21 June, 2021

Desolation Row

The desert megapolis grants little to its Indian blue-collar millions. It can't go on.

Desolation Row
At first, motorists speeding through the Khalid bin Waleed Road in the heart of downtown Dubai put it down to the rustic ways of Indian expatriates. There was no other explanation for the several near misses over the last month, with motorists taking last-minute evasive action from pedestrians hell-bent on crossing the road. But when such incidents began to be reported from near a fruit and vegetable market in Deira—where the central divider is over six feet high—it became all too obvious that the men throwing themselves at the cars weren't ignorant at all. They were just plain suicidal, having run out of options.

Faced with the prospect of not getting their paltry monthly salary of Dhs 500 (Dhs 1=Rs 12) or less, and unable to pay back the huge loans they had taken to buy a UAE visa, their only way out—a get-rich-quick scheme where you get run over or are injured. They or their families could then claim diya, or blood money, the compensation of Dhs 1,50,000 (Rs 18,00,000) that is guaranteed by Sharia law to every person whose death is caused by...

In this article:

More from Amir Ansari

Latest Magazine

June 28, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section