Zombie Development in Mumbai, Forest Tales: The next episode in the ongoing series on zombie development along the Konkan Coast, a stretch along the western seaboard in India, brings us stories from and about the fishing communities of Mumbai – the Kolis, Agris, and East Indians – and the city’s Warli communities who are forest farmers. As historian Gyan Prakash writes in his book Mumbai Fables, Bombay is a city ‘stolen from the sea’ and also from its sea-faring peoples. Deforestation, land reclamation, and dams were the primary technologies of development that the British used to transform this estuarine archipelago, and now the post-colonial government of Bombay is literally turning its back on the sea with a host of new infrastructure projects that include the coastal road project, the Aarey metro carshed, the bullet train, and other zombie projects that have been resurrected from the dead through legal and political necromancy.
In this episode, we hear from Nanda Kumar (consultant with SagarShakti) who has been working on the rights of fisherfolk communities along Thane Creek. We also speak to Stalin Dayanand (CEO of NGO VanaShakti) about legal protection for mangroves, and to Arvind Bhaye (interim chairman of the Trombay Fisherfolk Society) about how these new laws are affecting fishing activities in Trombay. And finally, we speak with Cassandra Nazareth (with the NGO Tribal Tadka) about the status of the #SaveAarey movement. In the end, the stories in this episode reveal the problems with imagining and implementing unbridled growth, and call for an ethos and architecture of degrowth instead, as a way to retreat from zombie development.
Special thanks to Vimal Mylon, Sanjiv Valsan, Eveleen Sidana, for their help with the production of this episode.