When My Masters Thesis and Hollywood Combine

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I wrote my Master's thesis last year on slum demolition campaigns in Indian megacities, looking at the  local political motivations behind bulldozing and the informalization of poor housing.  I had become interested in the topic after learning about the Yamuna Pushta River eviction in Delhi in 2004-2005 and the Shanghaization of Mumbai in that same year.  Both these drives saw thousands of families displaced.  Demolitions without notice are about the politics of control-whether looking at Mugabe's Operation Murambatsvina or demolitions of houses against Palestinians by the Israeli government.  Indian cities, however, are a paradox-the combination of slumdwellers being some of the biggest voting blocks, as well as forming the majority the population of urban cities in globalizing cities such as Mumbai makes demolition drives difficult to comprehend.  

When Slumdog Millionaire came out I was happy that finally some attention from the West was being put on the contemporary situation of urban slumdwellers in India, but I noticed that they failed to look at the fragility and risk associated with living in unauthorized housing in these mega-cities.  Unfortunately, while I would rather see it got on film and not in reality, I am afraid to say one of the child actors of the movies (from whose attention a strange sub-niche of slum paparazzi has been born) recently had his house demolished, without prior notice, before his very eyes.  During my thesis, my main observation was that many eviction campaigns happen closely before and after elections, particularly regional ones.  This example substantiates this trend.

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