We watch them daily raising their little hands before strangers and most of the time they are screamed at. Isn’t it possible that these little beggars are just another group of harassed victims? Or worse, the ugly face of a bonded life, blatantly existing in metros.

Everyday we see a number of children begging on the roads and we just turn our backs on them by saying, "What can we do?"

More than our money, these little beggars expect compassion towards their tragic lives so that they could be rescued from this vicious circle of poverty and pain. They are helpless and seek public support.

A beggar’s life is far more tragic than we can imagine. Standing at traffic signals, begging for that elusive rupee or two in exchange for a flower or a balloon can be anything but personal choice.

Most begging children don’t actually have a choice. They just have to work irrespective of fever or any other disease. Teenager girl beggars suffer the worst. Be it a lorry-driver, auto-rickshaw driver or the notorious traffic policeman, all look at them with bad intention. And, the poor helpless girls cannot do much about it.

Informing more about this social evil, Rakesh Seneger, National Secretary, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, said, “The child beggars are part of a forced beggary racket. They are trained how to carry crutches to appear disabled on road and later paid Rs 10 or 20 as commission out of their daily earnings."

There are gang leaders that include females also, who keep a check on the beggars so that they could not steal the money. Or if children are found doing so they are beaten black and blue for that.

"In Delhi, many individuals in Rohini’s Lal Quarters area, have been allegedly running training centres for child beggars. Areas like Delhi ’s Mahipalpur, Mehrauli and Vasant Kunj traffic signals are the main begging points," said Seneger.

For some, the bonded beggary is the cost they pay after running away from their native land. But for others, it is the last choice to avoid a threat to be made a prostitute or served before any pedophile.

"My uncle takes away my daily-earnings and arranges food for us. We are four sisters and all of us work at this traffic signal. Though sometimes people are kind but sometime they are very rude. Many a times we find people gazing at us in a bad way. I don’t want to go to school. It doesn’t pay. I sell flowers at times at this traffic signal, but my sisters beg for our ailing mother’s treatment," said 14-year-old Anita (name changed) near Moti Bagh traffic signal.

There are occasional beggars, who are in the daily wage business and take to begging when the going gets tough. Sociologists say that the problem of begging exists due to the absence of organized system of charity.

"Begging is also seen as a respectable activity in India. In all, other societies, charity is seen as respectable. In order to have charity, you have to have the people who are to be benefited by charity. Unfortunately, in India, we could not evolve a mechanism for organised charity," said Purshotam Aggarwal, a sociologist.

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3 comments

  1. blue girl of the sky // August 11, 2007 at 4:23 AM  

    During our theo 21, our teacher said that some choose to make poverty as an excuse. But it's also because they really have no choice because of what's happening now. nice entry.

  2. Serena // August 11, 2007 at 5:46 AM  

    There was a TV show here (Malaysia) recently based on current social problems and it featured Children Kidnapping cum Made Beggars story. I have seen those child beggars myself and they seemed "professional". The story behind it was, the kids are beaten and not fed if they don't beg. :(

  3. Ashish Ghildiyal // August 28, 2007 at 2:28 PM  

    @Blue gal n Serena

    U are very much true..soem likes to make easy money and are happy in watevr they earn during the day...but those who are crippled or suffering from diseases like leprosy don't have any choces...

    May God help them all...