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Caste Away - a community vanishes in Mumbai
By Cindy Ryan

Nothing left. A poor but vibrant 20 year old community reduced to rubble in a day.

They’ve all scattered — their homes and lives have been split apart by a backhoe painted a cheery yellow. They are neighbours and friends who celebrated births, mourned deaths, argued, shared stories and gossiped, grew up together and some got to grow old together. Their children played together and attended nearby schools. The parents worked nearby cleaning middle class apartment buildings, driving wealthy families to their appointments, driving auto rickshaws, or working as watchmen at the airport. On November 9, they stood silently atop the pipeline, the artery that dissects the community, watching and waiting for the backhoe to make dust of their homes. On both sides of this rotund metal pipe used as a pathway, their one room homes were jumbled together in rag-tag laneways as far as the eye could see; homes and community to a few thousand people.