Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Do beggars deserve our alms?


Courtesy - Google Images

For someone born and brought up in a country that accounts for 1/3rd of the world’s poor and is equally famous for the Taj Mahal as it is for its slums – I still have to get used to the sight of a bony child dragging himself on the road under the sweltering sun. I cringe at the thought that the child might not have had a decent meal in days, while I am stuffed to the gills. That for him, sheer existence is a struggle while I crib about my maid. That guilt is a luxury for him and for me, the norm.

He is now knocking at my window, his eyes pleading. From inside the car I can make out what he’s saying but shut myself off. I turn my eyes away from his outstretched palms. It requires nerves of steel not to be overcome with pity and reach for my purse. I ask him to move on.

Yes, it makes me feel like a heartless bitch. After all, how much does it take to part with some petty change? Something that means so little to me but so much for him! And yet, I refrain.

Does it mean I am a tight-fisted, mean soul who loves her money too much? I don’t think so. I just happen to believe that while benevolence may help ease my conscience, it will make that boy a beggar for life. While my intentions may be honourable its outcome may exactly be the opposite.

Imagine someone living a life where one gets to earn without having to work for it! It’s addictive, isn’t it? And thanks to your compassion, you are making sure that the beggar-boy gets caught in a vicious circle of dependency. Plus how do you make out how genuine his need is? What if it is just a ruse to fund his drug addiction? What if he’s part of a begging mafia, expected to hand over a chunk of his takings to the gang’s ring leader!

The more you pay, the more lucrative this business becomes.



I am aware that quite a bit of welfare work is directed at reducing begging but with varying degrees of success. There have been instances where people were ready to offer jobs, enrolled the homeless and the poor for vocational courses but they chose to run off. The most common problem is that beggars are so used to begging that they actually prefer not to work.

I understand that the sight of individuals in such poverty, some severely disabled, can be very confronting. But I feel it is best to ignore them. While there might be beggars who might genuinely need your help, it’s not possible to help them all. Should you give to that young girl with the wailing baby or to that gnarled looking man on a crutch? I am often amazed by the ingenuity displayed by this breed. The blind man with a patch bloodied by red ink, that girl who has hired a baby for sympathy or the man with elaborately drawn wounds on his body! The shock therapy often reaps rich dividends.

It’s not as if I am averse to helping the unfortunate – I have distributed food packets, clothes to street urchins, gone up to the frail looking man lying on the pavement and given him cash. One is often tempted to help those who are too proud or weak to beg. Definitely not the stubborn, rude ones who keep following you around on streets, ready to drive you up the wall with their whining. And certainly not children. Give them alms and their parents will make sure that this is what they end up doing the rest of their lives. Why send them to school or teach them skills, when they can make more money on the road!

We expect the government to take care of its poor, ensure education and employment for them. But it is just an idealistic dream. In reality they are a vote bank that doesn’t ask questions and complies without a murmur of protest. And even though begging is an illegal profession, authorities spring into action only if the city is hosting an important international event.

For our country to progress we need a self reliant populace and not parasites who’d rather live on handouts than stand on their feet.

If you really want to help the under-privileged, direct them to NGOs that rehabilitate the poor. Make sure you donate generously to causes you hold dear to your heart. But don’t be in a hurry to write out that cheque. Take out time to visit establishments to make sure you are donating to the right organizations. Not all NGO’s have noble intentions, in fact for a few it’s just a money making venture.

And if you are still feeling guilty about your riches, don’t worry, the government with its persistent efforts through Union Budget will make sure you will be poor eventually.
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115 comments:

  1. I agree Purba. I also avoid giving change to beggars, although occasionally I have given them biscuits or bananas which I made them eat infront of me for the same fear that some mafia boss would snatch it from them.

    Some 'beggars' are children of construction workers, or road workers. And there is no doubt beggars exist because we don't mind giving them some lose change or prasad.

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    1. I quite like the idea of distributing bananas and biscuits, at least they get something to eat!

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  2. No doubt, there are black sheep who deserve nothing but at the same time there are really physically disabled beggars who need care in any form.We should have that 'extra vision' to identify the genuine out of the fake.

