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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Alms to give or earn?

Today morning while walking to our nearby store, i came across not one, but atleast 4 women begging.. some had kids, and others were using their children to beg.. I dint give anything... infact at one girl(who must have been about 6yrs old), i asked her "why she wasnt in school?", she scorned at me and went away....

Another sight that i've gotten accustomed to is the fact that there is a lorry(truck, tempo, watever you wanna call it) parked around the corner, after the Pizza Hut signal(on Sterling road) and there is music blaring from the speakers on the rear of the truck... Spread across the streets on either side, we see people being led around with a begging bowl.. the ones who are begging are BLIND and the ones leading em around are normal people with good eye sight... What the heck is this???? new style begging??? i feel awful whenever i see them.. infact i even wonder if the blind have lost their sight just so they can beg??[like u see in movies, and read in books.. people hurting themselves on purpose, becomming handicapped, etc just to earn a few bucks the easy way]...

Why are they begging?
Why cant they go do something to earn a living?
Do we have to pity them?
Is it wrong to shoo them away?
Do we have to give money to the beggers??
What do you do when you see them lurking about???

In Ajmer, before our visit to the Dargah, we [me and my friend A] were sitting in the cab while the men[being all manly, protecting and macho] went about looking for a hotel where we could wash up, change and head to the dargah, a mob of beggers surounded the cab and started tapping on window, door begging.. there was an old lady, who looked like the ring leader who went about throwing curses at us, about how we shall not prosper cos we dint help her, and how we had car and all, and yet dint bother giving them any money.... eeks.. infact after our visit to the Dargah, and then spending time in the hotel, and finally when we left the town, there were quite a few of the beggers, incl a little girl running along wiht the car screaming stuff...

What is it about begging that has them hooked?
Do they love it so much?? [ most sought after profession...].. sigh...


Lakshmi said...

its quite a profitable business..and I really feel sorry for those hardened souls of the kids who are pushed into this early

Chakoli said...


I woudnt ever wonder if they tomrrow come out with ipod and mobile phns in thr hand....

what I would say...
Looking fr a change...
BEGGING... is an option lolzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz;-))

Phoenix said...

It's quite an organised sought after profession in India in modern times, but even the Ramayana and Mahabharatas have their share. Why, is still a question?

Anonymous said...

I think its a matter of choice for some and a matter of compulsion for most.We talk of schools and we talk of education.We ask a beggar kid ( like you did ) why isn't he going to school. Well, School ? Can you recollect what all does it take to get to school ? No, not only education fees rather its about a regular investment which only pays when you finally start earning.Who will pay for all your breakfast and tiffins if its only you responsible for yourself? Most of the kids that beg are orphans- an excreta of the so called developing society. And one fine morning,educated people like us ask them,why don't you go to school.Does not sound fair at all.
You seem far more experienced in life- you tell me what is the future of all those govt. schools that they have put up and how many of them end up making it to the IITs and IIMs.I bet there can not be a sizable number of kids who could do that.Infact, I once paid for the education of a kid who works at the local dhaaba.And after a month, I saw him there again.I asked him why is he not at school ( now that his fees is already paid )..Saab khaane ko nai milega toh padhenge kya !!

Solutions ! If we are looking for solutions to problems of perennial nature as this, then there is a lot more to be contributed - barring sympathy which is only a situational phenomena.How many of the civilized, car-riding people ( the ones who ask, why don't you go to school ) are ready to keep such kids at their homes and take well care of them ? If they can not do it,well then there is no need for sympathy either.

How many of them have visited orphanages rather than going to Pizza Huts and dominoes ? check it out someday.There is a lot more than sympathy that you can donate there.

PS Note- there is nothing personal ,I believe, against you or anyone.Just that if we are looking for a solution then there is more that needs to be done other than calling begging a profession and scare-crowing them off- and writing a blog post making a fun those who suffer.


Aaarti said...

@lakshmi, Chakoli n Phoenix
yep, it makes me sad everytime i see these kids... but i do my little bit in helping atleast 1kid a month do something to make their life better~~~ atleast i hope it makes their life better~~

Aaarti said...

Hi Mishra
1st of all, i would like to state that i dint do a blog post to poke fun at them... far from it.. and am surprised you thought i was getting a kick out of putting up such a post, "Making fun of those who suffer" as you say!!

