In NCR Delhi begging appears to be a better profession than employment
By Shantanu Jha
New Delhi: Begging as a profession is better than other employment professions. Sounds strange, but true. This correspondent at the Delhi NCR found that 1.5% of the population there is involved in begging and these beggars encounter the so called middle class people everyday in their life---those who express pity on the beggars and usually toss one rupee or five rupees coins at them. But, what is surprising is that these beggars enjoy a better life than many of these middle class or working class people. Look at it how.
A beggar named Sunil Sahni, 26, from the Sheohar district of Bihar begs at almost 15 metro stations of the Noida sector with some rose flowers in his hands. “I give no importance to any profession as it can harm my job. I work in two shifts and earn Rs. 1200-1500 daily”, he says. Similarly, Sunil earns Rs. 36000-45000 monthly which would rather be a dream for any middle-level salaried person. A victim of polio attack Sunil since childhood is disabled by both legs. He has to look after his mother, his brothers and sisters. Significantly, he would never let his brother to do this job as he says, “it is not a respectful job”.
Some beggars don't even want to disclose their address. Ashok(name changed) who is involved in begging from the last two years but is reluctant to disclose what he does. “I’m a Brahmin by religion and am burdened for my sister's marriage. If some body who knows me as a beggar, gets my address then, who'll be marrying my sister?”. He earns Rs 70-100 in just an hour time. Some 7-8 years back he had lost his hands in a tragic incident and had to spend lots of money in treatment. To earn a living he though he had no better option than begging. His companion and room mate Narayan looks after him and he too earns Rs 100-200 daily.
Having a detailed conversation with these beggars it can be said that these people are not getting any sort of help from their families which forces them to do begging for their survival. Another disabled beggar Irfan Mallik says, “I’ve three brothers but none of us help each other. All of them are busy doing their own work”.
Some beggars, though, beg with their families, including women and earn Rs 250-300 a day. One of them named Kaushalya Devi from Madhya Pradesh says, “my husband's both legs are broken due to which we have turned up to begging”. It is also interesting to know how these beggars beg in different ways. Some beg in the name of cancer while some keep a bowl full of mustard oil on Saturday and beg while pointing towards a framed photo of Shanidev.
Near the NCR's metro stations beggars get arranged in lines everyday. These lines even contain small children who are migrants from states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.These children are usually seen in terrible conditions as some have their one part of body completely burnt while some get their legs with bruised marks and some having their hands chopped off from middle.
Of late some new cases of begging too have reached in the area with small children made disabled and are forced to begging. A new trend too could be seen emerging with a tough thug known as "Dada" and he regularly takes a fixed toll from every beggar by deciding the spot for every beggar to beg.
Beggars are considered the lowest rank holders in the society but many believe that “if town is a beauty than begging is the dust that degrades the town” and this may be the reason why many associations are trying to get rid of beggars as soon as possible. The adult beggars are sent to the jail and the child beggars are sent to the juvenile homes. But, many beggars don’t want to get rid of their profession as one disabled among them Sukhram (name changed) says, “as my living has always been based on begging I’ve decide to do this job until my last breath”.
Though, there is no official record of how many beggars are there in India but an NGO named "Narijan" has found that 1.5% of the population in Delhi NCR is involved in begging . However, the government, the NGOs and the people all must ponder over child beggars wandering on the streets of Delhi NCR and becoming victims of drug addiction or getting involved in crimes and criminal activities.
(Shantanu Jha is a Std. XI- Commerce student of St.Michael's High School, Patna)