How to deal with the beggars

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#31 Feb 13th, 2004, 18:59
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#31

Re: Some thoughts on giving to beggars

Quote:
Originally posted by Vasko


The question arises: what is a beggar? To be more precise, who qualifies as being a beggar? In the posts so far people have mentioned kids, sick people, old people, scam-artists, etc. What a mixed group of people! When I think of beggars, I think of people who are practically forced to beg to stay alive. I think of people who donít realistically stand a chance of actually finding work or being able to work Ė people who have fallen to the boundaries of society and beyond.

I was trying to make a distinction in the quote above between kids, pimps, etc. but failed to be clear enough. I agree with you, catmac, that giving to kids who are forced to beg by their parents ain't such a hot idea. As you say: "With adults, I don't have any problem giving to those who obviously can't make it in the real world either through physical or mental disability." This is what I'm getting after. It's not always easy to make a distinction, but categorically insisting on not giving anything to anyone ever is not a useful principle.

And no, I don't think that all people share my sentiments. I'm really interested in this discussion, because I'm willing to refine my own.

I have this nagging feeling that we're not talking about the same "type" of begging here.
#32 Feb 13th, 2004, 19:46
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#32
No. There is no comparison (obviously) among wild animals, prostitutes and beggars.

But the plights are comparable. The self-helplessness is comparable. The tax on the people trying to save them is comparable. The complexity of the solution is comparable.

Yes. It is insane to say that donít give food to a hungry person at the street.

But people who work on this subject know why. Many legislative types of council brought law against giving charity to beggars at streets. At many places begging is banned. People get fined for giving charity to beggars.

What the hell the govt. to do with my charity sense. Itís my money that Iím giving to the needy I feel. Are the councils mad in bringing in such laws? No.

It doesnít solve the problem. But it helps a lot in solving the problem.

Yes. Beggars are there at many places. But begging happens at the touristy places or the likes.

Where do the beggars go if no one gives charity? Will they all go hungry and die in mass? No. In all probability 90% of beggars will vanish into the society, still poor but way above than the beggar status. Life may not be easy but a lot dignified. The remaining needs to taken care for the lifelong, which is a lot easer task in comparison. Probably this group falls under the marginalized group in the society who can be called ďbeggarsĒ.

Yes. Local people do give direct charity to beggars. But watch them close you can see the level of discretion (instinctively) they exercise.

You may or may not give food or money or whatever sounds logical to a beggar at the street. Itís a personal choice except at the places where it is against the law. The ďDonít give anything to the beggar Ē axiom is equivalent to the ďGo SlowĒ sign at the street. It is not to show the angry at the beggar.
Why canít I go fast if I feel that there is no problem ahead? People who know the problem have formulated a simple logic for people to follow. We can follow it verbatim or apply logic.

Difficult to say what is right. One cures the symptom, the other cure the disease.
#33 Feb 13th, 2004, 19:55
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#33
When a begger approaches me, and I see him being fit i.e. not missing any legs and hands, I offer him a days work and that I would pay him for the work. I tell them that there is a place that would need cleaning , or dishes at a party that needs washing etc.

That usually works. 99% of them just ignore me and go away.

I give only to the very old people. And to kids who try to work i.e try to clean your bike light at the traffic lights etc. I stop by the side and get the kid to clean the whole bike (or atleast a significatn part of it) before tipping him. Hopefully that instills a feeling that begging never beats working for a living
#34 Feb 13th, 2004, 20:18
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#34
Beach, those are good, valid points that you have made above. I'm glad you're offering me an alternative way of looking at the issue.

Still a few questions remain. (Well, actually, a lot of questions remain, but let's deal with a few at a time). You said that:

Quote:
Originally posted by beach
But people who work on this subject know why. Many legislative types of council brought law against giving charity to beggars at streets. At many places begging is banned. People get fined for giving charity to beggars.

Where do the beggars go if no one gives charity? Will they all go hungry and die in mass? No. In all probability 90% of beggars will vanish into the society, still poor but way above than the beggar status.
People who work on the subject know why it's a good idea to have laws and bans that make giving illegal. I would love to know the reasoning behind these actions. I would love to know what types of assumptions concerning society, humanity, etc. they rest upon. Just because a law is passed, doesn't mean it works.

Will 90% of beggars integrate (I assume you refer to this by "vanish") into society if individual/organized charity is put to an end? I'm doubtful. I find it hard to believe that 90% of beggars are begging because it's a good, lucrative option. That they are freeloaders of society. Sure, there's probably a lot of those types around too, but 90%?

Well, beach, I respect your point of view as it seems you are actually more in touch with the issue in everyday life (I'm guessing here). I've only come in contact with begging as a visitor, an outsider.

Sometimes alleviating symptoms is needed, if the cure is hard to find.
#35 Feb 13th, 2004, 21:36
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It is not that those people (beggars) living in the city are born in a disadvantaged society. A lot migrated from villages to the cities in search of better fortunes. And obviously it is not for everyone. The bizarre thing is that villages may not be rich but have fewer people begging. I feel people who live in villages are more dignified! No one is coming to cities with the aspiration of becoming a beggar (just as in the case of a prostitute). But begging is the easy slot in which they can fall in. That is an easy option for the one with no skills and are old or sick or whatever. This happened in large scale.

