Amar Bail

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Obligation or Curse?

Posted by Haris Gulzar on September 19, 2009

A couple of days back when I was commuting from my hostel to the campus through a public bus, a girl of maximum 7 or 8 years of age climbed the bus from the males side, walked up to the front and loudly started repeating what she had rote learnt and what she probably practiced several times in many other buses before entering this bus. It was about 1:30 pm and she was bare footed in the scorching heat of Karachi. She was a beggar, as you might have already figured out.

The words she was speaking were the same we hear almost everyday. Begging in the name of Allah, in the name of your parents, praying for the success of your business, for you to get long life etc, prompting you to put your hands in your pocket and take out a colored note, or at least some coins, which many people did as well. Now the point of this post is not to motivate or de-motivate these beggars, it is to discuss this practice. It is to discuss if helping these beggars is even right or not.

A young girl, 7 or 8 years of age who deserves to be bought good dresses, to play with girls of her own age, to go to school with a bag hanging on her shoulders and to show off her new shoes to her peers, was rather engaging herself in going bus to bus bare footed, asking people for some help. In fact, she might have started this activity when she wasn’t even old enough to realize what she was doing. The way she fluently started and spoke the words, it was apparent she had rote learnt them and she knew the sequence of each and every sentence as well. She was well trained and practiced for this, and there was definitely someone making sure she does it all fine. Isn’t it an alarm for us all? Not the fact that the number of beggars are increasing but the fact that the children, who deserve to be with their parents at this age, are being sent to these public buses to beg. And the fact that by giving them what they ask for, we promote this activity and other children of this age group to engage themselves in similar activities God-Forbid (That’s what I think at least).

I have always believed in the quotation that goes like “Give someone a fish and relieve their hunger for a day, teach someone how to fish and you feed them for a lifetime”. Given this quotation and the fact that the number of beggars are increasing, and that by helping these beggars and giving them money we promote this activity, And given also the situation that a young girl who doesn’t even have shoes to wear in such bad heat, has to travel throughout the city not even knowing if she’d be able to get back home soon enough or not, a girl left all alone in this huge and unfair world, a girl who might have a very bad situation at her home, siblings dying for food, parents not being able to take care of their children because of poverty, should these beggars be helped? Also, should we de-motivate this act of begging publicly or should we just stay quiet and let happen whatever happens?

8 Responses to “Obligation or Curse?”

  1. thoughtful haris….
    no doubt number of beggers are increasing day by day and no body knows who really deserves the charity cause theri are number of professionals….
    We need to badly focus on that dilemma and shouldn’t encourage begging….but little kids without sweater in extreme cold or without shoes in extreme heat …. I don’t know how they tolerate the burden of tourchring weather…. 😦

  2. […] This cup of tea was served by: Amar Bail […]

  3. siras said

    Help them or not, definitely a dilemma. Turning away someone in need can’t be a good act, yet how do you know if they are really in need or not, and also how do you know when not to help so that we can discourage the act of begging.

    I guess the best way would be to help them in other ways, maybe collecting a few poor kids and giving them an education and some food, rather than money?!

  4. i personally blv that most of the peoply give charity just in order to satisfy their guilty souls.they dont even think that to whome they are giving money and could be possible effects of this so called help.

  5. Ali said

    we dont have to go deeply in this discussion of whether it is right or wrong, but the intention counts….

    we should help them in either monitory terms or in social terms….

  6. @CU: You’re right. its sad but true that there are many professionals amongst all the beggars as well. And I agree that it really moves you when you see these children without proper cover in cold weather or in heat. I have literally seen children begging while shivering in extreme cold weather. It moves you for sure…

    @Siras: Exactly. And I guess if we promote giving education and food to children beggars, it will automatically demotivate the act of begging, alongside helping these children.

    @Heavenly Muse: That might be the case but not always I think. There are definitely people who want to help others with good intentions, but the only problem is the after affects of this help… And Welcome to Amar Bail. I hope you do keep visiting.

    @Ali: There is no question about the intention, the only problem is the after affects of this good intention. There are definitely other modes through which the help can be carried out, like Siras said above, giving education and food to these children. And Welcome to Amar Bail. I hope you have a good time reading the posts here.

  7. Honestly, I don’t know. Every time I see a kid or woman or a disabled begging, I can’t stop myself from giving money :S

  8. @Closed Eyes: Your intention is definitely good Insha-Allah, and may you be rewarded for your good deeds. But the only concern it raises is the after affects, as discussed above. Shouldn’t we make sure if the person is really deserving or not, and if he/she is, instead of handing over the money, we should give them something that lasts more.

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