The Malignancy of Begging in India

Money is considered a determinative factor of a person’s dignity, eminence and value in today’s highly competitive world. The feeling of being able to achieve a distinct and secure position in the society, is what most individuals long for. The satisfaction of being able to meet the elementary needs of everyday life is blissful in itself. However, with perpetual advancements and developments confronting us every day, the interminable lust for wealth that we possess, is also at a constant surge. The paramount desire of satiating and fulfilling all our undeterred goals, is often the driving force that compels us to work hard and reap the fruits of success. Though it is said that the ultimate key to success lies in sheer hard work, there is a very vast section of the society, which believes that success lies in charity, and that’s when the flame of beggary is lit.

India today is considered one of the fastest developing countries in the world. Despite its expeditious economic growth, it is not unrevealed that India is also inhabited by a large population of people who live below the poverty line. In order to survive, and at least suffice the basic necessities of living, these underdeveloped fragments of society, embrace any opportunity to procure money, even if it involves beseeching people into giving them alms. A woman, clad in tattered clothes, jagged pieces of cloth hanging loosely from her body. A set of disheveled hair falling over her wispy scalp. Her skin, wrinkled and fragile. Carrying a baby in her arms, she approaches your window at a traffic signal. Aren’t we habituated to this visual? The very first reaction, which occurs involuntarily, is to sympathize with the child and contribute in any way possible, to help it. But, are we doing the right thing by following our humanly instinct?

Begging is one of the gravest social issues in our country today. It has sown its seeds so deep, that it has become a seemingly inseparable part of our society. When we look at groups of panhandlers on the streets, pleading for money in the scorching sun, we cannot help but show our concern, by giving in to their needs. However, what we fail to understand is that today begging is not eyed solely as the last resort to survival. In fact it has grown exponentially to be recognized as a profession, because it is a process of earning money facilely.

Every social problem that we encounter, blatantly commands a solution to it. A practical and befitting solution though can only be achieved by thorough understanding of the constitution, reach and causes of the problem.

Amongst all the seeds that germinate into a cause for the rapid growth of the problem of beggary in India, poverty, unemployment and indolence are considered the highest contributors in making this malady malignant.We come across two definite kinds of beggars in India. Those who genuinely possess an inability to work, due to crippled limbs, visual impairment or lack of working opportunities. And then we are privy to a large section of beggars who have mastered the art of deceiving. In spite of being proficient enough to earn a living through hard work, they trace an easy way out by succumbing to begging.

Studies have also revealed that like any other respectable profession, begging also experiences inheritance. The tradition of begging is passed on from the older members of the family to the children who are aiming to construct a reputable and credible mark in the world. According to the Indian National Human Rights Commission, nearly 40,000 children are captured each year and dragged into the ominous world of beggary. In recent times, panhandling has ripened into a mutli-million dollar industry, with flesh trafficking being its impetus. In order to obliterate the threat of beggary and get rid of its curse in India, the government needs to implement resuscitation schemes to provide a better quality of life for the impoverished clan of the country. Young men and women who are not only darkening their future, but also making the existence and dreams of their next generation futile, should be coaxed and motivated to work and build successful and honorable lives.

Without impeaching the presence of genuinely indigent beggars in the country, we must comprehend that it is we who support the manifestation of beggars because we offer them alms. It is true that we must not isolate any individual who is choked with agony, but it is also imperative to understand that we are encompassed by imposters who need to be encouraged, not only for their internal growth, but also for the elevation of the country as a whole.

Picture Credits: Kristian Bertel (

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