A Nation of Litterbugs: Why Swachh Bharat Will Always Remain an Unfulfilled Dream

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A Nation of Litterbugs: Why Swachh Bharat Will Always Remain an Unfulfilled Dream

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

G

oing on a slum tour was the first thing on the to-do list of my American friend, who was visiting Mumbai for the first time. Like most firangs and Oprah, she’d seen Slumdog Millionaire, and had heard all about the largest slum in the world. Like most locals, I protested.

There is more to my city, I stressed, and what’s with this stereotyping anyway? I wasn’t so deluded as to think that the slum didn’t exist or that there was anything wrong with visiting it – I was just irritated with this fluffy uni-dimensional view of Mumbai as some sort of chaotic mess where moments of inspiration and beauty were just strewn across the street, waiting to be gleaned. Determined to change her mind, I wanted to show her the side of our spirited city that locals like us take immense pride in, pretty Colaba and the historic Fort area.

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