Interviews at Sangharsh Nagar and Jaffar Baba Colony
Director: Ralli Jacob, Rafeeq Ellias, P.K. Das; Cinematographer: Rafeeq Ellias
Duration: 00:21:34; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 33.224; Saturation: 0.246; Lightness: 0.193; Volume: 0.061; Cuts per Minute: 1.205; Words per Minute: 103.429
Interviews with residents of Sangharsh Nagar and Jaffar Baba Colony, D.G. Parab (first Chief Architect and Planner of CIDCO)
Architects S.K. Das and Nita Bhatt along with P.K. Das and D.G. Parab designed a community-managed in situ housing reconstruction (self-help housing) for Jaffar Baba squatter settlement of 240 families in Bandra, called Jaffar Baba Colony, around early 1970s. This was facilitated by BUILD one of the early housing rights NGO.
To read more about role of BUILD in Jaffar Baba Colony see:
is so poor that we've been struggling all this time until now and came here with the single hope that we build and live together - everyone - adults and children, regardless of religion. Now everyone wants a pakka
house with good amenities like toilet and bath inside itself. But for some this may be outside, for some it may be a kachcha
house. And they are likely to think they are again living in garbage. So at least all houses should be uniform (of same level). If someone is weak and say 4 people are able to support him, then he will be supported and helped through - we won't let him fall. I hope we build uniform homes for all, and we can relax at the soonest. not only for me or us, for everyone.
As our brother said, as well as sister just said, our basti
is very poor. There too, at (?) we were very poor. We lived below a building - like a palace, and the people from there said about us 'they are poor, they are dirty'. They openly told Anand Patwardhan, Afzalpurkar (DK) said 'they'll never improve, take them anywhere you want but they'll continue to live in garbage.' So to prove that we cannot live in garbage, we can build with unity our homes too just like your palatial buildings.
Arvind Adarkar: So you're saying there should be unity?
sd2: Definitely. We've struggled so much, now we must continue to be united and build our homes.
Jaffar Baba Colony
Jaffar Baba Colony
We started this housing scheme in 1976 - '76 October, and completed somewhere in '78 April-May. Just before the monsoons. We have about 93 families living here - 50% Hindus and 50% are Catholics, and only 1 Muslim family.
Actually we went into housing... we had applied because we didn't have any basic amenities here. We wanted basic amenities so we applied to Slum Improvement Board. And then in '76 the sanctioned the amenities for us.
So after that... they sanctioned it somewhere in March. So when they came here they said that they want... we had very narrow lanes because the houses were not well organised, they were anywhere. So when we asked them for roads they said that we want about 4-6 six feet of road in every lane. So then that was not possible because there was hardly a foot or two in between each house. So we had to do a lot of reshuffling.
Then at the same time what we thought was, we again applied to Slum Improvement Board and asked them to give us some time, if you could start your amenities somewhere in October, so that we have sufficient time for shuffling- reshuffling these houses. And we have sufficient time for planning also.
So then in that time... we... some of our...
Okay. When the government agreed to start the work in October so we - there was Mr. Rajan Singh who was working along with us - so along with him we contacted BUILD, an organisation - an agency which helps reach out to the slums. We contacted them and they said that they... they agreed to help us. So then with their help, and then we had Neeta, Mr. Parab who voluntarily helped us, and then Neeta, Rajan and another social worker Neela, and then along with the people of the colony we got together and we planned out of starting a housing scheme.
We... you know what we did was we divided the colony into 8 sectors so that everyone takes part in to working.We divided the colony into 8 sectors and we made each sector work on one day. If one sector had to work on a Monday then the following Monday the same sector comes and works after 8 days. We did it in such a way the people whose houses were broken, they had to come - they had to take a leave of 8-10 days and they had to work day and night. And then a sector comes in the morning from 9 to 5, the sector helps them out. So that's how we got the people together and we worked out this project.
The finance was that we... applied to State Bank for loan. The State Bank proposal was that we had to come up to such a... half a level of the houses, say about 6 feet to 8 feet. We had to build that structure and then come and see the structure and then they sanctioned it. So to get that money, we had to ask BUILD (Building Urban Industries for Local Development).
Q: You'll are still paying the bank?
No, people have already finished paying. It was given - 10 years' time was given. They had to pay seed money of 620 rupees and then every month they had to pay 28 rupees to the bank. So that's how... and some of them just paid 3,000 because the cost of one house was 3,165 rupees. Some of them paid the lump sum, and some who couldn't afford went in for the loan.
Q: You got the land (?)
Regina: The land is collector's land.
Q: How did they give it to you...(?)
Regina: No we have taken it on lease now. That time it was under a green belt.
And then we had to struggle a lot to get this thing sanctioned. But when we went to Slum Improvement Board and (?) and all, they somehow agreed because it was a completely different project which we were entering into. They also wanted to experience that- whether these people will really succeed in doing it. So they granted us the permission. It was a completely different project we were entering into.
Q: In a way this was a slum, initially...
Q: and now it is looking at least a cleaner... village type....
