FARMINGTON — The people who live in the slum made famous by “Slumdog Millionaire” have a hopeful spirit while they struggle to survive, judging by a film and a lecture presented Wednesday at the University of Maine at Farmington Wednesday.

The talk and screening of “The Real Slumdogs” was led by Libra Professor Sudip Mazumdar, who grew up in India’s slums and became an international journalist.

The documentary was about Dharavi, a slum in the heart of Mumbai with 1 million people crammed into 1 square mile. The slum was prominent in the feature film “Slumdog Millionaire.”

He said the documentary demonstrated the spirit of survival in the people who live in the slum. They don’t receive welfare, but Dharavi has become a way for a million people to scrape together a living, he said.

Mazumdar said that while residents of other slums only sleep in the slum and leave to work in the city, in Dharavi people are able to work, live, worship and go to school without leaving the self-sufficient community.

He said the developers who want to raze Dharavi, which is on government land, would take away a community that, while dirty and impoverished, gives the poor options to make money when there aren’t welfare options to turn to.

“What will a rag picker do on the outside of the city? Their livelihood depends on Dharavi,” he said.

While Mazumdar did not grow up in Dharavi, he grew up in poverty in India before becoming a leading journalist there and focusing his work on human rights abuses and the poor.

He said he overcame poverty and became a successful journalist because of luck, a love of reading and people reaching out in kindness when he was in need.

Mazumdar’s journalism career includes work as a special correspondent and bureau chief for Newsweek in India and championing civil rights for the disenfranchised, women and India’s rural poor.

He is teaching a political science class at the university and is presenting a series of lectures and films about India and Tibet.

Mazumdar’s next presentation will be a discussion on outsourcing with John Messier, UMF professor of economics; and Waleck Dalpour, UMF professor of business, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. April 9 at the UMF Roberts Learning Center.

Kaitlin Schroeder– 861-9252
[email protected]

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