Begging in the name and fame of Mahatma Gandhi on Gandhi Jayanti, heart wrenching reality


Begging for change right now!!

One of the favourite pastimes of any Vizagite is sitting by the beach, snacking on muri mixture and beach bajji. And as we snack, beggars begging us to spare a few rupees is common. Most turn them away with a practised wave or an automatic shake of the head, while a rare few part with a coin.

More often than not, we give to get rid of the constant begging and sometimes nagging presence rather than because of a genuine desire to help. Sometimes, the fear of tempting providence has us hastily appeasing. The irony is that some of them are just children and some who throw curses your way!

Some of us not only treat begging as a nuisance, we turn a blind eye to their repeated requests (and demands) to feed and clothe their families. We see this sadness day in and day out, yet we go about our lives nonchalantly. We don’t open our wallets or dig in our pockets for a token to give the poor old man with only a thin shawl around his shoulders. Or the bare bodied child in silver paint imitating a great man who he doesn’t really know. Many a time in his hunger he doesn’t care except for the gimmick to work. But how come our apathy and nonchalance. How do we justify this attitude?

On the one hand, there are people who are disabled or without the wherewithal to support themselves. The only way they can ‘earn’ enough is by appealing to the sympathetic. And then there are so-called ‘orphanages’ we hear cruel stories about, where the children are forced to beg and bring back a certain amount each day, failing which terrible punishments await them. We are with the question of which one is it?

On this day every year, the number of small kids and older men dressing up as ‘the man on the currency note’ who they can relate to in pictures only in increasing. the utter desperation and despondence is on the rise. What we wished is the begging to reduce if not stop. Haven’t we reached anywhere yet. Those who are truly incapable should be taken under the wing of social service programmes, while those who can find a way to legitimately earn their living well should! Constantly acceding to their requests and demands only encourages beggars. The reverse may leave a destitute child hungry and desolate.

Should we give in to the sorrowful look or the hatred of the have nots?Should we succumb or reason, what say, Vizag? The dilemma is here, now, today, everyday.

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