Regina: Ya... a chawl system.
Q: those who came from slum are interested to go back to slum... ?
Regina: I don't think... as far as my colony is concerned, these people I don't think. The ones who have got their houses - they have either gone for better amenities... better... By selling this they've either gone for something better. But I don't believe they've gone and built some slum and stayed there. If they've sold their house, they've sold it and gone to their native place, but they've not gone and built a house somewhere.
Q: What about the criminal... percentage... in this slum? Do you find there are (?) who get criminal mentality because they are in slum? What is your reaction?
I don't think. I don't think that all slum people we can put some... label that all slums are criminals. I just can't believe it because in this colony, if you stay there... because Rajan was from a very well to do family and he stayed with us for 3 years. He lived with us. If it was in that case he wouldn't have lived with us. If there were some criminals and say robberies and... some gundagiri
and all taking place, he wouldn't have lived with us. Sometimes later also he used to be with us, till late, till 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock in the night... he used to be with us, Mr. Parab and all for all our meetings, General Body meetings - they used to be here till late in the night. But no... not such problems.
Like... you know the main thing... is people's confidence - to gain people's confidence. You have to gain people's confidence. And then the youth which we were so interested and... the interest of the youth. And we were full of confidence that we can get into this and we can come out with a big success. I don't think that exists in most of the slums. And then people's unity also - unity is most... if our people were not united, I don;t think we would have completed this project.
Q: Do you think the authorities and the government cooperated with you? Do you think they are doing the same...
You know, to make them cooperative with us we have to really put a lot of force on them - that is what we did. We carried out morchas
. We put it into the papers the moment we were not given something. Supposing cement - cement was very expensive and we couldn't buy it, because our house had to fit into 3,000 rupees, 3,165 rupees - it had to come into that budget. If we had to buy cement at the rate of 60-65 a bag, which from the government we were getting for 17 rupees a bag - so if we had to do that, that was not possible. We wouldn't have come... just because the government helped us...
Okay the last thing I want to tell you is - the unity and the struggle of the people has made this whole hting a big success.
Basically I met Rajan Singh who was a social worker and he used to live over here. He talked to me about - there's a problem can we do something? I said yes, why not. And then Nita also joined us. It was a small team of a social worker, architect, working with the people. That's the most important thing. From the very beginning people had confidence in us and we had also confidence with the people.
D.G. Parab: Actually this was a project of the people, by the people, for the people. The mutual confidence, both of the architects as well as the people and the social worker. So with their help and with their strength, this particular housing scheme was completed. We acted only as a facilitator. But basic work has been done by these people.
The one important thing why it is not possible, or why it doesn't generate enthusiasm in other parts is they didn't get proper leadership. This particular colony was fortunate to get a very good leadership. What we need in such a project is a good leadership. And this is only possible when the leadership is very humble, wants to do something for the people, not for the sake of leadership. This is the result of this particular... this is why this particular housing colony or (?)
But I have one thing I observed there, that during the construction the woman folk took a maximum interest. They had that love and affection for the housing. They used to bring... fetch the water for the construction from 2 km distance! This is a really a great sort of affinity they have for the house.
The design of the simple 25 sq mt of the house is not a very complex job. In fact we solved this by making only sketch drawing and most of the decisions were taken on the site. Because we neither had the time for doing the survey... nor we had any information. Nor we had any information. We never bothered to get it approved from the authority, because this would have taken a lot of time. But when we built few houses, we called the people in the authority, they've seen what people can do and then they told 'go ahead, nothing will happen to you.'
Q: ...experience you've had after that... any other such sites you have developed?
Not in such a way. You call this particular effort as mutual self help. In fact in every slum, you'll find people build their own house. So there is self help, but its not mutual self help - that is bringing community together - that requires a lot of leadership, lot of homogeneity, and friendly relationship with the community. And the size of the slum - this slum is a very moderate size, say around 100 houses, so people know each other. So we have to see the scale. If the scale is small, certainly it is possible.
Q: Compared to the slums in Bombay... 40% population (?)
That's true. What is wrong today that in every slum if the government tells the people - 'okay, if you want to build a house, you can build your own house by organising your own skill, by taking help from your friends, from your neighbours, from your employee, from anywhere.' It is not necessary that your house should be built by a professional builder.
What happens - the financing agency gives a loan when it is built by professional builder. Municipal authority gives a sanction when the plan is prepared by the professional designer. For designing a simple house you don't need an architect. You don't even need a professional builder. So all this 'professional' should be thrown out. Then only this problem can be solved.
Q: In your opinion what is the reason that this success has not being repeated?
One of the reasons is land tenure - people have got land tenure. And secondly, the leadership. Here also when they started the work, they didn't own the land. You know, people have certain fear that they're investing 3,500 rupees, their hard earned money, and tomorrow government will demolish. But the leader were strong, they said -if we show them that we can build as well as a regular contractor, even better than that, and at much lower cost, the people in the government are not at all deaf, dumb and blind - they can be persued only y action, not by on paper, And therefore, it was successful.