Beggars in India - Poverty - Anupriya Mishra

Starving to Live

Beggars in India - Poverty - Anupriya Mishra

Delhi is not just about the fast life, glitz and glamour, sky high buildings. And, it is certainly not about the fascinating floating culture alone. If you go deeper, you’ll realize the country capital is going through a sad plight like any other state. More disappointment happens to be, when you realize it’s DELHI.

Certainly, there are good things about the city, which almost everyone far or near is aware of, and which I might also feature in my upcoming posts. But, more than that, what concerns me is the pitiful state of the nation’s future and these are the children who are seen at almost every traffic signal asking for alms.

Today, when there was a long halt at one of the traffic signals in Dwarka, I saw two little kids, one who started wiping the already clean windshield of my car, while the other tried to keep me busy with his circus acts right in front of the cars. I have a usual habit of keeping some eatables in my car like candies, a pack of biscuits, which I handed over to these kids when I come across them. I prefer doing this more to my satisfaction and giving away money is of course not a generous idea. But, today I was feeling a strange guilt within me. Not because I never saw such kids performing on the streets before, but mainly because when I pulled down the glass to give a biscuit packet to the performer kid, the innocent face overwhelmed me.

There are times when you come across someone and feel an inexplicable bond. His sweet smile with well rehearsed words, “Didi paise dedo, kuch khaya nahi hai (Sister, give me some money as I haven’t eaten anything)” , had depth. In the middle of the traffic, I felt helpless, but I gave him what I could at that time. Right at the moment I saw a lady coming up to him and snatching the packet from him and immediately keeping in her ragged bag. I managed some conversation with the woman, probably his mom at least that’s what she claimed to be. And, the conversation went somewhat in the manner as follows:

I: Why did you snatch the packet from the kid? It was for him.

Woman: He has just earned for us from his performance. He’ll eat later.

I: But he wants it. Give it to him.

Woman: You don’t worry memsaab, it’s his job and he’s used to staying hungry throughout the day.

I was shocked to hear that tough statement from the woman who must have kept him in her womb for nine months. I continued:

“You are absolutely fine, why don’t you get yourself some work.” To which, she again replied “Who is going to work. This is an easier method of earning for us.”

Sad but true. Before I could even try to share some gyan, the signal turned green and the ever impatient drivers behind me started honking. I had to move, no choice!

When I reached home, I did a bit of research on beggars in India. I wasn’t surprised at all that there are mafia gangs who are also involved in it and begging is a kind of scam in huge rackets. Even worse is Mumbai than Delhi. I also read the reports where children are forced to amputate their body parts.

Isn’t it sad? If begging is a crime, why isn’t the government doing anything about it? If this is the present, I feel obnoxious to think about the future. No one can really make the difference till there’s a support from the Government. Is it really a big hope?

Yes, I do feel helpless because I know a packet of biscuit to even 100 odd children will not eradicate their poverty and set them free from beggary. I feel pathetic to realize that I want to do something for not just a few, but the entire section, and I cannot. I’m not God to change the picture of this world alone, nor am I the Government of India that I can implement some sensible laws in the country. The choice remains between whether I should see, accept and digest the sad plight and bear the agony and remorse or should I simply leave this country and stay far from these disturbing elements. Truly speaking, it’s equally difficult both ways.

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