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    1. Precisely! It's so tough to make out if someone genuinely needs our help.

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  3. Lovely post - I agree with you! It's a supply and demand trap and the best way to get out of it is to disincentivize begging as a profession.

    Sadly, it's easy and works out to be quite profitable at more prominent places.

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    1. And why not! All you need to do is to look helpless and whine.

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  4. Beggary is an organized crime so most of us shy away from encouraging them. But my heart bleeds for genuine souls who need medicine or one square meal to survive..True, we need to tap our vast human resource.
    Poignant post.

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    1. But you and I can ease them out of their misery for only a day or two. What about the rest of their lives?

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  5. I was just glancing over my Google Reader to check how many posts I am yet to catch up on, when the photograph on your post and the headline caught my eye. Had to read it before I moved on. Purba, I have often wondered the same thing and I have arrived at the conclusion that begging cannot be encouraged because it is a profession for the child - forced or otherwise. While our heart bleeds, he/she pouts, seeks money and then does the same with the next car in the line. We need to be involved in a campaign to save them from the fathers, mothers and uncles who force them into begging and probably help them break out of what appears like a vicious cycle.. Hope I'm not pontificating here..but that I feel is the only way to assuage our guilts provided it is just not a momentary pang that disappears as the traffic lights turn green! :)

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    1. Because begging is a profitable profession, it flourishes.
      What if we stop doling out cash and start paying them in kind instead?

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    2. I have offered biscuits and chocolates that I had with me to the kids only to discover they take it and then ask me for money too for vada pao for fifteen little ones she rustles up from somewhere with some hidden signal for "aah I have found a softie here"!! :)

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  6. Yes you are right. My Mother and me have helped our maid and their kids in education, marriage etc, as we know how much we are paying them, the hard work they do to make ends meet. They dot beg, they earn whatever they can. Such people should be helped. Also the handicapped.

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    1. Yes, the hard-working underpaid lot certainly deserves our help!

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  7. Can't help feeling glad you've decided to highlight this problem. Genuine NGOs are definitely an option. Perhaps we should get our noodles together to come up with more options for our beggar children.

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    1. Adults who force children to beg should be sent to jail!

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  8. No sensible person would encourage begging but to discern about the genuine need is what is the problem! The mind is often torn and even some one in need is unfortunately overlooked in the process even when wanting to do good!

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    1. You feel so let down when you think you've helped a person in need only to discover that you've been duped!

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  9. If I give, I promote begging. If I don't, I'm shying away from a person who need the ten bucks so much more than I do - my long-time struggle with my conscience. There is really no right thing to do, it all depends on what you consider the greater evil :/

    We could try directing them to NGO's provided they choose to STAY there and benefit from the efforts. Like you say, most of them are too used to actually do some work.

    The thing about you is that you manage to pack some very plain-faced sarcasm right when we think you have said your piece, loved the last line, Madame :)

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    1. It's indeed a tough choice, trying to chose between the lesser evil. Do what your conscience tells you :-)

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  10. I agree that I face this dilemma too. I feel that I must not support this habit of begging yet don't know if this one is genuine. Also, donating to NGOs also is fraught with danger. I contribute to the Akshay Patra -- Mid day meal program based in Bangalore. It is reputed, and I did a post about that too. Apart from that, I like to pay for my maid's kids tuition fees. Hopefully, that will assuage my guilt to some extent. Good post. You covered many pertinent aspects.

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    1. I do recollect Indiblogger's initiative to promote Akshay Patra. Many of us participated in it.

      And your hired help is lucky to have you as her employer.

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    2. Why all the white highlights in the post?

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    3. Is it? I can't seem to see them on my browser. But I have done some formatting changes. Are the highlights still visible?

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    4. Now the entire text area is highlighted in a white box.

