Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

The Urbanist’s Mumbai: Talking Points

Want to rile a Mumbaikar? Broach one of these hot topics.

Beef Ban
Two months ago, the Maharashtra state government, led by the Hindu nationalist party, banned the possession and sale of beef. The law extends to non-Hindus, and violators may face a five-year prison sentence. Bovine-venerating right-wingers have declared the ban a victory, but butchers, slaughterhouse workers, and liberals view the law as discriminatory against Christian, Muslim, and Dalit minorities.

Slum Tourism
Dharavi is among the largest slums in the world but wasn’t a household name until Slumdog Millionaire. Now guided walks through the 551-acre neighborhood are big business; tour operators claim they’re showcasing constituents’ entrepreneurial spirit (plastics-recycling factories, leather workshops, etc.). Critics say they’re voyeuristic and demoralizing.

Narendra Modi
Time magazine nicknamed the prime minister “reformer-in-chief” (roads, electricity, and jobs are three pillars of his agenda). He’s also a prolific tweeter (12.3 million followers and counting). But those who don’t buy into the hard-line politics of his Bharatiya Janata Party or who question his controversial former chief minister’s handling of the deadly Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002 are less enthused.