I It is a fashion now –a –day to bewail poverty as an evil, and to pity the young man who is not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. But I heartily subscribe to president GARFIELD’S doctrine who puts very aptly “The richest heritage a young man be born to is poverty”. I make no idle prediction when I say that the good and the great will spring. It is not from the sons of millionaires or nobles that the world receives its teacher, its martyrs, its inventors, its statesmen, its poets or even its men of affairs rather than it is from the cottage of the poor that all these spring. Almost all the immortal names who have rendered exceptional service to our race, were from the poor families.
Miss MAYO once said, “India is a rich country where poor people live”. PROF MAC DONALD wrote “India is a land of beggars”. To some extent they are right. The reason is that we find ourselves surrounded with beggars if we go to a railway station or the Bank of Ganga. These beggars have become a problem.
Beggars belong to all the sectors. Lot of them are seen moving here and there. Among them some are homeless. Some are crippled or blind i.e. disabled. Some of them are quite hale and hearty. We can also see children of tender age begging. Where are some of them pretended to be disabled.
The number of beggars is increasing day by day. They live on the charity of the people. In India alms giving is considered as holy. We think that driving away a beggar empty is a sin. So we help them on religious grounds.
They know the weakness of the human heart. So they try to take maximum advantage. Some beggars wear saffron colours and go door to door. They are no better than cheats. They quote the ‘Ramayana’ or the ‘Gita’. They pose to know man’s past and future. Some of them sometimes claims to double the currency note or gold.
It is the habit of the beggars to press for alms. A beggar will not leave us till we are sick of his presence. So we are compelled to give him something to get rid of them.
Begging has become a profession. Sometimes the whole family try to adopts it. Sometimes two or three members of family take to it. With some, it is a whole time profession with other a part time one.
India has no federal law on begging and destitution. Many states has adopted the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, which convey a penalty of detention of three to 10 years in so called beggars homes.
To check forced begging, the court retained provisions of law that punish those who employ people to beg or who drugged, beaten and forced to beg by traffickers who then take the money. But law has no remedy to it. it is no use declaring a crime. There is no employment even for those who are willing to work. If beggary is stopped, the beggar will only multiply the number of unemployed. In my opinion, we should try to train them in some cottage industry, such as spinning, furniture repairing, etc.
Poverty is due to a several causes, the chief among them being idleness, extravagance and misfortune. The love of ease leads one to acquire the habit of idleness and idleness makes one shrink from work and any kind of labour. One cannot expect to earn anything without working and so an idle ma, for his own fault, has to struggle with poverty and is ever in want. Extravagance is yet another cause of poverty. A man who spends his money recklessly soon exhausts his resources and is faced with want. So stop begging. After stop begging – you will have what it takes to solve your problem.
- LEGAL HUMMING
(CO-AUTHOR VANSHIKA JAIN)