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  11. Bulls eye. I know its heart wrenching to even look at their under nourished faces and bodies, but they become so used to begging and very dependent on it. Two months back, I was out with my family when a beggar stopped us near a restaurant. Even after repeated 'NO's, he kept asking continuously. I got so angry at him, that I simply told him-I will give you 20 rs if you clean my car. I will give you the cloth too. He simply turned and walked away :)

    My family was angry at my behavior and I don't really know if I behaved arrogant or not. But its true. They are so dependent on begging that earning the money is never on the cards.

    A different style of writing Purba ji. No sarcastic humor, hehe but I loved it!

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    1. But you did the right thing! Exposed him for what he is.

      Glad you liked my serious musings :-)

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  12. I think what u wrote is perfectly right. I liked the last statement most. Doing good these days is you do what u want and leave it there. If u try to find out is t really reaching the needy, u will b disappointed most of the times as most of the so called organisations are mostly made for money.

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    1. The same happens with drought/flood relief initiatives. You donate clothes and blankets only to see them selling in a flea market.

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  13. you nailed it perfect purba; can't agree with you more

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  14. I could never get an answer to this question. I have seen small kids begging in trains and sometimes parted with a rupee or two. Then one day I got to know that these kids get down at a particular station and hand their earnings to a women much much well dressed than the first class ladies! Since then I have stopped giving money to any kid no matter how starved they look.If they come begging for money to buy food I make sure I buy them a packet of biscuit but never give them money!

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    1. And that's how everyone should deal with this menace. Take their sorry expressions with a pinch of salt.

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  15. I agree with you to a great extent. I usually just but them food, but sometimes end up giving money.. Just out of the guilt that maybe he/she really needs it...

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    1. Next time give them a packet of cream biscuits instead :-)

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  16. Well said. The world would be a lot better place without the bogus beggars, crooked NGOs and phony bloggers masquerading as conscientious crusaders.

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    1. Oops! Phoney is a matter of perception, isn't it?

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  17. nice post....you know...am kinda on the fence on this one....and i would tell you why..


    i used to think of beggars in the context of begging mafia, drugs, etc....and never used to give alms...but after marriage to the hubby who is a surgeon in a govt setup...told me two storiesstory..that of a rickshaw puller, who had cancer in his legs and had them amputated and he had no family to take care for him..what alternative did he have other than to beg.....another incident of a burn victim..so now,i do give alms...to genuine people...and how do i(rather we) know that...the surgeon hubby can make out....

    p.s. its again a fashion post on my blog...yeah im lazy in these hot summers !!

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    1. Ahh...she has a surgeon hubby with an X-ray vision! Can you please make copies of him!

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    2. not X ray vision..but a good knowledge when a deformity is for real or faked!!.. :)

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  18. Purba,

    Welcome back. I absolutely agree with you on what you said, including about NGOs. Begging is an organised business. Otherwise how do you account for physically handicapped persons in trolleys reaching down the stairs of subways? These children or for that matter even grown up beggars give their daily "earnings" to the DADA in the evening and get their share apart from getting protection. I am going to narrate some of my own experiences to tell why I do not give alms to beggars. Little more than 20 years ago I was approached by a woman in rural garb asking for money. The reason told was that it was needed for auto fare to take a woman, pointed out by her, in labour pain lying on footpath being looked after by a couple of similarly attired women while about another 4 or so were approaching car drivers for money. I offered to take them in my Ambassador car but was rudely told if I did not wish to give money to move off. The other incident is about 15 years old. While I was waiting at traffic lights on my way back from office, a young boy of about 8 yrs or so approached me asking for money. When I refused, he told me with tears in eyes that it was his fourth day of begging and if he did not give 20 rupees in the evening to DADA, he would be beaten up. A couple of months later I offered a job in factory I was working with to an able bodied young man begging at a traffic light point saying that he had old handicapped parents and wife with 4 children to take care of. His reply was that he was not skilled. When I told him that we would teach him to acquire needed skills, he moved away throwing few abuses over his shoulders with saying if I did not want to give money why did I waste his time. There are more instances of last category in recent years too. Now how can I ever believe that a person begging at road side is really in need?

    Take care

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    1. Most of them are con artists or just too lazy to work! And your experiences reiterate this belief. Sadly, the few needy ones who genuinely require our help, get ignored because of this breed.

