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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Alms and the Man

When the distances are unchallenging, I prefer to traverse them on my own feet. Last Saturday, there wasn't much to do at work and the usual afternoon blues didn't come knocking. But I thought of taking a cycle-rickshaw ride back home from the shop which keeps me in high spirits. When the tricycle stopped at the traffic intersection, those able-bodied but dirty-clothed beggars approached me. The rickshaw-puller attempted to shoo them away motioning his right hand. It was then that I noticed his missing left-arm. A few weeks ago the auto-rickshaw driver who dropped me home had legs, but they didn't move.

They didn't make it to the traffic intersections, religious places or busy pavements. They are good at their jobs and don't let their disabilities come in their way. Why do the others? We give alms and feel good. We've done our bit to add to the credit column of the heavenly ledger. But have done the recipient of our benevolence no good. Alms kill the urge to work. It's easy money and there is also an organised mafia out there coordinating all this.

Begging in a majority of the cases is not a necessity but a menace. Many weeks ago a friend forwarded me an email which said that a particular beggar in Bombay earned on an average Rs. 1000 a day. Whenever beggars came begging at our door, my mother would make them do some chores before she gave them anything. I thought that why does she not give them something and let them go? Now I understand.


aklanta said...

Every time one of these beggers approach me, as usual I am confused. At times I feel, what difference it will make if you spend a penny (when everyday I am wasting so many of them) and at times I feel I am just promoting them to remain inside the shell of inability they have formed around them...then I decide to follow the impulse my mind generates at that particular moment...

Rita said...

I completely agree with you. Begging has become a business in our country. I feel really upset when I see kids begging on the streets. So many times I have asked them things like "will you work?" or "Do you want to study?" That instant they do the vanishing act.
It is always better on our part to help a person like the rickshaw puller you mentioned or to teach a child to read and write. That would be a service done to the society.

aquamarine said...

Hi Sowmyadip,

Two things you should remembe about beggars

First, they are filthy rich.
Second, they are bloody choosy about what they get.

Once, when I was on way to Chennai from Pondicherry, the bus stopped at Mahabalipuram for a tea break. All the passengers had alighted, while I decided to stay put. A beggar approached me and asked for alms. I told him that I did not have any change. The beggar replied, "Amma, no problem. I will give you change"!!!!!

On another occasion, when I was waiting for my bus to get to work, an old woman suffering from elephantiasis approched me and asked me for alms. The first time, I did not budge. The old woman refused to give up on me and used her potent weapon, emotional blackmail. It worked. Being the good samaritan, I offered to buy her a cup of tea and duly paid the required fee at the tea-shop. Instead of the usual, "God bless you", the old woman tells me, "Amma, I had tea yesterday, now i want Bonda. No tea."

So think twice before dealing with these guys!!!


anthony said...

I keep reading here and there and mostly on stories or articles done on some poor women/victim that they even rent out kids to beggars and some kids are disfigured to bcome more Eligible.. Why can't begging me made illegal? Would solve a lot of problems.. and yeah, some of them earn real good. While walking along streets of some cities, I have seen many beggars having good meals uncommon for a poor person. Rohinton Mistry's Fine balance also had fine anecdotes on beggars if I can remember right.

Abaniko said...

some beggars spend their money on booze, drugs. they even gamble. it's illegal in our country to gives alms to beggars. they're a lazy lot, most of them.