Thursday, 16 February 2012

Beggars & Alms

While growing up as a child I have always adored and revered souls who stretch their arms to drop few coins in the hands of a street destitute. I have always found it very relieving and encouraging to see that there are people who genuinely believe in donating their money to the apparently needy ones. So when I began possessing money (none of which i had earned) I did not waste the opportunity in doing what I have admired about others. I started giving alms too. I have always satiated my 'Samaritan' urges each time i gave away something in charity, especially to destitute children and women. 

It was therefore disturbing to be informed that beggars whom I hitherto considered destitute and helpless, own considerable wealth. They seemed to have amassed wealth by means of uninterrupted begging at opportune places. There was this clandestine media effort to expose "rich beggars" and so was the show titled. After the title of the program flashed in my TV set, I remember explaining my younger sibling the meaning of an oxymoron. Be that as it may. It almost felt like a pang of betrayal and when the piece of news was shoved at me. Beggars have associations, meetings, plans, area / profit sharing schemes. They have bank accounts too. At the end of the telecast I could not help but feel that I have been this ignorant novice in a business plan. 

My heart goes out for daily labourers who earn what they toil for. I am furious because of my misplaced empathy. I have no intention of causing prejudice against all who are impoverished and beg to live. But I am definitely improving my perception about the real & the apparent. I have not given up on my efforts to do charity, I cannot. Maybe it is because of an inherent belief that the only difference between me and the poor and penniless is the will of the Lord Almighty. I find that to be reason enough for my not being indifferent to the poor's miseries. I wish I could get all those pennies and monies I gave away to the rich beggars and give 'em all away to poor beggars.


  1. Recognizing a real beggar is a challeng today; Agree with you, beautifully written .

  2. I agree with sushma.. recognising a real one is so difficult.. and I reuse to give them money.. I always hand over food ot a biscuit packet to them.

    Glad to have found you via Indiblogger. Your newest follower and a regular visitor now.

    1. I agree with both of you Sushma & Kajal.

      Nice idea Kajal. I'll keep that in mind.

      I'm glad that you found my blog worth following. Good to have you on board. Will try to keep avid writers like both of you interested. Do read my other posts and keep me reviewed.

      Triple Cheers


  3. When my wife and I give alms, it is usually to very old people and people who are obviously physically handicapped. Even if they are rich beggars, they are probably in need of it. However, you have to be careful about beggars who are "physically handicapped" While riding a train, I saw one man climb aboard (walking up several steps) at a strain station. The next time that I saw him, he was crawling along the floor as if he could not walk!
    I also give alms to people who have earned it. During trhe tourist season around Sudder Street in Kolkata, there is a travelling troupe(s) who have a small child doing several high-wire tricks. Because it is very entertaining, I give some money to them.

  4. Mr Fernandez, thank You for reading my post and voting for it. I assume from your vote that you subscribe to most parts of what I've depicted. But then it is just an assumption. I understand and accept your take on giving alms to 'rich beggars'. In fact I believe that's quite a fine suggestion. About handicapped destitutes, I'll keep your observations in mind.

    Thanx once again.

  5. I go and spend some time at an orphanage or an old age home, taught for a quite a while at an ngo. That way I am sure that am contributing something substantial to those in need and doing that without any fear of being cheated. If a child can read a signpost after spending sometime with me, I consider myself blessed. Wonderful post.

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  7. It is a very kind heart that hands over pocket money at such a young age and I can imagine your disappointment at discovering your altruism was being taken advantage of. Donating time and effort, say one or two hours a week (like Rohu) to one favourite cause is altruism with a difference - very rewarding too.