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New Delhi is all about the glitz and the glamour─ what with the fast-emerging metro networks, malls, multiplexes, restaurants and brands however the underbelly shows the other side too where a large number of people live in inhuman conditions and are seen fighting for survival. We discuss such habitats in and around Delhi.

Madanpur Khadar

Located about a kilometre away from the Sarita Vihar Metro Station, Madanpur Khadar is a resettlement colony on the outskirts of Delhi. It was selected by the govt as the site to relocate large groups of slum-dwellers from different parts of the city back then in the year 2000. The majority of residents found here are rag-pickers. On entering this area, the scenery you will come across, is dominated by mud and brick houses, narrow streets, trash/second-hand material selling markets and a sewer line running through the slum. While the slum-dwellers here suffer from the lack of safe drinking water and sanitation problems, care has been taken in some departments, as many NGOs for Women Welfare or HIV affected have opened in the area.

Location | Near Sarita Vihar Metro Station

Sangam Vihar

Sangam Vihar is a slum colony and is known to be one of the biggest ones in India that has been around since the late 70s housing people migrating from the neighbouring states, mainly U.P. and Bihar. It has no water supply in many of its areas and the people here struggle day & night for the basic amenities of life including a shortage of communal toilets resulting to open defecation causing sanitation and hygiene issues in the locality.

Location | Sangam Vihar Road

Paharganj Slums

Paharganj Street, located in the vicinity of the New Delhi Railway Station, other than being a backpacker’s zone houses a large slum community. It is one of the more developed slums of Delhi due to revenue flowing in from cheap guesthouses for train passengers deboarding at the Paharganj side of the New Delhi Railway Station. Most of the dwellers here do menial jobs or are pickpockets. It is largely an Old Delhi-style settlement, with narrow streets and 2-3 floor buildings and shops. On entering, you will see the lanes are mostly untidy and extremely crowded and buzzing with activity with streets surrounded by small brick houses on both sides. Women can be seeing washing dishes and clothes, sewing garments or simply chit-chatting away to glory.

Location | Paharganj Road

Kathputli Colony

It is one of the most remarkable slums located near Shadipur Depot, Patel Nagar which is in the process of being relocated. The dwellers here are magicians, puppeteers, acrobats, dancers and other artists who have been living in this area for hundreds of years. This slum area is all about narrow mud roads, colourful houses and streets overflowing with performers. The Indian Government deemed the community's greatest puppeteers and magicians around the world any time they need to showcase the cultural excellence of India. 

Location | Near Shadipur Depot, New Patel Nagar

Kusumpur Pahari

The largest slum in New Delhi and housing around more than 10,000 slums, Kusumpur Pahari is home mostly to poor migrants from UP, Bihar, Orissa and Assam etc. Located in Vasant Vihar, one of the most posh areas in Delhi, this slum gives a tough contrast to the area’s posh bungalows. The majority of this slum has servants, drivers, gardeners, sweepers who work for the wealthy people living in Vasant Vihar.

Location | Near Vasant Vihar

Seemapuri Slums

Seemapuri is yet another slum area located in East Delhi, with the majority of the area being a garbage dump, having open drains and sewage nallahs (canals). The residents here are mostly labour class. Women take to collecting toxic drinking water and live in houses made of mud. They also have 7-8 members sharing a tiny room with a paucity of the basic amenities.

Location | Near Old Seemapuri, Taharpur

This is the other side of Delhi which cannot be ignored; some slums still exist while others are destroyed in the wake of the commonwealth games, upcoming malls and buildings. So be grateful for the roof over your head the next time you find yourself complaining about the nitty-gritties of life.