Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Begging - Should it be Encouraged ?


Begging - technically known as “panhandling” means is wherein the needy ask for material benefit,  money, or even basic amenities like food and clothing .
But the question  here is should this activity be encouraged ??
Image Courtesy : http://www.pravoslavie.ru
It’s a human tendency that u feel like helping someone when they are in need – Good karma as we say it ..But is it really a good karma ?
They are many reasons that ppl keep begging . Some think they cannot do anything else , some don know whether they can do anything , then there are some who think that begging is better and easy money  , sit in a place and keep pleading ppl to help them  . Begging has become more of an art rather than an unwanted activity.

In countries like India . , it is considered holy and religious duty to help the needy and “sadhus” by providing them alms .  In certain communities , there are sadhus who visit  ppl of their caste residing in diff states , to get their self proclaimed “bhiksha” .
For example , some beggars demand for some food items , dragging  u to a nearby store and asking u to get some  based on the deal with the beggar and the shopkeeper.
At times , when I have given alms to small kids , they directly run to a shop and get some tobacco . When I asked , they say that’s the best thing they can have . Such is the condition of this community .
So why should we give them alms and what good will it do to them other than making them dependent  on our generosity and making  them live on the hope that we are there  for donation , but only when we feel like.
Imagine your Boss ,if u r not one  Smile  , tells u that yeah u will get salary but only when he is in the mood to give. Sounds weird.. right ? But then we are doing the same thing to them  , Aren’t we  ?
Encouraging begging means we are making them more dependent on us rather than themselves.  When  we are helpful enough , they are happy . When we are not , they device tactics like the one I mentioned above.
Once , these ppl are used to begging  , than it becomes more like a profession rather than necessity . They start thinking that they can beg only now  and so they do not try to improve their standard of living or make a move to something better . Ultimately , generations after generations are stuck to begging only. Small children born in such families are made to beg from small age –  partly because of need and partly because ppl will be more sympathetic towards children.
On the other hand ,there have been some incidents  wherein the beggars lure ppl to help them and ultimately they are robbed /kidnapped/raped – Giving a negative image to the whole community .
Frankly speaking , what makes more sense – Paying 10 Rs  to someone suffering from polio or similar disability or to forward him to right NGO or nearby Govt. services. isn’t that the real good karma ??
They are various  Social Welfare programs for Beggars initiated by the Central and State Govt. levels. But we as a citizen , are as usual not aware of such noteworthy laws and its implementations.
Delhi Government has started a service called Dial 1908 . So when u see a child beggar  ,  u have a chance to rescue them and save their lives. All we need to do is call this authorities. A better act of generosity will be to support such Noble causes and encourage such institutions.
If I am not wrong , there are laws against begging .There is something called THE BOMBAY PREVENTION OF BEGGING ACT, But like any other laws , we are not aware or don’t  care to follow.
Rather than paying them directly 10 Rs whenever u visit a temple  , better collect them , save separately and  donate it to NGO in our locality who are working for betterment of such people. Try helping with things like clothes and unwanted stuff in our houses which can actually help them .Encourage them to work on their own  , at least to the ones who are capable .
These institutions and such laws need support from our side. If we cannot help them , least we can do is spread the word . Make ppl aware about the existence of such websites , NGO that are there in our area, city . Make use of  Social Networking mediums to spread the awareness . Put notices on the School College and Office Boards. If u not helping or cant help  , someone else can and will .That’s more than enough to start with . Such things don't require rocket science planning . Its just that we should know the ways in which we can extend out help .
Till we don stop giving money to them , they wont stop asking . Cut the supply and they will start looking for alternatives. I am not asking to avoid them or neglect this section of society. They are the ones who need most help . What I mean is that if we cant help them ,  then at least not to things which are not good for them in the long run .
A small collective effort by us can be very productive for them in the long run . Society , as a whole in general will materialize by this small small initiatives.
“ Give a man a fish , u feed him for a day . Teach him how to fish
 and you feed him for lifetime “ .
Img Courtesy -natyogachandra

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