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  19. I have also felt exactly the same sentiments only too often. I recall an incident in Kolkata about 10 years back at the Rash Behari junction. A young guy came in front of my taxi asking for money as there has been an accident and they are collecting money to buy blood for the victim. I, naturally, paid whatever I could, only to discover that the same scam gets repeated every 3-4 days in this area.
    I think the only way to stop this trade is to make it less lucrative, clamp down on these people more severely and parallelly create an alternate way of earning. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done.

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    1. Easier said than done but by creating awareness, we can make sure they do not feed on our sympathy.

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  20. Spot on ! Purba you've hit the nail on it's head. I remember when I was in 12th in D.Dun, a beggar used to come everyday. Once the cycle repair shop owner offered him job saying he shouldn't beg, offered him 4k per month. The beggar after few minutes got irritated and said he makes more than double by begging and why would he give that up. I was startled and haven't given a single rupee since then. They make easy money on others' guilty consciences.

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    1. Tax free income that requires no investment or skills - who will say no to that!

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  21. "You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."
    The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
    They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
    Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you.
    And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
    And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
    And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?
    See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
    For in truth it is life that gives unto life while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness." - Khalil Gibran

    I neither agree not disagree with you on this topic, since I don't know myself. But this poem does help me a lot.

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    1. To share should come as easily as breathing - trust Gibran to put forth such deep thoughts so succinctly.

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  22. Purba, I was expecting a totally different post after your holiday :)

    I'm always in a dilemma when I see a beggar. I don't know to react. I tighten up, and turn away. I am most often in an auto, and I don't know where to look. I hear what they're saying, but I don't believe it. I've asked a girl carrying a child to work for some money, if I set it up, and she walked away.

    I try not to give young children the money, and give money to someone old, but I'm not sure that helps. I'm not sure that the old man isn't going to go to a local liquor store and chug down "arrack" with my money.

    Confused, as ever. :(
    Pzes

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    1. This post was written way before I headed southwards :-)

      Do what your heart tells you to do, Pzes. Follow your impulses. There are no absolute rights and wrongs, it's simply a matter of perception.

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  23. Wow!!! It is the season of hard-hitting social-awareness raising posts!!! Yep, I agree, Purba. A recent study found that beggary is an established business with women offering their infants for rent to beg. I was with an American woman last week and she saw this young girl selling children's books. She remarked--I wish she would go to school; maybe I should give her some money. I said, don't, by ging her money you will instill her the notion that looking miserable and begging is a better job option. She is selling--if nothing else let us encourage her entrepreneurship skills by showing her what customers like. So we went through the whole pile of books and purposely sorted and discussed the pros and cons of the books and then bought few. But it took time and effort when we could have easily just given her some money. I do not know if I would repeat the effort. But one must--take the effort instead of wanting to quick-fix poverty!!! Thank you for this post, Purba. It is folks like you who can bring attention and dialogue to such topics!

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    1. I had expected a lot of brickbats for this post. Pleasantly surprised by the positive response it got.

      Loved reading about your thoughtful gesture. I'm sure that little girl felt like a true entrepreneur that day.

      Your comments are always a pleasure to read :-)

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  24. Throwing coins to beggars is actually being a part of a crime. The beggars are engaged by someone who earn through them and we support his exploitation by giving the alms.

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  25. I had once done a feature on beggars and begging when I had tramped the streets and dim corners of Mumbai for weeks collecting info, talking to them and trying to reconstruct their lives. It is a deep malaise that afflicts the society and the beggars themselves are peripheral to the whole problem.

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    1. It reflects on the sad state of our country. The refusal of lawmakers to be part of a long term solution.

      And you"ll never see a Sikh beggar on the streets- the community takes care of it's poor.

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    2. Very true Purba.Reminds me of this-
      Once few youngsters hired a Sikh's cab.They shared dumb-sardar jokes,commented aloud as to why there were so many sardars driving cabs and trucks..The driver smiled all along and remarked at the end of the journey,-kids,how many sardars have you seen in your lifetime,begging on the streets!

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  26. The last line was a classic one..

