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Posted Feb 25,2009

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Posted by Marc Silver | Comments (11)


Kurian Thomas
Feb 25, 2009 10AM #

I am Indian national currently living in Hong Kong (also previously worked with Save the Children). There was an unprecedented interest among my colleagues in HK about the slums in India and more specifically about the children living in Indian slums after the movie SDM.

In India, we have notified and non-notified slums. Notified means - notified as slums by respective municipalities, corporations, local bodies. We also have an equal or more number of un-notified slums, the situation is even worse in the un-notified slums as the government service delivery mechanism is very weak or non existent in these areas.

Notified slums experience ‘some’ improvements in facilities over the past years, while the case of un-notified slums, remain un-noticed! Government system still lacks commitment and interest to work in these un-notified slums and I can see a bigger role to be played by NGOs - especially by child focused NGOs like Save the Children.

Feb 25, 2009 10AM #

Though I am an American citizen, I was born in India and entirely raised here. My parents have been working in India for the past 25 years and for several years now have been working all across India providing several kinds of programs for children. The programs we run in Mumbai include, feeding programs that also provide tutoring, children's homes, assistance to women and children to escape the sex trade and a "transformation center" outside of the city for women and their children who leave the sex trade in Mumbai.

The movie "Slumdog Millionare" does have some exaggerated elements to it when it comes to the love story, that is true. However, it depicts the lives of slum children quite well.

I would like to make only one clarification. Although it is no longer very common, children are occasionally maimed. In fact, about ten years ago there was quite a significant case in Andhra Pradesh where the police made a huge bust after several years of undercover persuit of a gang that had an enormous network across the state for enforced begging, especially that of maimed children.

Mark Fisher
Feb 25, 2009 10AM #

I thought the depiction of the beggars and the slums of Mumbai was altogether accurate based upon my experience. My question to Nawal who asserts that the beggar children are not purposely maimed to make them more effective at begging is, how then do so many of them end up that way? This is not limited to just Mumbai. One sees maimed begging children throughout India and I cannot believe that they were all the victims of unfortunate accidents. Danny Boyle's narrative makes much more sense. All the more reason to save one child at a time.

Roberta Jach;ym
Feb 25, 2009 10AM #

As deplorable as the depiction of living conditions in the slum may be, the problem will never be solved until people are educated to limit the size of their family. A magazine report of one of the families of a mother with eight children living in one room makes me wonder how that mother ever thought she could provide for her children. I don't think that ever enters their mind. If you live in poverty, having more children isn't going to improve your situation. Only education and empowerment of women will change that.

Feb 25, 2009 10AM #

I'll take through all that was shown in the movie.. I live in India and very close to the slums...

1.) In the begining, jamal is abused by the policemen with charging electricity through batteries, does it happen? NO

2.) Are kids in Slums exposed to sanitation issues, and is the depiction of Dharavi right? YES.

3.) Are there riots in Mumbai where a mother is killed in front of his son? There were hindu-muslim riots 20 years ago, so ... maybe yes.

4.) Are there gangs who make kids beg? YES

5.) Are these kids maimed? NO

6.) Are Muslims in India are suppressed? In very rare places. Not in Dharavi or Mumbai.

7.) Do kids steal in trains hanging upside down from trains? NO

8.) Do poor girls in India end up being prostitutes? YES, but happens in every country.

So this is all I have, Slumdog Millionaire does exaggerate things to make a point, but, nonetheless, its a good movie... but not oscar worthy.

Feb 25, 2009 10AM #

Mr.Rupam Banerjee/
Why you are trying to make an excuse.If Indian thinks this is all about infiltration from Bangladesh & Nepal it is easy to solve the problem.Stop infiltration.Don't blame others.

Feb 25, 2009 10AM #

In addition to Save the Children, there are some great local grassroots efforts in Mumbai that are working to not only "rescue" girls from the sex trade, but to provide them with counseling and job training.

See this short film from, a multimedia project that documents the positive works of nonprofits around the world:

Rebecca Reeder
Feb 25, 2009 10AM #

Anything that raises awareness is good. Every step in the right direction to improve conditions throughout the world is better than doing nothing. Sometimes it is difficult for people to understand the desperate family conditions that lead to the continuation of this problem. For parents that are looking for another way to educate their children about this issue, I recommend the book Iqbal (by Francesco D'Adamo) which is based on the true life story of Iqbal Masih.

Rupam Banerjee
Feb 25, 2009 10AM #

Lack of proper family planning and continuous infiltration from Bangladesh and Nepal are making the situation worse.Lack of employment and continuous opposition to new industries are making the situation more complicated.Things are slowly improving with the formation of self help groups with Government patronage. Micro credit scheme is also helping a lot. But continuous infiltration from Bangladesh and Nepal are making it extremely difficult to change the situation.

Feb 25, 2009 10AM #

It’s great that the movie talks about poverty, it’s great that the movie is about hope. But let’s move the debate beyond this: The reality is millions of children are working when they should be at school. Can we move beyond talking and do something to change this reality?

With the evaluation of this comment and reading current news articles about the children who acted in the movie,the question has validity. Although the question has global implications in reference to India as a country or countries like India, the children involved in the movie do not have an improved quality of life.

At this moment in time, these "actors" still live in disgraceful conditions, do not attend school full time, and no one can come up with a reasonable solution to help these children. Thus, the arguement proposed is if two children cannot be helped then how can anyone help the others?

Furthermore, the people who created the movie, the actors, and everyone involved with the project should not be worried about winning an award, but more to the point helping these children. Throwing money at the situation, providing oprotunities, and arranging living conditions is not enough.

The most productive approach is action and not passiveness that has been established. Trust funds, etc. are all wonderful; however, the problem does not go away.

The proverb that should be contimplated is, "give a man a fish he eats for a day; yet teach a man to fish he eats for a life time."
These children only ate for a day...The children who have to work in order to eat only can live for the one day...

These children need to be literally shown along with their parents that people are willing to show them how to eat for a life time without the fear their children and way of life will be exploited through the media, documentaries, and enterntainment industries...Just a thought

Nancy Green
Feb 25, 2009 10AM #

I saw the movie and was troubled by many aspects--
the real poverty in the background scenes
the extreme dramatized violence toward children
the sense that one individual survived in a totally hostile society, and prevailed by getting rich
I reviewed it here
because I was impressed by what wasn't in the film--any sense of the relationships that poor people must form in order to survive.

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