The economy of Dharavi which is being termed as a parallel economy lying in the underbelly of a fast booming Mumbai churns in the revenues which is unthinkable, production volumes which are unimaginable and a whole booming industry which is hidden somewhere behind the dark blanket of a primitive infrastructure and social evils of drugs and prostitution. It is hard to digest the fact that this economy without the pre requisites of any conventional form, perhaps having a standard of living in the lines of any backward African country has an annual production of more than 1 billion. Indiarsquos so called formal economy consists of the huge corporate houses and SME which pay taxes, adhere to the labour laws and work within the framework prescribed by the government and then we turn to Dharavi which works on its own set of rules where the cheap labour sleeps in its own workshop which is less than a mere room, where running water is a luxury seldom found and standard of living is just a theoretical term. The Dharavi economy which is away from government assistance or encouragement provides 90 of all employment and very quietly serves as the backbone of many blooming SMErsquoS through there negligible costs of production as labour laws are virtually nonexistent and production facilities are in buildings which can easily be mistaken to be debris after a massive earthquake. Still beneath this debris there are umpteen numbers of layers both organic, social and economical which is beyond any economists or expertrsquos understanding. The government does play a role in all of this by not being able to revive and revamp the present state of Dharavi. Hard to imagine how this works but this parallelism has a paradox within. Let us take Mohammad Asif who controls an informal workshop of 22 men working in a cramped room doubling up as a dormitory manufacturing leather products which end up being used in some high end bank as a Diwali gift or at TAJ MAHAL palace as files. These workers who work from 8 am to 11 pm are mostly immigrants who reached Dharavi in search of bread for their native homes. These very same workers are now using dharawi as an informal hub of economy where they come, learn the tricks of the trade and go back to their original ldquoslumsrdquo to setup a similar silent business. This is now resulting to growth of smaller subsidies of Dharavi at various other states of the country. This system of a sustainable growth is highly fragile which generally people donrsquot perceive it to be. Trying to disturb this sensitive equilibrium through reforms can make the system go haywire. So instead of being a parallel economy it is a harsh truth that the so called formal and legal businesses will find it difficult to operate without Dharavi, which makes the economy an intricately carved art with Dharavi as the muse. From a diversified product line from snacks and confectionaries to carpentry Dharavi has it all but apart from this Dharavi has more to it which paints the rosy picture dark. Apart from being born out of the womb of a corrupt negligent government and bureaucratic loop holes this economy also serves to the evils of illegal trades of drugs and prostitution. This black part of the grey economy can be highly despised and constantly worked to be eradicated but we need to understand one thing that similar to the other flourishing business of Dharavi such trades also have their consumers who belong to the conventional economy called INDIA. Instead of blaming such an economy who in spite of its shortfalls contributes to the GDP both directly or indirectly, why donrsquot we turn the spot light on the people residing within the legal circle but still play an integral role in the growth of the dark economy. Now let us imagine a scenario where the government does manage to offer habitable houses and proper amenities to sustain life. Will the people living in such an area be able to find employment in the system which requires a lot of qualification and experience of the right kind Will the people of a rejuvenated dharavi be able to setup there rudimentary workshops in their backyards of a perfectly constructed house Or the perpetual prevailing doubt of weather these people will be able to sustain themselves at such location and will not be thrown out just to accommodate some distant relatives of the government clerk nearby......... And after this informal evacuation they will have to find an alternative slum to again build the massive system which is prevailing. Thus as we know the very fragile equilibrium if disturbed can hurt the very socio economic ethos of INDIA and god knows how the corporate world will work without the cheap inputs they get from Dharavi. We need to understand the economic environment around which Dharavi has shown a steady growth. When the world including INDIA was tumbling over due to financial crisis this parallel economy quietly laboured on its path of growth. So weather we frown on the slums or make movies revolving around the hardships of the people there, we need to understand that without this parallel economy the tracks of INDIAN economy are left unusable. These slum printmakers, embroiders, carpenters are people who we will never see working at an organized or a civilised setup but they unknowingly or knowingly work for the sustainability of the system. These dirty locations which can give palpitations to any ecologist have jobs which recycle, clean and reprocess the plastic waste of the ldquoother economyrdquo within the country. Yes this economy does not manufacture aircrafts but it does manufacture the plastic cups in them, yes this economy produces goods which are illegal but the very same goods are consumed by the legal system and yes this economy has no humanely habitable infrastructure but it produces the carpet or the furniture decorated in some posh flat in the ldquocivilised societyrdquo of INDIA. The fate of this economy can only be assumed, but what lies to be answered is weather the politicians start taking Dharavi to be more than a vote collecting machine and bring in some policies to tap this ldquodirty working giantrdquo of an economy which if used can perhaps be an apt answer to Chinarsquos low cost producing capabilities. India needs to look within to grow.