The Problem of Beggars
Beggars are those who depend upon other’s charity for their livelihood. They are very common in our country. They are increasing in number endlessly. Standing at the roadside, one seldom fails to notice a beggar or two asking for alms or charity. In India begging has become a profession. India contains the largest number of beggars in the world. Foreigners call or country a land of beggars. The problem of beggars is one of the most pressing problems that India is facing.
Beggars are found everywhere. In every town, at every turn or corner or crossing we can see them. They cry for help, for alms, for a handful of flour or a few paise. We can also see them outside the railway stations, bus stands, religious places, dharmshals, on the bathing ghats and in the fairs etc.
There are various types of beggars. There are disabled beggars as lame, the blind, the deaf, the dumb and the lepers. Others are religious beggars as sadhus, the faquirs, the priests and pandits. We also find children beggars. These are real orphans. Some lazy people who cannot earn their livelihood by doing manual or mental labor become beggars. The sick, the disabled, the homeless and destitute deserve our sympathy and we should do something for them. Some are beggars by necessity and some by profession. These beggars adopt different ways of begging. Some beggars sing religious songs. Some take the help of music. Some of them repeat some favorite words loudly. Some beggars go from door to door.
The causes of the increase in number of beggars are many. Poverty is one of the major causes of begging. Unemployment and increasing population have also been responsible for the same. The generous and hospitable nature of Indian is also one of the causes. They consider it their religious duty to give something to the beggars. Some people think that there may be God in the disguise of beggars. So he should not go disappointed from their door. Thousands of pilgrimage places scattered all over India, provide good shelter to these beggars. There are many places like Varanasi, Puri, Haridwar and Gaya where beggary has become a trade and has been recognized by society and the state.
It is very grave problem which demands immediate attention of the government. In many European countries beggary is a crime. It is declared unlawful for a man or a woman of able body to beg publicly. There are vagrant houses, orphanages and destitute houses where helpless, the aged or the orphans or the disabled are sheltered at state expense. The state has to device laws for checking the growth of beggars. People should be taught against the evil practice. The press can also play a great role in this respect. We must make it clear to the people that there is no special glory or Punya in giving charity to able-bodies persons. Beggars associations should be declared illegal. Work houses should be established by the government.
Beggars are a shame to our country. Those who are fit and healthy should be encouraged to earn their living. When the dark spot of beggars is washed off India can claim to be a civilized country.
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