Our new book In the Bonesetter’s Waiting Room by Aarathi Prasad was inspired by Wellcome Collection’s 2016 Mumbai exhibition and broader programme of events exploring India’s rich plurality of cultures of medicine, healing and well-being. Using her own pictures from her travels, here’s a taste of Aarathi’s story of the Indian people, in sickness and in health, providing a unique perspective on one of the most diverse and fascinating country in the world.

On 60-feet Road, the main road into the Dharavi mega-slum, medical practitioners of various backgrounds offer a variety of services. This might include conventional medicine, but may also include Unani medicine, which can include the practice of bone-setting.

Houses in Dharavi consist of a downstairs room less than three metres squared which is used as a kitchen and sleeping area. If a family can afford it they will build an upstairs, accessed by a very steep metal ladder fixed to the outside of the property: a frequent cause of strains, sprains and breakages. As space is so tight in Dharavi, the upper floor can sometimes be used to generate a rental income.

None of the houses in this mega-slum have their own water supply or toilet facilities. Residents instead must use communal services: foul, over-used (and under-maintained) toilets via narrow, unlit alleyways. This is a cause of great concern, especially to women and children needing to access these facilities at night.

Enlarge the images in the gallery below to read more.

Aarathi Prasad is a biologist and writer.

Find out more about In the Bonesetter’s Waiting Room, published by Wellcome Collection and Profile Books.

One thought on “Depressed in Dharavi

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