Professional Begging: A Social Curse

By: Adil Ahmed

I’m a professional beggar! Aid me in the name of God. ILLUSTRATION: Raja Taimur Hassan

I’m a professional beggar! Aid me in the name of God. ILLUSTRATION: Raja Taimur Hassan

Karachi: Allah kay naam per kuch dayta ja baba meray chotay chotay bachay ghar main aik haftay say bhookay hain (Give in the name of God! my small kids are hungry at home for the last one week), Jama Masjid “xyz” zeer-e-tameer hai kuch imdaad krta jaa (contribute some money for the under constructed mosque at xyz place), Meri maa cancer ki mareez hai kuch paisay dayta jaa, dawai kahreedni hai, jumayraat ka din hai baba, gahr main koi kamanay wala nahi hai meray chotay bhai behan ghar per bhookay hain baba (my mother is a cancer patient help me, today is a holy Thursday, there is no one to earn in my family and my small siblings are hungry please give me some money). I come across variety of beggars and their begging tricks every day, while traveling in a public bus, at traffic signals, outside shops, malls, on streets, religious temples, shrines, hospitals, mosques, and even restaurants. Every day I get to see and hear new tailored emotional dialogues for begging which amuse me and infuriate me at the same time.

I mean, Chewing gutka, paan and niswar and asking for few rupees for a daily meal for himself and his family? Does it make sense? How much could you save by not having these and feed your family instead? I should rather call them smart and us ignorant, because we aid these beggars with money. If they are blessed with a child with Microcephaly disease, then he is treated like a chicken that lay golden eggs and are commonly known as “shah Daula kay chuhay”- Rats of Saint Shah Daula of Gujrat. People give them money with a belief that they are the rats of Saint Shah Daula in a form of humans and giving them money will ultimately fulfill their wishes. Never heard or seen anything as absurd as this.

There is nothing wrong in helping people who are in need, but God has given us common scene to evaluate, what is right and what is wrong. Being responsible humans, we cannot always put our acts on our “niyats”- Intentions. Teach them how to fish instead of feeding him everyday – that’s what we can really contribute.

According to a recent research conducted by UNICEF, above 80% professional beggars are indulging in malpractices like drug addiction, prostitution, child abuse, human trafficking and pick pocketing. Therefore giving money to them is like contributing your share to the evils of society. This only encourages and strengthens their belief that all this is acceptable. All this makes me question our act of charity.

It’s very painful to see people giving money to beggars with a belief that they are PLEASING THE GOD. They need to realize that God will never please by their imprudent act. If they want to please God then they should do some concrete work in order to drag them out from such devastating circumstance. The bitter fact is that it’s us, who promote the institution of beggary, and once they get into this profession then they badly become addicted to it. It’s a vicious circle – never ending misery, not financially but a disgrace to the humanity.

I’ve personally encountered well educated people giving money to beggars who look absolutely fine both physically and mentally. Education opens up our mind and makes us vigilant. Once travelling in a public bus and I stopped an elderly person from giving charity to a beggar. To my surprise the person sitting next to me, scolded me in return by saying, “this new generation has no fear of God in their heart, and they have no knowledge of religion”. But No religion in the world promotes the institution of beggary, am sorry to say.

This is multi-million institution backed by some strong stakeholders of the society. Obviously, this institution cannot flourish without the help of state authorities. The most gloomy and other face of the story is a number of children aged between 4 to 12 are victim of this mafia and are professionally trained before they are sent on streets to beg. Almost all of them are trafficked from the remotes areas of the country where people do not have enough to feed themselves and their children. So as last resort they migrate or become a victim of trafficking to urban areas for this cruel crime – as I would like to call it.

If they are actually in need of money to support their family and medical assistance then why don’t they contact numerous of welfare organizations operating in the city. There are many well reputed organizations, such as Saylani, Edhi Foundation, Chippa Foundation and Alamgir Foundation, which are helping people in getting their basic necessities of life and further support them in getting job and establishing a small business. In the field of health sector, which include SIUT, Indus Hospital, LRBT, Shoukat Khanam and many other are providing world class healthcare services free of cost. But these professional beggars will not approach to such organization, as these organizations will not aid them for fulfilling their evil desires by paying them direct money.

We need to change our habit doing such kind of charity that we see on traffic signals, public busses and on streets. If we want to help them in real sense then we have to rethink the ways we can actually contribute to their well-beings. Beggars do not want to get out of this profession, since it’s very easy for them to earn money without much hassle and hard work. What they actually want is few training classes before coming into this field. But I ask everyone here, where does our responsibility lie, as responsible citizens of this society? What are we doing with our degrees and education? Aren’t we all promoting this in our own ways? Probably we are equally lazy as them, and don’t want to do anything worth a hassle. Think about it.

The writer is Marketing Analyst at Centegy Technologies Sydat Hyder Ernst & Young and currently doing MBA from Institute of Business Managemen (IoBM).

About Social and Development log of Pakistan (SDLP)

Social and Development log of Pakistan (SDLP) is an attempt to highlights real public issues, which include social, economic and political issues, and complete policy analysis of that issues having experts opinion and analysis on it. SDLP will raise all public issues on the basis of facts and try to advocate at the highest forum which may influence the policy-makers and draw their attention towards the real problem. SDLP also welcomes contributions to our blog. For that you may send your queries/suggestions/articles etc at Twitter: or @taimur__ Facebook:
This entry was posted in Pakistan Social Issue, Poverty, Social Development and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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