• ~ Mark Twain

    ~ Mark Twain

    "Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it."
  • Photo Courtesy - The Hindu
    Photo Courtesy - The Hindu

    A beggar and the act of governance

    Everytime I wait for a bus back home, I always have some time to while away before the bus starts. That’s needless information!

    I sit by the window and think to myself, it is still the same. The begging scene of the country is still the same as is the way of celebrations of birthdays by making sweets. Statistics do not interest me. I believe what I see with my own eyes. For the past all years, I have seen beggars climbing in the buses taking advantage of the delay and beg for whatever change one may be able to reach out from one’s pockets.

    As I sit by the window, this man steps in. His face is wrinkled in designs, different designs of time. His face didn’t match that of a seasoned beggar. You can make out by their professionalism in executing the task. This one, he looked humiliated by the act of begging. A tattered splint wrapping around his left forearm and a bright orange bag of Grofer’s that looked somewhat heavy, possibly carrying all the heavy food items he had to beg for.

    As he spread his hands, some turned their faces this way and that, some dug their eyes deep into their mobiles and as he reached me, I with a show of hand, declined him begging from me. Without insisting he passed and I turned my face to the window with a heavy heart and then looked around to see him, with eyes fixed to the floor, going seat to seat without saying a word. I felt I had wronged him. I felt responsible for not helping someone in need. I felt angry.

    Nobody can eradicate a problem so big in a day, a month or maybe even a year of good governance, but, the least one can do is take an initiative. I am sure I have some smart minds reading this and murmuring to themselves, you can’t expect the government to do everything! Yes I know that. But, what exactly is it doing. 

    I would agree if I was told they can’t keep my street clean, I have to step up for that, or regulate traffic all the time, I have to follow rules for that etc, etc.

    But how can it not be held responsible for an absolutely able person resorting to begging? Why should I not see it as a failure? Circumstances and personal choices cannot be monitored by the government, but the begging mafia can be traced. How is it that nobody talks about it? It was a special day with the prime minister being briefed about the special battles of war and all the news channels went yackety yacking about it. So many things happen in short spans of time and such oceans of politics surround everything. Unfortunately, issues that are slowly becoming a threat are losing attention while it should be vice versa.

    There are so many things that need fixing that not everything can be started all at once. Agreed. But, then there is something like delegation. Birthdays are no big deals for some and for some they are new beginnings, a day of resolutions much like the New Year’s Day; why then is vision not being used to look out for spaces where change is required?  

    I don’t want to feel sorry for a beggar when I give him nothing and I don’t want encourage begging by giving cash or kind to a beggar. I don’t want to be in constant fear of running over a tiny begging child while driving because no policing profile takes care of that child. I don’t want to see people, able or disabled or the disabled able to resort to begging.

    So what can I do?

    Who is supposed to?

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