The traffic lights at Kharghar have several men, women and children either begging for money or hawking items. It is a usual thing for most people who travel through those roads every day. Many travellers could even recognize the people who come to beg every day. But when I stop at one of those traffic lights, there is more than a hint of recognition that I experience. There is a sudden wave of resentment which passes my mind as I look at the same faces who we have been helping every day with items of basic needs.
Beggary is easy money. Everyone doesn’t do it because it requires a deep detachment with self-esteem. But those who have lost their whole lives to drudgery and poverty usually end up losing their prestige too. So beggary is easy for them. Children would run up to the traffic lights knowing that they can get some money which they could use for buying a sweet. Most of the times, the money earned through beggary isn’t usually saved or utilized for sustenance. It is often used for drugs and alcohol. Very little goes into the ration and some of it may be used for clothing, but mostly, beggary spoils the beggar by showing them a way to find income which does not require them to work under anyone, or adhere to working hours or meet certain targets. Beggary isn’t easy, but it is in many ways seen as a means of quick money.
I am not talking about old men and women who are sadly turned out of their own houses to live on the roads. I am talking about families who live on the streets and who have the option of asking their children not to run on the streets begging for money.
If you look at a small child and give him or her money or food because they may be hungry then you may be encouraging them to stand there every day hoping to find one generous soul. While you may know that you helped the child, there is a longer, much deeper impact that the society is aware of but usually turns away from. These children forgo free education because they feel that it is easier to just stand in a corner and ask for money.
For those who really want to help, find a charity and donate to an organization which is working towards the betterment of these people. Charities and non-profit organizations channel funds to create employment opportunities, provide business opportunities, and arrange for shelter, food and education for the poor families and homeless people. This way the money you donate is utilized in a much better way. There is assurance that it will not be used for drugs or for alcohol or for any wrong reasons. This way, the families could genuinely improve their quality of life and find a sustainable livelihood which keeps them away from beggary.