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  27. Used to feel guilty, until one day a beggar threw back a one ruppee coin back to us and demanded more.

    And I agree, helping them is making them used to begging.
    Last line, awesome :-)

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    1. Ha! Really? You should have shot back with a "beggars can't be choosers" :D

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  28. Well I Agree.. but just the foot note cant happen coz. the Govt. also keeps redeciding the New Poor spending power per day.. and has gone on to decrease it everytime (Read: Rs. 32 & Rs. 28).. So We'll always be NOT POOR! ;)

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    1. Montek's wizardry is far from uplifting.

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  29. I dont like encouraging them either but when I see the kids on the streets my heart breaks!!! Really dont know what to do coz they may not be doing it on their own and they are not the ones at fault!

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    1. Don't. In all probability it's their parents pushing them for some easy money.

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  30. My dilemma here
    http://ashokism.blogspot.in/2011/09/policy.html

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    1. Will be reading your post soon.

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  31. At the end of the day, we might never be able to understand them, and come to a definite conclusion, is what i think. We have never lived on the roads, never faced the pinch of hunger and never been kicked or tossed around by a drunk man or lived in a stinking slum.

    Not that, i would want to encourage them to continue begging, but my point is just that - "as long as u don't eradicate poverty, you cannot bring these people on the path to education."

    And as for an NGO, i have been closely associated with one in the past, but as days passed by, Materialistic motives took over and complacency set in.

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    1. There is no easy way out of this situation, there are no shortcuts. And giving alms is certainly not a solution. Try paying them in kind instead.

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  32. Give a man fish and he will eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he will never go hungry again. But the trouble is, people have become so used to the free lunch, that they do not want to learn how to fish.
    Nice post, Auntius. :)

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  33. Totally against giving alms , but have been guiilty of giving especially when they just dont leave you alone.

    Rather I would feed them , cloth them .. but begging is a profession these days so one has to be careful.. and it is a throbbing business for some ...

    loved the post :)

    Bikram's

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    1. The trick is to walk faster and say a firm No. It always works for me.

      And thank you so much.

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  34. So very well said. And like Bikramjit says above - would rather feed them and clothe them. Paying up cash - you never know whats happening with it behind the scenes. Yes, how do you distinguish between the genuine ones and the ones putting on a charade? Yes, they do sometimes do it just because they are so used to it or too lazy to do real work. I will be returning to India soon and I feel like I have to gear up myself for refusing to pay alms too. You're right. It would make me feel that I am heartless :(

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    1. Nope,not heartless. You will be doing the right thing.

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  35. This post really is about a topic that needs more talking about. Generally when you say something like this, people tend to call you heartless. But I have seen fake wounds, especially on people who prefer to beg at the same traffic lights every day; like on one day there's this bloody (really bloody)wound on the left side of one's forehead and the next day it's on the right. And guess what, there'd be absolutely no scars on the left side.
    NGOs are the way to go. I hope this post gets people to do the right thing. I know a person in Bangalore who has taken street kids into his art school (non-governmental) and turned them into artists and musicians. :)

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    1. That sounds wonderful. The gentleman from Bangalore has given those kids a future they could never dream of.

      Do you have his name?

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    2. Yeah Purba, he has. I'd even done stories on four of the boys for the Indian Express in Bangalore. The gentleman's name is John Devraj and his school is called Bornfree.

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    3. Thanks for the info :-)

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  36. Very well written!! And I have exactly same thoughts as you do!
    We should never give any money to beggars on street, we may never know who is behind that innocent looking face.
    And why do they need to beg when they can earn it! It not that this is the only solution left for them for living!

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    1. Yes, it's not too tough for the able bodied to find a job that pays.

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  37. Ditto to everything you've said. Not giving them money is so tough specially when my kids are saying.. why aren't you giving them money? It's a tough call.

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    1. I'm sure if you explain your reasons they will understand :)

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  38. great topic and very well-written..something which we have to confront on daily basis..we all have our views on this..what saddens me the most is that at times we chose to ignore such confrontations and their consequences..our mood on a particular day also at times guides our decision..

