MUMBAI : The Mumbai city is also called as City of Slums as 60 % of the population lives in slum areas . It is a very surprising fact that a large number of persons belonging to Muslim community have been living usually in the largest slums of Mumbai .
Dharavi , once upon a time , was not only the largest slum of Mumbai city , but it was also considered as the largest slum of Asia .Muslim community was a dominant religious group of slum dwellers in Dharavi also .
But development and progress took place in Dharavi .After the eclipse of Dharavi as the largest slum is of the city, three new large slum areas developed in the eastern suburbs during last 3 decades.
A research conducted some years ago said , “ All these 3 areas are mix of various communities of India.But religious composition of these areas is predominantly Muslim.” The study revealed that while many communities from various parts of India are living in these slums , which are now biggest slums of Mumbai in post- Dharavi era , but Muslims are living in these slums in large number .
This study puts a question, why Muslim community has been living or forced to live in the slums of Mumbai ? When Dharavi was the largest Slum area of Mumbai, Muslims , by numbers , were amongst the large group of slum dwellers there also .
After Dharavi , Govandi became the largest slum area of city .According to study , Muslims are the largest slum dweller group in Govandi .After Govandi , Deonar is the second largest slum and Muslims are also a dominant group living there .
In the past few decades, Kurla – Ghatkopar area became a slum belt very rapidly .Apart from many other religious groups , Muslims also constitute a considerable number of slum dwellers in this belt .
These slum areas lack basic amenities .The human development index of all these areas, according to various reports is very poor and below the city average .The areas lack proper educational , social , sanitation , and health infrastructure .
Various reasearch and inquiry documents like Sachar Committee report , Mandal Commssion report , Mehmood ur Rehman Committee report concluded that socio-economically Muslims are very backward and they must be recognised as socio – economic backward class. Their condition in some part of country is worse than Dalits .The study in city slum areas like Kurla – Ghatkoper belt and Deonar -Govandi belt stands proof to this.
Therefore there is an urgent need to allocate proper funds for all round and multi sectoral development of these areas , and inclusive development of Muslims must be guaranteed as per the recommendations of various commissions. The Muslim community leaders and urban planners must come together to answer this question .