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When Masoom Ali Shaikh arrived in Mumbai in 1974 as a young man from northern India, the patch of land where he set up shop was “just a creek with no proper road and garbage all around,” he said.

Fifty years later, that swampy area — once a fishing village and rubbish dump — is now Dharavi, one of Asia’s biggest slums and a bustling hub of industry in India’s financial capital.

Famously depicted in the 2008 Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire,” Dharavi is a cacophonous maze of small businesses on every corner, from bakeries to butchers to barbers. These shops service roughly one million residents living cheek by jowl in cramped buildings and narrow alleys.

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