What are slums? They are the homes of the poor and their families, and provide the minimum shelter to the people. It has been noticed that, slums are mostly found on the outskirts of all big towns. This was the position when they started coming up but now, we find slums right in the hearts of towns and specially the big towns.
This fact of the increasing population of slums needs to be thought about and analysed. Let us analyse as to why slums are found just near all posh colonies of all the big towns. Every big town has, on the one hand five star hotels with their accompanying prosperity, and, on the other hand, there are huge slum colonies also popularly known as Jhuggi Clusters.
The reason for their existence mostly near the colonies of the elite, is not far to seek. Who are these slum dwellers? Why are they here? These slum dwellers are mostly people who work for the affluent class, they are working in the homes, cleaning cars etc.
They are labourers and other workers like rickshaw pullers, scooter drivers etc. The reason for their being here in big towns is that, they come here in search of greener pastures or rather in search of some jobs. Since the big towns offer more opportunities they throng here, and also do get the required work.
Once they get work, they obviously get settled in homes in the form of slums. With several people of this category coming to big towns for work gives birth to a number of slum colonies – and all are near their place of work that is near the posh colonies.
Another big chunk of a population of this category is the construction workers. With the expansion of construction activities in the big towns, these workers come and gather here, and then stay put in slums. With an enormous potential in getting work in construction work people from neighboring areas come to towns and get settled.
Thus we can see that, slums develop in the course of time as people come to towns in search of occupation, and once they get the desired work they get settled here and cause a nuisance to the affluent. However, let us remember they are all the time working for the affluent gentry either in their homes or in making homes for them.
It is such a pity to realise that, though they are working all the time for the affluent class, for the rich metro dwellers, their residence in the vicinity close to the rich is objectionable for the rich.
Let us realise that, if the slum dwellers are there to work for us, they have to be near us – so, if we want them to work for us, we have to accept their presence also. However, the cause of the objection is also not quite wrong.
These slums in the nearby areas are a cause of a lot of pollution and thus result in health hazards. Since they have no place to bathe, go to the toilet, wash their clothes, all this daily work is done in the open causing inconvenience to the residents of the areas.
Besides this, the presence of slums near by the colony, make the colony look ugly and dirty, which is why they are an objectionable lot. Since this class is mainly of the menial class, their presence so near the affluent is enough cause of worry in regard to crime.
Their presence thus poses a problem of security for the colonies. Criminals of all hues and colours find heaven in the slums, and are a constant source of worry for the inmates of colonies. With the slums rising in numbers the population graph of these cities and towns also becomes unmanageable.
They also need the basics of water and electricity, these become a scarce commodity in towns for the permanent dwellers. Everything is in short supply as, the amount available is to be shared with these slum dwellers. This, in turn is because the cities and towns were originally not planned for the huge exodus into the original towns.
Thus, slums destroy the scenario of towns and also add to the innumerable problems that already exist. The calm and quiet existence of the areas is lost to the dirty and noisy appearance of the slums.
However, at the same time if slums are removed and slum dwellers vanish, where will the so- called big people get their workers from? Let us ponder upon this aspect and allow them their poor existence – and that also for our own sake.
The only thing that can be done to improve the scene is, to teach them to be neat and clean and more disciplined. If they live as neat and disciplined citizens there should not be much of a problem.