According to data released in June 2016, one in every four beggars in India is a Muslim. This is a worrying sign, given that Muslims already have the lowest living standards due to educational deprivation and economic backwardness in the country. But beyond the raw numbers, it is also clear that a visit to the mosque, a dargah or a Muslim-dominated area is enough to substantiate this claim. People of all age groups are seen begging and the same people are seen in a particular spot regularly. This shows how begging has become an accepted profession, easy way of earning money with no need for hard work. Muslims generously donate when they visit mosques, dargahs and during Ramadan, but sadly many from the community misuse this charity and have made begging their profession. In some areas, begging is a well-organised business thriving near the mosques. Jokes about how the begging spots are passed on from parent to their children are quite common and reflect how lucrative the business can be for some. This makes it difficult to pass on the charity to the real needy people who cannot work due to ill health or other issues. Interestingly most beggars are women, well in their prime age and are capable of working, but opt the easy way out. Ask them about why they had to resort to begging, and while some ignore your questions, others even fight and start abusing you. Ironically the mosque committees have not been successful in curbing this problem.
Category: Letters to Editor