By Nirav Shah:
Begging — technically known as “panhandling” defines a situation wherein the needy ask for material benefits or Â money – often even basic amenities like food and clothing.
But the question here is, should this activity be encouraged? It’s a human tendency to feel like helping someone when they are in need — Good karma as we say it. But is it really a good karma?
They are many reasons why begging still exists. Some think they cannot do anything else, some do not know whether they can do anything or not. Then there are some who think that begging is easy money. For some, it has become more of an art than an unwanted activity.
In countries like India, it is considered a holy and religious duty to help the needy and religious men, ‘sadhus’, by giving them alms.Â In certain communities, there are sadhus who visit people of their caste residing in different states to get their “entitled bhiksha”. Some get the overtly-religious to get them brand new stuff from shops as alms.
At times, when I have given alms to small kids with the motive of helping, they’ve directly run to shops to get tobacco.
Encouraging begging means we are making them more dependent on us rather than themselves. Â Till the money keeps flowing they are happy. When it dries up, tactics are devised. If begging gets families through daily expenses, there is no incentive to improve the standard of living. Ultimately, generations after generations are stuck to begging only. Children born in such families are made to beg from a tender age —Â partly because of need and partly because people are generally more sympathetic towards children. Some in the beggary community have been known to be involved in crimes, minor and heinous.
What makes more sense — giving a minimal amount of money to someone suffering from polio or a similar disability or forwarding him/her to an NGO of expertise or to Governmental welfare agencies?
They are various social welfare programs for beggars initiated at the Central and State Govt. levels. We as citizens should be aware of such schemes.
Save up on money that you would normally give as alms and donate the consolidated amount to a welfare organisation of honest repute. Encourage them to work on their own; at least the ones who are capable.Â These institutions and such laws need our support. If we cannot help them, the least we can do is spread the word. Make people aware about the existence of welfarist organisations that are there in our area or city. Make use of Â social networking mediums to spread awareness. Put notices on school, college and office boards.Â A small collective effort by us can be very productive for them in the long run. Society, as a whole in general will materialize prosperously by these small initiatives.