Well, i have put up the post cos i have seen kids who were begging, and i have helped couple of them[my little bit to the society] go to school and take up slightly decent jobs... and i get hassled when i see more kids begging on the streets...

Starting with my maid's daughter, to begger kids on the street, i have put them in school [where they are taught for free, and provided 2meals a day], and now they are working in stores in our neighborhood... infact the maid's daughter is aspiring to pursue college[ for which me and granpa contribute money, towards books,etc] so she can get into a office job.... [off late been noticing a lot of people who's kids have done school and are looking for any kind of job.. i help them any which way i can... getting them into a grocery store, xerox place, or small offices that belong to people i am familiar with, who i know will take care of these kids]

Apart from this, i have also been contributing towards education for people i dont even know.. a friend mentioned there was a lady who had 2kids, who needed some dough, so she can send them to school, i did send the reqd amt.. and she let me know how happy she is that her kids are able to go to school.. she works as a maid in not one but three homes.... I can go on about the little things i do to help kids who want to be helped, but generally, in our country, let me talk of my street and city... there are way too many beggers, homelesss who need to be showed the other side of life and how they can also get there....

Umm, btw, who's talking about sending them to IIT or IIM??? All i say is instead of begging,one can do some sort of work and live their life... I do understand many are driven towards begging, but why not alter their life? why not see there is more to life than being on streets?

Anonymous said...

Ma'm, I believe few things need clarification.

# That last line of your post-"What is it about begging that has them hooked?
Do they love it so much?? [ most sought after profession... lolz]"

was the one which gave wrong impressions.I personally do not have any vendetta against you or anyone for that matter."Lolz" does not send the right signal,if I may say so.You could consider it revising ( in the language of MS Office ).

# When I say "you"- I could never have meant you i.e Aarti.I do not know you personally and neither can I accuse you of anything.What I meant was the crowd that halts at the traffic signal,takes a look at the beggars that knock on their window panes,curse them and moves ahead.

# As far as IITs and IIMs are concerned, let me tell you something.There are people who have made it to the top from even that strata of society.I know of a rickshaw puller whose son cleared civil services exam( ) and I know of myself who is in IIT when his father (a few years back) earned not-more-than 1300 bucks a month.

# I do not undermine/mock your efforts and I do not doubt your intentions either.Kindly do not take it personally.You have far more experience in life than me which I respect with all my heart.Apologies, if I sounded rude.Just that some things get personal sometimes.Hope you understand.I know I have a lot of learning to do and I do not doubt that it will be the most from elders like you.

Aaarti said...

@ Mishra~

No offense was no apologies needed...:) Guess we were jus blowing off some steam about a topic that is close to our hearts~~

and i realllly am happy to meet someone like u who's come a long way... proud to know you.. seriously!! :)

Rauf said...

Owee there's a debate going on ?

Aaarti Simblee, begging is easy money, no investment. They don't deserve any sympathy. This is the second oldest profession, you know what the first one is.

i was about to drop money in a bowl in Ujjain, his mobile went off beeky beek.

another story.
This is long.
i'll cut it short.
i was walking on the railway tracks in Minjur, towards the station, i took my camera out and took a couple of shots of the tracks. its illegal and they can confiscate my camera, happened to my friend Asokan what an ordeal! it took a couple of weeks to get his camera back.

Here no one noticed me taking pictures though i was close to the railway station. i bought the ticket to Central, waited on the platform for the train, thought i'll have some chhaaya. as i was sipping an old begger came dragging himself, i bought him some eats and chaaya. As i was sitting on a bench waiting, a neatly dressed man in white sat next to me.
He asked me in Tamil ' who are you ?
i hate that question. don't know what to answer.
i said iam from chennai

what do you do ?

i was annoyed, i asked him what do you do ?

He said he is a S. Railway official.

i panicked, there goes my camera, he has seen me taking pictures of the tracks.

What do you do he asked me again

i lied, i said i am a teacher, retired. thought i would get some sympathy.

school or college ?
But his manner was friendly, he was not interrogating me i was sure.
school teacher gets more sympathy, i said i am a school teacher. i was sweating in December.

i saw you buying eats for that begger. he said

by then i had completely forgotten about the begger, he was not in my mind at all.

what begger ?

that begger, he pointed at him
i had to turn 180 degrees to see him, he was still eating.
i relaxed, this man is not after my camera.

yes, so ?

