- The sight of a person reduced to begging is sad.
- Unfortunately many take advantage of human sympathy and begin preference to working.
- How is one to distinguish between cases of deserving necessity and “professional” beggars?
Only judgment can tell and that may ert. The government should tackel the problem vigorously. The visitor to our country will not take long to comment on the numbers of beggars who throng the streets of the town, or press into one’s courtyard with urgent appeals of charity. Many of them are sad spectacles, suffering from loss of a limb, or some horrible disease or injury. Such person’s one feels, cannot possibly work, and therefore it is a deserving act to give a little help. Give to a beggar, and tomorrow there will be ten at your door. Often it is a highly organised society, in which they pass information of generous givers to each other. The man who has lost a limb in an accident is often looked on as lucky, for he now has a qualification that will earn him quite a good livelihood. In fact we have even of persons inflicting injuries on children, causing deformities which will awaken sympathy and so make them able to live by begging.
People are charitably inclined in Pakistan, and the poorest have usually something to spare for those poorer. This kindness of heart is exploited, taken advantage of by the unscrupulous and then people go to the other extreme, and refuse to give to any beggar. In this way, some temporary and genuine case of hardship may be refused. As a rule, the beggars who are most pressing, those who are foremost in assailing one at a shop-door and who simply will not take “No!” for an answer, are the professional and undeserving type. The man compelled to beg by force temporary need is usually timid, shy and shame-faced in his request. To discriminate between true need and impudent beggary is a test of one’s judgment.
The professional beggars are a thoroughly undesirable class, and should not be encouraged. The faqirs could never be mistaken for true holy men. The true religious fajir will be the last man in the world to beg. The diseases which those people spread among the people are numerous. Many of them are thieves and dacoits. There is. a strong case for government action. Those men should be rounded up and each case investigated on its merits. The bold and impudent Rascals who are taking advantage of the kind hearts of the people should be sent into labour camps. The few cases of genuine hardship, who are capable of being helped into a useful place in society, should be given necessary assistance. Above all, there should be sever penalties for those who make use of very young children to awaken sympathy. We have seen a child of two years kept all day on a filthy mat beside an aged beggar, but the child has been hired for the day from its parents. We have known boys and girls of under ten strictly trained in all devices of the professional beggar. Keep in mind that genuine cases are comparatively few, and give nothing unless you are able to investigate and satisfy yourself.