Its not that the authorities are sitting at the side and watching. They have an option of regulating the migration into the cities and big towns, like in China. But due to political reasons (or policies for that matter) this was not imposed.

The only option left with government was to make it illegal (giving money) to discourage the option of begging. In the present setup that seem the only viable option. The trouble is to teach the people that they can do some work and live after years of begging. Given a free option to beg or work, most opt for beg! Bizarre but a fact.

The no lucrativeness of begging may force a lot those beg to take up the next alternative. This could be any kind of labor or that sort. Way better than begging.


It is a weird combination of migration, social setup, attitude, illiteracy, and unemployment created this mess.

Yes the law may not help in its right sense. But it sent a right signal to the people (who give money) about the seriousness.

It looks like the government is to work from the prevention (to a larger extend) and correction (to a lesser extend) strategy. It is not supporting the emotional strategy. It simply didnít work in India.

It is not that education is unaffordable to a child. In the government supported schools it is free or almost negligibly cheap. Huge sum of money is pumped into this. Many offer them free meals also as this was one reason for not going to school. But if a child is able to earn a good sum from begging from the street, the result is obvious. Schools cannot pay more than that and attract people to it. Many people in this category see the immediate benefit of begging than the distant benefit of learning. Many schools even though they can offer it free, they donít. A token amount is collected as fee. This seems working as people come there feel that they have paid for it and take it more seriously.
#36 Feb 14th, 2004, 01:16
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#36

begging again...

As I have only been in Mumbai a few days, I can only comment on what it is like here. I have not found what I seem to read here on other people's posts. Perhaps it is that I live in a city FULL of professional beggars (Florence, Italy) they have assigned corners and change shifts at appointed times, there are those with deformed or missing limbs, there are also children - now more than ever, I am not even refereing to the gypsy (Rom) situation. So, I am a bit accostomed to it. I think that one must tune out a lot, and that is not being cold-hearted or compassionate, otherwise you might want to rethink your visit. In addition, I do think that charity begins at home, in the sense that if we are OK with seeing homeless people on the streets - who are also exploiting / being axploited themslves of London, New York, Miami and Rome. I also think (I will have to see) than when you hit the golden triangle ciruit that it becomes unbearable. (Both in terms of the number and desparation). I don't have any answrs, I know that I can only do so much and that I do take somewhat of a fatalistic attitude towards it. (One of the few things I am a realist about) and that it is only something that can be changed over time, however education and children are two things that almost NO government, now as true in Western Europe as in the US is dedicated too in terms of lip service and putting up the MONEY! Sorry for the long-windedness as I am watching the people sleep on the street outside the ariconditioned lobby of the hotel...
#37 Sep 17th, 2004, 20:17
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#37
Quote:
Originally Posted by beach The only option left with government was to make it illegal (giving money) to discourage the option of begging.
Sorry, beach, after half a year I'm back to bother you again with some of my questions!


In which cities in India is begging illegal? Is the beggar, giver or both punished for breaking this law?

(I also wanted to bring this topic back to the boards because it's something everyone who is traveling to India has to deal with plus it's a relevant moral question).
#38 Sep 17th, 2004, 21:47
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#38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasko Sorry, beach, after half a year I'm back to bother you again with some of my questions!


In which cities in India is begging illegal? Is the beggar, giver or both punished for breaking this law?

(I also wanted to bring this topic back to the boards because it's something everyone who is traveling to India has to deal with plus it's a relevant moral question).
Well, I'm not Beach but most of his points ring true. Most states have a prohibition of Beggary Act. See this story

http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanhe...04/metro10.asp

which mostly echoes Beach.

Beach is correct(not as in, the debate ends there) in his suggestion of not giving. Vasko, having a conscience is one thing, taken for a ride based on your supposed reaction is another.

Apart from buying random people food, I don't think I've given cash in a long long time. Roaming Bangalore, this is what I've seen.

a) infants drugged by their parents & have a beautific smile on their faces lying on the cold platform while their parents begged. It takes a lot of effort to walk away.

b) People with sores & wound. One guy stepped up to me suddenly and showed me his pus-dripped completely stripped forearm. That was the first time I ever blanched white. The sheer suddenness catches you completely by surprise and you want to throw up. 5 minutes later, replaced by a cold calculating anger at the man who did this. You knew, without even thinking that the chap did not want money for treating THAT wound. I watched him do his act for the next half hour before different people.

c) groups of children begging. One grouped mobbed me because I was carrying a biscuit pack. Suddenly they all started running; apparently, a cop was on his beat. here's the thing. they started weaving through the M.G road traffic just when the light turned green. One kid, slipping between 2 cars got smack in front the car which was coming in the opposite direction. Thrown up like a rag doll and landed on the bonnet. Luckily alive. The screech of the car, silenced traffic for that ghostly instant. 2 of the kids near me, craned their heads to see who it was from the pavement and then screaming something ran, and ran and ran....away from the scene.

d) things copied from Delhi & Bombay like getting pregnant girls to beg. It hits you so hard that you can't breathe, exhale or even think. Oddly, I had never seen this in Bangalore and went completley bonkers until a few sharp words from a woman colleague of mine brought me back to earth.

