Medina Warsi’s ageing husband isn’t employed, and for want of any other job, keeps accounts at the tea stall she runs in ‘Bombay Hotel’, a sprawling slum on Ahmedabad’s outskirts. You walk to this area through refuse and rubble. Only Muslims live here, in dwellings bereft of municipal attention. His dubious sinecure keeps Mr Warsi busy for perhaps half an hour a day—the tea stall makes slim profits, Rs 250 on a good day. Yet, visiting neighbours openly gawk at the sum—they earn much less stitching nighties for Re 1 apiece, embroidering shirt collars or rolling bidis. The Warsis’ income, though, isn’t enough to fix the man’s unknown ailment, the one that keeps him unemployed.
Bombay Hotel is 25 minutes from the city’s upmarket western districts, dotted with thousands of atms, business centres and multiplexes, criss-crossed by the best metalled roads in the country. Originally built to house 20,000 people, it now accommodates 90,000 or more, swelling with the 2002 riot-affected and others who arrive looking for work. What they get though is denial. It took multiple years, petitions and court cases to get a primary school approved for the area. Residents wrote letters to authorities demanding a school. One was built, but too far for little children to walk to. Then it was demolished to build a new metro line. More petitions somehow got it rebuilt. There is still no bank or health clinic.
Data Source: Sachar Report, 2006. Data Source: NSSO, 61st round
Data Source: Likelihood of Muslim employment from multivariate analysis by Abusaleh Shariff, 2011
Data Sources: Abusaleh Shariff for IFPRI, 2010; Sachar Report, 2006
Data Source: IHDS survey, 2004-05. Data Source: RTIs filed in Gujarat; via JS Bandukwala