Bhalswa: The Temple of the modern Delhi

Guido Arreghini


Bhalswa is the landfill to the north-west of Delhi, hills of smoking garbage where the methane produced by decomposition ignites spontaneously.

Bhalswa is also the name of the slum at the base of the hills where people survive by recycling what they find by scratching through the garbage, wrapped in an unbreathable air and surrounded by the puddles of sewage that filter through the hills.

Bhalswa is the contemporary Temple of modern Delhi; the Hindu Pantheon deploys its new gods of plastic, rags and cans, an undifferentiated garbage dome replaces the cosmic symbol of Mount Kailash, smoking incenses of toxic gases honor the protectors of Vedic altars and poisonous sewages serve the Puja.

Recycling is reincarnation.

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