Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Beggars and begging in India..

Last month we planned a trip to Agra with this Dutch friend of ours and what I saw after we came out from Red fort was quite astounding. Bunch of guys were pleading to our Dutch friend to buy something from them even if he was not interested and none of them were  approaching us to sell their items. There were some beggars as well who just didn’t want to go away from the sight even after making them realize that he is with us. Finally our friend had to give in and bought a couple of items from one of them. But it does not stop here, as he buys memorabilia from the guy, fellow sellers barged into the car and started pretending that they are selling the items in much lowers prices than they usually sell to other ‘foreign’ travelers. Now one thing was quite amusing to me was their accent. They were speaking in rather much better accent and were directing to him only and none of them cared that we were also there. Now this tells that money can make you do anything, yeah anything. This is just a small example.

Now, that just got me thinking, how does a foreigner attracts more sellers than fellow Indians who understand the language better? May be he is a better customer, may be they can fool them? They start a 50 rs item in whopping price of roughly 1500 and then the buyer tries to half it thinking he is clever. But is he?  And doesn’t it tell you a thing or two about our culture.

Now coming to the begging part, what I think is, that foreigners accentuate the problem of begging in India, because for them giving a rupee or two or sometimes a ten rupee note is not a big thing (and this entails them to deride Indians by deducing that India is still a poor country and full of beggars) but what they don’t realize is that they are breeding an unpopular culture here. This problem can be abated if not eradicated if foreign travelers are advised at the airport itself not to give any money to beggars and if they are so interested in throwing largesse they should rather donate in some NGOs.

Few days back I saw a kid at metro at around 10:30 PM stymieing a lady, he was coming in her way when ever she tried to walk ahead putting her in an embarrassing situation. We rebuked the kid then only he left the lady and later we found out that he was drunk.

Begging has become a profession in some families who just want to continue their family business despite having resources to make their own life. May be this is easy or may be they don’t want to work hard.

Beggars operate in a very organized manner; they have a certain territories which they can not cross. And that is why you might have noticed that if you don’t give money they will accompany you to certain place and then will walk away and will find another victim.

If you didn’t know, begging is a crime in India but then isn’t drunk driving also a crime? But who cares the law as long as we can get away with it. We should wake up to reality sooner than later.

The offense of begging comes under prevention of begging act. It is a state law and differs from state to state. In Delhi The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act 1959 is applicable which deals with the penalty or detention of beggars for the offense of begging. Not just begging but if you are giving money to the beggar it is a crime too.

So from next time whenever you see a firang giving money to beggars just stop them there and then.

It really hurts seeing infants begging, teenagers working in hotels and innocents getting trafficked.

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

Good Morning, Have a nice day!


bidisha biswas said...

each and every word,line and paragraph of your blog is so true...
let me share my experience with you... i live in varanasi.. foreigners have a special attraction towards varanasi.. starting from ghats to narrow streets to those strangly dressd sadhu babas... they click pics even if a lady places sindoor on forehead of cow.... everything attracts them and they attract every begger auto rickshaw people towqrds them...once i was waiting for rickshaw for "sankat mochan mandir" an auto came but bypassed me and parkd itself infornt of a german couple(came to knw coz de travelld with me to the temple) and the auto driver said in his hinglish accent "kya sahab kaha going, u want to go monkey temple(sankat mochan) i was like :-D:-D:-D at that time then 3 of us went in same auto.when we reached i gave him 10 rs. and when the germans askd that auto driver said 100 rs... before i coupd stop him they paid and he ran with his auto like hell... even inside the temple the beggers haunted me and them too..i kept walking bland didnt pay attention but those two.. gave each begger 10 rs... when i said dont give whatever they are saying that they didnt eat food is a lie the mandir trust provid food to them everday.. that was the time the couple stopd giving beggers money... it makes me feel sorry for my city.. because not only those couples but many foreigner think that varanasi is a city of poor people...even theu think the same towards my country...and till now no solution to such problems have came... if you want to stop start right now.. because if its not today its gonna be never

Renu said...

I feel so ashamed when I see beggars and the shopkeepers also trying to fleece the foreigners.