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    1. I happen to agree with you. On days we are elated, we feel magnanimous enough to give them cash.

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  39. Glad to see a post about this. Yes, it's a constant struggle between doing the right thing and fighting your guilt for seeming heartless. Best thing is to get these people working so they'll get out of that vicious cycle of constant begging!

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    1. You and I don't have the means to offer them jobs. But we can certainly help organizations that provide help and care to beggars.

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  40. Isn't that an ethical dilemma that many of us face most of that time? Faces are deceptive, intentions unknown. And I'm afraid that these people begging have found it to be the easiest way and would not want to change. One good day at their 'dhanda', and they'll grow more strong faith of being in the right profession. Profession? Well, that's weird.

    Nice post!


    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. If it pays then it becomes a profession :)

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  41. It is really sad to see the plight of the poor! In US they are called panhandler...

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    1. I encountered a few in New York and it was an embarrassing experience.

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  42. Somehow I never feel guilty for not giving anything to them...
    I stay In Mumbai..we do not have beggars here.. we have bandits..Coz I have seen them irritate people to the core to give them money..
    And if you are a young guy with a girl you are trying to be a gentleman with...they have the vision to spot you...
    If you don't pay them then their insistence and the girl's 'awww' makes you the bad guy, if you do then you have 10 more... What a royal mess!!!

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    1. I have heard stories about their militant behaviour and how they resort to filmy compliments to extract money out of you.

      Ha! I'm sure there are better ways to impress your girl :)

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  43. i am very strict about not giving alms to beggars,but the story behind this is very long-so let it be......there are Beggar Homes run by Govt,but they run away from there at the first opportunity....the state of these Homes too could be one reason.

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    1. Well, why don't you write a post on it?

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  44. First of all everyone here has referred begging as a profession, if it is a profession as u said there is no point in being offensive. In our society we need to work to stay alive. You get rewarded by money(not always). You always go for a job with more salary. But then you can say begging is parasitic, as does most other. You can take example of marketing, they persuade us to buy a product, this "persuasiveness" is the work they have been doing. The same "persuasiveness" happen in begging also.
    Don't think even for a minute that i hail begging and want to consider it as a proper job. i just want to point that they beg coz it doesn't need any skill, only experience counts. These beggars are not vote bank as you mentioned, rather they don't even exist officially, they don't have id cards, ration cards etc. There are poor and there are outcasts and these guys belong to the latter. Why do they stay in begging for ever? coz they don't get any privilege of a citizen, they can't have any benefits from govt. as they don't have any id proofs. Patriotism and moralities are luxuries for them. They get raped and beaten. They don't look after their children, why? no one asks. They are in a jungle where survival is the only aim. They live like animals. They need help from others, you can't expect them to go for work out of the blue. To us its just mood swings and ethical dilemma whether to give or not, but for them its their survival.
    These beggars will be there for a long time in India. We need to save our poor category, daily workers, farmers etc., first.

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    1. I'm not sure whether the marketing people will be pleased with the comparison :)

      Its always refreshing to read a contrary perspective. I understand, for them life is a battle for survival but giving alms is only a temporary solution. We need a long term plan for upliftment of the poor. We need pro poor policies.

      But able bodied men and women who are perfectly capable of finding jobs as unskilled labour, will never get my sympathy.

      Delete
  45. I feel the guilt you talk about every single day at the traffic lights. It is tempting to give in if not for the beggar, to feel less guilty and do that one good deed for the day. But, at the cost of sounding heartless, it angers me when I see these same people day after day after day. Disabilities feigned or otherwise are a source of steady income for them and a way of life. Here as I struggle to find a decent maid who'll work properly, there are a whole lot of able bodied beggars who refuse to work for a living.

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    1. There's no dearth of work for them yet they choose to beg. Your anger is justified!

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  46. "For our country to progress we need a self reliant populace and not parasites who’d rather live on handouts than stand on their feet."
    If you truly believe this, then I congratulate you; you do not pay taxes or fees to the government. If you do pay taxes and fees, then you are only encouraging politicians, babus and other parasites who misdirect money and resources that could be used for the betterment of economically disadvantaged people.

