Tuesday, September 08th, 2009 | Author:

A minute ago a white coloured government van appeared and some officials reprimanded children who looked like beggars standing near the corner of the street, what they said was unknown to me.

Location: K.G Marg (opp British Council) near a Juice Stall

Beggar one: Ab kya hoga (what will happen now)

Beggar two: Jo hoga dekha jayega (Let time decide our fate)

The Minister for Social Welfare, Law and Justice Department has vowed to make Delhi free from beggars by 2010. Keeping the Commonwealth games in mind, Delhi has to be a world class city and that is only possible after the eradication of these blots of the society. Two mobile courts now have been pressed into action to catch person found begging and citizens are also encouraged to help courts catch and rehabilitate them. Under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, the mobile courts heralded by a judge can punish serial offenders’ and/or up to 10 years imprisonment in one of the three remand rooms. Punishment to young children can be relaxed (they will be sent to juvenile homes or rehab), quotes a senior government official.

Twelve Vans are already at work in Delhi – to catch the beggars. After the catch, the destitutes are sent to about a dozen odd beggar homes- its capacity- 2200. Roughly there are about 60,000 beggars inside Delhi and around a quarter of them are less than 18 years of age. For Ankit it is hard to believe a beggar free city, ” not possible.” It should be noted that the Delhi government had started a DIAL 1098 save a child beggar programme for the citizens, but the veracity of the helpline is yet to be ascertained. Apart from a traditional practice in India, begging today is an organized industry which prefers to remain underground. True that some of the poor souls are naturally disfigured but others have the ability to cash-in-sympathy. A beggar in Delhi makes about 100 -200 INR per day whereas, more than what an unskilled laborer earns. “Catching the beggars on the eve of Commenwealth games is not the solution, driving poverty is.” Piyush says.

India is home to more than 1.01 million. The Social Welfare department promises to make Delhi – a beggar free by 2010, it still lacks a comprehensive scheme of sorts for their betterment. Priya says, “It is an industry, an organized one. I would like to see them selling stuffs on the roads.” Most of the beggars in Delhi come from the lowest strata of the society. Here education, literacy and health becomes a non-essential requirement and surviving with a hungry stomach becomes a little more important than kitaabi baatein (bookish read non-practical stuffs). According to reliable statistics 90% of beggars in Delhi are from our own self proclaimed BIMARU states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh).

Some NGO’s are working towards betterment of these poor souls but a cohesive plan need to be laid out. Rony believes that the beggars should start selling government made products. What about utilizing this huge manpower into a government sponsored self help employment schemes or even better turn them on to the list of unskilled laborers?

Arunesh gets sarcastic, “I have never thought about them.” True, all of us have never consciously thought about beggars we come across almost everyday. I get moved sometimes, when I see an aged man or a greying woman seeking alms. I wonder, where will the mobile vans take them away or for that matter put them?

Liked the post? Care to Share
| |
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses

  1. 1
    Arunesh 

    You might get moved, but people who have not thought about it till you ask, CANNOT be dubbed as ‘sarcastic.’

    (PS: Do you need examples of sarcasm for greater clarity?)

  2. 2
    Palash 

    We all live in India and I fail to believe that any we do not see these distraught souls when we move around in our bikes or cars. This is bringing an offline discussion online. A combination of your tone, “that remark”, body language, lack of eye contact, smirk made me use this word.

    I am sure there can be far better examples which suits this word. I needed a casual remark and what’s better that coming from you. Secondly, I needed a nonchalant comment like this which suited MY story, and it did. I am sorry if it hurts you anyways…

Leave a Reply