The City as Hope and Horror

Here are a few statistics from Suketu Mehta's stunning new book, Maximum City. In some parts of Bombay, you can find 1 million people in a single square mile. Two million of the city's residents lack access to latrines, and the air has 10 times the maximum permissible levels of lead (to breathe it in, as 5 million or more living on the streets do every second, is equivalent to smoking 2 1/2 packs of cigarettes a day). An unusually large number of criminals are either shot in "encounters" or tortured to death in detention in Bombay; four years ago, only...

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