The problem of beggars is a social evil and an affront on the national prestige of India.The Indian Government should take immediate steps to eradicate it.
You may even frown at the very idea of thinking about the beggars, because ‘begging’ is considered as demeaning and lowly; generally it is the human tendency to looking up and down at the people who are downtrodden and very poor, besides considering them almost useless and good for nothing fellows.
When we trace the origin and development of human history and civilization with all our sincerity and purpose, it is equally important to trace the origin and development of ‘begging’ as a habit and even as a profession and going a step further to dwell on the world of beggars for sometime. It is even more relevant when we deal with them from an Indian point of view where beggars have been flourishing and living in large numbers.
Literally speaking, to beg means to ask for money or food from others; in other words a beggar is a very poor, penniless person whose survival depends upon others. A person who had become suddenly penniless or bankrupt, jobless and directionless must have naturally turned into a beggar. Similarly, a person who was earning his wages on daily labour who was hardly hit and maimed by a sudden accident and lost his limbs and who had no moral and material support must have turned into a beggar. Illegitimate children who were forsaken by their parents and who remained uncared for must have turned into beggars for their very survival. Similarly, aged parents who were forsaken by their wards must have turned into beggars. Agriculturists or weavers who were hard hit by famine must have migrated from their native and on their failure to find a suitable job for them in a new place must have turned into beggars. Similarly, children who had physical deformities on their birth perhaps who were born dwarfs, with no or twisted limbs or hips who were forsaken by their parents had no other go but turned into beggars. Thus social and economic factors play a vital role in goading people to turn into beggars.
While beggars are considered as social and economic evil of a country like India, so far no concrete step has been taken to mitigate the evil. However, there has been some initiatives from some states like Tamil Nadu as early as in the 1970s.Homes were set up for the rehabilitation of beggars especially those people who are incurably suffering from leprosy. Around the year 2000, a scheme was launched by the Tamil Nadu Government called ‘Thottil Kuzanthai scheme’ according to which the Tamil Nadu Government had adopted the illegitimate children that were forsaken by their parents. But considering the number of people who were abound with and turned into beggars, these schemes simply paled into insignificance and the problem of beggars looms large.
It may even be shocking to note that beggars due to their physical impairments have been even exploited by the antisocial elements for earning more money in an organized way. Rowdy and antisocial elements even recruit and operate a network of beggars and earn a lot of money. They do it in an organized way by training them and directing them where to do and how to do etc so as to earn the sympathy as well as the money from the people in a systematic way.
Beggars in India are mostly concentrated in the outskirts of the Hindu temples and even before the mosques, with their begging bowls. It is the fervent hope of the beggars that people who visit these temples out of piety will always have some sympathy towards these hapless people and will certainly come forward to give away their alms into their begging bowls.
Though we generally abhor beggars, we have some sympathy towards the aged people and always we give them some alms. But we hate and shun away people who turned into beggars who are physically look good and are capable of doing any work.
The problem of beggars being an affront on the national prestige, it is time that the Indian government should take some concrete steps to do away with beggars. There are homes for the aged and the handicapped people run by the private and voluntary organizations but still they are rather inadequate.