The Squatters of Dhaka City Dynamism in the Life of Agargaon Squatters Pratima Paul-Majumder, Simeen Mahmud and Rita Afsar ISBN 984 05 1301 0 1996 116pp 215x136mm HB Tk.170.00 US$20.00
The Squatters of Dhaka City examines the consequences of rapid migration on the migrants and their families, urban economy and urban ‘social services. Through an intensive survey of 300 randomly selected households the study presents an analysis of the socio-economic and cultural dynamics in the life of squatters in the Agargaon area. The study shows that the rural-urban migration does not necessarily have a negative connotation which dominated the conventional wisdom that depicts migrants as victims of “the culture of poverty” characterised by fatalism, helplessness, dependence and alienation leading to disruptive behaviour. Rather in terms, of their perception and income, the migrants appear to have improved their conditions and life chances, and the longer they stay in the city the better are the chances of improving their condition. The aggressive nature of migrants relative to non-migrants make them better equipped to face urban life and because of their adaptibility they tend to retain those values and norms of behaviour which are supportive to city life and discard those which hamper it. Finally the study finds that network arrangements of the poor migrants help them obtain shelter and a job and also induce a sense of solidarity to face adversities of the squatter life.
Authors of this book, Dr. Pratima Paul-Majumder, Ms. Simeen Mahmud and Dr. Rita Afsar are currently research fellows in the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS). Dr. Paul-Majumder's research work was ground breaking in a wide range of subjects from sericulture to economics of slums and squatter settlement to garment industry and gender issues. Some of her important publications are: Women in Manufacturing Industries of Dhaka City (ILO/ARTEP, New Delhi), Women, Work and Home (BIDS, Dhaka), and A Study on Urban Poverty: Its Nature and Extent (Arani Publications, Dhaka). Formally trained as a statistician and demographer Ms. Simeen Mahmud’s research interests include the influence of women’s work on status and reproduction, women’s entrepreneurship in water-selling and its impact on productivity, and the effect of development interventions on women’s lives. Dr. Paul-Majumder and Ms. Mahmud are currently working on women’s labour force behaviour. Dr. Rita Afsar has been working in the areas of migration, urbanization and urban poverty. Both her master’s and doctoral thesis are based on the causes, consequences and challenges of rural-urban migration in Bangladesh. Among her publications Modernisation at Bay, (UPL Dhaka), Credit and Women in Development: Bangladesh Experience (Macmillan, Delhi), and Women’s Employment and Occupational Diversification (ILO/ARTEP, New Delhi) and a video on Struggle for a Better Future deserve special mention.