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    Replies
    1. Not paying taxes or fees is not really a choice unless you enjoy a vacation in jail :-) Alternatively, you can hire a bunch of highly paid and experienced taxation experts to help you 'plan' you taxes. Either way you bleed.

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    2. When it comes to paying taxes, we don't exactly have a choice. And if we did, most of us would not be paying anything!

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  47. Totally agree. Infact a friend of mine actually gave a boy a pack of Parle-G instead of money. That way we are sure that the kid doesn't go hungry and he is not pulled deeper in this vicious circle.
    I remember once a begger(young man around 30-35 age) came begging for money at my house. My mom offered him a half days job in farm and rs 50 as compensation. That was quite some time back when 50 rs was equivalent to about 200 now. He flatly refused and moved on, saying that he would earn more by begging......

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    1. Makes my blood boil when I hear of such instances.

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  48. Purba, your points are spot on here. I rarely give out money, though I often open (intentionally) a biscuit packet or a bar of chocolate and give it to a child who's begging.

    This is so true "And if you are still feeling guilty about your riches, don’t worry, the government with its persistent efforts through Union Budget will make sure you will be poor eventually." The sad part being no one benefits from the usage of these tax money except the politicians.

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    Replies
    1. A lot of the money does get utilized in development and welfare projects. Unfortunately there's a always a greedy bunch waiting to siphon off from these funds.

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  49. i believe there's a beggar in each one of us...although we do not ask for monetary gains for we do beg for love...so similarly the less privileged are right in some sense to ask for money...that's their form of asking for love...i am not saying to encourage begging but people who really can't do without it...there's no harm in giving them something that we think will add value to their life from ourside....

    god has given us strength and blessed us to be alright to make the money again but not these souls so lets just help them in someway or the other...that's my viewpoint...

    consider yourself lucky enough that god has sent that person on your doorstep for your help because god considered you worthy enough to bless such a soul...so its time for you to prove your worthiness to the almighty...

    its my view point...sorry if i sound offensive...ma'm

    regards
    rahul

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    1. The old, the physically challenged unable to fend for themselves deserve our help. But not the able bodied men and women for whom begging is an easy way out.

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  50. Very provoking. I completely agree with all you've said here. Me and ma make it a point now to give out money like that in the Park Circus crossing in Kolkata where the whole car gets crammed with beggars nagging for money. It's a well known fact there that the street kids are all under a company making this a business. I like the idea of giving out food instead. We really don't have much access to NGO's out here. Though my mum runs a small one, teaching the tribal kids of the villages beside Kharagpur but for street chilren I haven't heard of NGO's out here. I would love to help out in some way.

    Thank you for the inspiration :)

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    Replies
    1. And your Mom is doing a commendable job, running a school for tribal kids. Hats off to the lady!

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  51. good post! and good thought! giving money has never helped them! yes, purchasing quick biscuits has always been on agenda! :) good to read our thoughts on your page! with google reader, hope to frequent this one more!

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  52. This is true with Indian beggars. The streets, save some, are filled with stretched palms asking for alms. In fact, many of the time I have asked some of them to come to my home, work and get paid. Of course, they never oblige. We have lots of programmes to establish the poor and the homeless. But how do you know how needy they are. Sometimes it is just a business. The film Traffic Signal portrays that right. This is more like a business and the attitude to earn without working.

    Divya Bhaskar
    MyGrahak.com

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  53. You have rightly addressed my own dilemma here Purba-to give or not to give. I also turn away my head for I cannot bear to look at the hungry and pleading faces-but something stops me from reaching out to them with my money-I wish there was a surer way to help, that would not require a second thought but compassion!

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  54. I have heard of begging rings which maim and cripple children before making them beg, so that these kids gain some extra sympathy. Its horrifying, i NEVER give small kids any money, it just encourages their parents to produce more and depute them to beg. Although, I can't say no to helpless elderly beggars.

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  55. And I've also heard that beggars fight among themselves and pay off the cops for traffic signals with a lot of thoroughfare. Its all very territorial.

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