Mahim- Meet the community

Mumbai is home to several millions, a little over eighteen. Of this eighteen million, over 57,000 people live on the streets- on the footpaths, under the flyovers, in construction sites, on the road-dividers… Known as the ‘city of dreams’, thousands migrate to the city every year from across the nation- mainly Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa and from within the state of Maharashtra- chasing after the ‘dream’ of a better life, after the semblance even, of a better life. Members belonging to the Jogi Jaat from the Mount Abu and Sirohi regions of Rajasthan migrated to Mumbai thirty years ago, in 1987.

Brothers or two with their families who were later followed by others from their community came and settled in Mumbai, weaving baskets to eke out a living, to get by somehow. Migrants from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh also joined them. At first -as told by Naresh, the son of one of the first men to have migrated- they lived in a basti in a field outside Mahim Station (west). They were later turned out of the field- it was government land that was later turned into quarters for the Government Mint employees. It is then that they took to the pavements on either side of the streets outside the ‘west’ exit of the station. Earlier known as Majim, Mahim is a neighbourhood in the south of Bombay and falls on the Western Line on the Mumbai Suburban Railway. It is flanked by Dadar on one side and Bandra on the other. The streets outside Mahim station, earlier home to several communities, who having gotten their papers in place were rehabilitated, is now mainly home to the Jogis– a tightly knit, endogamous community; and other families from Gujarat and Lucknow. For the “homeless” this is home.