Prince Charles hails Indian slum as model for Western life
Britain's Prince Charles has cited the Mumbai shantytown setting for the film "Slumdog Millionaire" as a role model for sustainable living in Western cities, a report said Saturday.
The 61-year-old heir to the British throne writes in a new book being published next week that the Dharavi slum is better and more instinctively organised than many Western towns, the Daily Telegraph said.
In the book, called "Harmony", Charles contrasts the "fragmented, deconstructed" housing estates of Western nations with the "order and harmony" of the dusty potters' colony featured in the Oscar-winning movie.
"We have a great deal to learn about how complex systems can self-organise to create a harmonious whole," he adds. "The real lesson I took from Dharavi was about the vast asset we can call 'community capital.'"
Charles says that, despite the complete absence of government support, Dharavi's residents recycle their waste and build their own homes out of whatever materials come to hand.
He even says that they have created a financial system in the Indian slum that works on the basis of personal relationships -- "sometimes in contrast to the recently imploded financial sector in the west.
The prince, who opened the Commonwealth Games in the Indian capital New Delhi on Sunday, acknowledged however that he risked being accused of naivety with his views.
Charles's concern for environmental causes has sometimes got him into trouble with commentators who accuse him of using his influence to advance faddish beliefs.
He opened the grounds of his London home to the public in September to promote sustainability.
© 2010 AFP