi, who is the owner of the building, has converted the loft of his house into a room which is equipped with an AC and a TV and the walls are freshly-painted. This however, is extremely uncharacteristic of both a slum, and of the rest of Sansi's dwelling.

There are pictures posted on their Facebook page, which show the "true" experience the slum provides - which comes complete with paint peeling off walls, and shared communal bathrooms.

The idea was thought of by a Dutch worker with an NGO, David Bijil, who explained in an AJ+ video how the point of this 'hotel' was to add an extra income source for the family. It also added that the initiative was meant to "create a connection between the two groups of people who would usually never meet."

However, the initiative has been criticized by several people who slammed it as fetishizing poverty or "poverty porn" and how the idea "treats people who live in slums like ‘animals in a zoo’”."

It has also been called out on Twitter several times.

This is not the first time artists and entrepreneurs have got slammed for controversial projects that appropriated or exploited poverty for the sake of art or business. Recently, a similar controversy arose after a photographer took a series of images of fake food in front of real, starving people in India.
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