In is where Katherine Boo’s novel Behind the

            In the past two decades, Asia has experience a fast-pacedurbanization fueled by significant economic growth. With rapid economic growth inAsian countries like China and India, urbanizing and transforming very fast, onecan gasp how there is a clear correlation between economic growth andurbanization in Asia. As the world transformed, cities were formed as industrializationcontinued, as “the twenty-first century to be declared ‘the century of the city'”.

Today, urbanized cities hold homes to 54 percent of the global population, andthat figure is expected to rise. Adensely populated city of Mumbai has become India’s largest city, one of Asia’smega urban regions that has a financial center and also as the heart ofBollywood film industry as well. However, underneath this glorious and rapidurbanization, one should question, what does all of this mean for the actuallives of people living in the city of Mumbai? And this is where Katherine Boo’snovel Behind the Beautiful Foreverscomes in handy. Thereis no denying that urbanization is a key asset for socio-economictransformation, national wealth and prosperity, and also overall development.However, with every positive change and trend, there bound to be issues andproblems surrounding it. According to UN’s World Cities Report 2016, “persistenturban issues over the last 20 years include urban growth, changes in familypatterns, growing number of urban residents living in slums and informalsettlements, and the challenge of providing urban services”.

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In my essay, I willbe analyzing few of these issues in comparison to Katherine Boo’s novel as itwill be a great way in showing the different aspects and lives of people livingin Mumbai at this urbanization era of India. Thestory of Behind the Beautiful Foreverstakes place in a slum-side of Mumbai called Annawadi and chronicles the livesof several characters from different family lines in the slum from 2007 to2011. With rapid industrialization near the international airport, many peoplefrom the rural area have migrated into the city of Mumbai and formed a slum surroundingthe nearby airport. People in Annawadi is trying to elevate their lives andeventually move out of the slum. With this rapid urban growth based oncapitalism, I noticed some very different family dynamics forming in thestories of Annawadi slum. India is traditionally deeply rooted as a patriarchalsociety where women are known to have limited roles in both family and society.However in the lives of Annawadi slum, one can notice a significant changes inthe roles of women in its rapid growing capitalistic society. In chapter two, afemale character Asha Waghekar is introduced.

She is a 39-year old woman whoaspires to become the new slumlord of Annawadi, which she succeeds by workingwith and bribing the local politicians and police offices to keep the slumunder her control. 


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