There are no simple answers to these, at least I can't think of any. Rehabilatation is the slow but sure way of getting kids and people off the streets and any acts of kindness only perpetuates the misery for the giver and given.

cheers,
Digital Drifter
#39 Sep 17th, 2004, 22:42
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#39
I've made my feelings known on numerous occasions about this subject so I won't go into another rant.
Give if you want to give and if you don't that's your personal choice!
As for the charities well after what 40 years or so they haven't even scratched the surface, go figure.
Remember "there but for the grace of god go I!!"
#40 Sep 17th, 2004, 23:51
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#40
You'll find beggars everywhere in India, mostly in the north in touristic places.

Even if it seems you are indifferent to other people's suffering, try to ignore them.

Mumbai is not the worst place in India in this matter. Probably you'll find some lepers-beggars but ....

As Wonderwoman says, beggars are the same all over the world and most of them are of course organized in structurated gangs; but this happen too in my own city.

Jorge
#41 Sep 21st, 2004, 18:27
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#41
Iím not sure of the length and breadth of these legislations. But by and large it prohibits begging at places like the central areas of the cities and the likes. It may be different for different states too. But not sure any one is a kind of blanket ban.

There was an interesting story about the eunuchs doing begging at the archeological sites.

May be there will be another pressure group asking for recognising the beggarís rights. The same thing happened with the CSWs. May be we will see CBWs (Commercial Begging Workers) in the near future. Iím sure the government will be too happy to bring a new legislation like that. They can collect the license fee from the beggars and probably later can call bids for the rights of begging at lucrative sites.

Iím sure that there are any numbers of beggars earning much more money than me (someone who spend a decade plus in school and close to another decade in professional academics before earning his first rupee!!). There are any numbers of people attracted to it because it is lucrative compared to other types of labor. Itís very difficult to differentiate the needy in this scenario. I agree that begging is one of the most undignified things to do. Probably Iíll not understand their problems unless and until I reach that spectrum of the society.


Quote:
Their 'demand' - allow eunuchs to collect money from people, especially couples, from lovers' most favourite haunts like the Old Fort and Safdarjung Tomb.

"How else will they earn their livelihood? They should be allowed for two to three hours daily at the monuments," said Amin Khan, vice-chairman of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee's minority cell. The eunuchs were armed with Mr Khan's letter when they met ASI's Delhi head A.K. Sinha. Delhi's sprawling parks and mediaeval monuments are popular with the city's burgeoning population of young couples who do not have the budget to go to a movie or a restaurant every day.
link for the news at Hindustan Times
#42 Sep 23rd, 2004, 21:54
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#42
I sort of get a bit angry with the traditional Lonely Planet established line with beggars who make our dainty selves squeamish in India. I think it misses the point that although I am poor in the UK, the fact that I can travel as a prince in the Indian subcontinent is TOTALLY UNFAIR.
I was a year in India and I never got numb to beggars and I am very glad I didn't. It seemed like the more elightened yoga seeking westerners I met, the more rubbish I used to hear about poverty being these peoples "karma" and suchlike. How convenient.
Give, or don't give but I challenge you to look these PEOPLE in the face either way. I'm not saying I'm perfect, I often loose my temper with beggars.
Experiment with how to deal with this GAPPING INJUSTICE for yourself.
Experimenting with this led me to befriend a whole tribe on the paraganj who always remember me when I go back, often have breakfast with me, always know which shop my girlfriend is in when I can't find her and rarely ask me for money.I have no idea if they will be alive when I go back, I wish they would stop sniffing chloroform and have no idea what I could do to help them.
In Pushkar another group used to rush at me and climb up my legs and arms in a competition to see who could sit on my head first, and they never asked me for money either. Hang around and watch the streets for a bit, often street kids are having fun, but you will also often see a shady adult who has an abusive hold over one of these kids. What to do about it? I don't know.
Enjoy your holiday but don't leave your soul at home eh?
#43 Oct 18th, 2004, 12:36
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#43

how do YOU deal with begging?

i have traveled a lot in s e a and how i learned how to deal with begging was by singing the no no song yes the no no song
first you take a walt disney song (the 7 dwarf)
then you substitute the words with the no's no's .
it help me deal with hard situation
but i am not saiing that i do this all the time it all depend on the situation
what about you guys what are your method's for coping.
#44 Oct 18th, 2004, 12:45
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#44
Do a search, there is an interesting thread on Dealing with Beggars
#45 Oct 18th, 2004, 12:56
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#45
I think you mean this thread, lots of opinions here...
Dealing with beggars
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