Do you know who he is ?

What ? i decided not to be my usual arrogant self.
but in my mind i said who is he the president of india ?

No,i said.

This begger has lakhs and lakhs of rupees and he is a loan shark. Most of us (railway employees) borrow money from him and he has thugs who collect the interest for him. Even i borrowed money for my daughter's wedding and iam still paying interest. His business is spread from here to Chennai and he gets free rides in the trains.

i was thinking of less than 50 rupees lying in my pocket, that was all i had.
i think now i have to take upthat profession.

niceguy251 said...


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Aaarti said...

@Mishra - Made the change in post~~

Thanks for the visit.. well, what is your blog url? unable to visit cos of missing id...

Aaarti said...

Wow, now that was quite an experience.. i've heard this somewhere else, that some beggars are in fact very rich and they loan money to others~~
but 1st time i am hearing of a 1st hand experience.. interesting... and well, like you am sure many others thot he was jus a poor beggar and gave him money or eats...

Aravind Kumar said...

The Country Begs, The People beg. We are a Country of Beggars.Sad Story but true...

Shrav said...

@lakshmi, you feel it's a profitable business?? Yea it is, but would you do that??

@arvind, you feel the country begs?? which country doesn't??

@arti, Being a chennaiite, I do agree all these things happen and for your questions, the answers are
1) They are begging because they are either pushed into it or are really poor, they don't have any other option
2)They've got used to this easy way of living, and if you can help them, ask anyone who knocks your car window to be a house maid at your house, I'm sure atleast one will agree..
3)Err.. I don't know, it's upto you.. Usually I don't. But I know people who give 100's of rupees to beggars after a visit to a temple
4)It is definitely not wrong
5)It's your call. If you feel they really need it, you could help
6)I don't generally do anything!

Karthiksn said...

Well being a student I haven't seen much but last year for one of our projects we had done some research on this topic and realized some interesting facts.

Some of the facts would be about the beggars you see at Chennai station or the other local stations. I guess you have thought why are they not rehabilitated. The truth is every now and then some NGOs and Governmental Organizations come forward to rehabilitate them. Some of them are given jobs and children sent to school. But the sad fact is that they just return to begging soon after. The reason is simple, the amount you earn in begging is difficult to achieve in a salaried job and I am not talking about Rs. 1000 or Rs. 2000, its much more than that. Children after learning to be independent can't live being dependent on people and come back to the profession.

I agree there are many who are forced into it but the unfortunate fact is its a very highly organized and well maintained profession.
I dont say helping is wrong but helping someone who is really in need is what matters.

niceguy251 said...


You can visit me at

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Ladybird said...

Hi, thanks for visiting and commenting.
I think begging is a big racket. i never give money, instead if i have some food/biscuits i try to give to the lil kids begging. I feel especially sorry for the babes sleeping in exhaustion in the hot sun while the "mothers" (probably hirers) beg with an empty milk bottle in hand.

Anonymous said...

Last I heard it was very profitable! But I feel bad when I see kids being used by their parents to do this.

Compassion Unlimitted said...

Its simply easiest way of earning ones meal..pretty organised stuff though.
Many have rags to riches background in this sphere !!

Anonymous said...

@ Compassion unlimited:- Easiest ? did you say ,easiest? Try begging for a change,you will get an idea.Its easy to sit in front of computer and comment.Its far more difficult to be on streets and do anything for that matter.Begging is just one of them.

And if at all its a "most sought after profession"- why should'nt they do that? They sweat and earn.They do not get it for free.Sitting in call centre and talking- is that something that should ideally fetch you any money ? What exactly does anyone do other than talking there ? Begging is locomotion+ talking + convincing+ killing your ego + striving for every penny "each day you live" + depending on oneself...and lot more.Don't you think that such people deserve a meal for what they do ? So much for nothing ...and ofcourse, curse from people !!

Anonymous said...

@ Aarti :- Ma'm, pleasure is all the mine.Learning is a continuous process and you happen to be an important contributor as far as I am concerned.

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