27 January 2011

NPR Covers Slum Dog Tourism

NPR covers the rise of slum tourism in the short period after the success of Slumdog Millionaire.
The 18-year-old guide, Satender Sharma, is a former street kid himself, so he knows firsthand about the perils and freedoms of living by your wits in the city.

"In this walk," he promises, "I will tell you more about the street life, how children comes on the street, what they are doing." He does it with a deadpan, teasing wit that only fades when he tells how he ran away from home at the age of 11 to escape an abusive father.

"My father used to beated up all our family," he says. "He is taking alcohol. One day he beated my mom very badly, and he killed her."
and continues...

The tour ends, and very few people who take the walk seem to find it a depressing experience. Most, like American Catherine Farnsworth, say they were heartened by the kids' resilience and spirit.

"There's no shame involved or anything, they're just telling their stories and living their lives," she says
Not really any critical thought here about the impact of slum tourism, so that is the only piece I think is lacking. However, it is nice to see that they are leading and featuring thoughts about it from people in the community rather than just outsiders (myself included).

Photo Credit (appears in original NPR piece): Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

HT Saundra

Sorry, can't again get it to not auto-start.