Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Is beggary a menace to be curtailed?

No.I don't think so.It is the only institution in the unorganized and poor countries esp muslim societies,which links the needy with the well-to-do.If a person is hungry or needs help, all he has to do is to come out of home and ask from the ones who can help.What is wrong with it ,which is called beggary.Anti-beggary baggage in our countries has come from the west , although there Christianity encourages charity and alms giving.In most poor muslim countries ,unemployment is endemic and earnings are barely enough.Governments are poor and resoureceless, partly due to corruption and partly due to poor taxation systems.Hence, no social security systems.Only lately direct payment programmes like Benazir Income Support Programme has been launched .Obviously the outreach and effectiveness would not meet the demand.

Most Western countries have some kind of social security and reasonable job opportunities for all,men,women,boys,girls and even old and handicapped.Many otherwise healthy and active workers slide into old age without family support and have to ultimately come out in the open and beg.The stigma from begging should be reduced if not curtailed altogether.There used to be thriving Langars in older tomes which are no more.Only Shahbaz Sharif's Sasta Tandoor_much reviled and criticized by Salman Taseer.

Those who think begging does not involve any effort or labour,should try it some day or atleast imagine doing it. Coming out on the road, with a suitable attire and roaming around,looking for possible alms-givers and applying all kind of creativity in getting a dime or so involves a lot of effort.They are a kind of financial worker,just below the rank of a teller in a regular bank.And I am not joking at all.

There is a law against beggary which used to be implemented toughly in Ayub Khan's reign.Mercily as with every other law this law is scantily implemented.Infact the law is only abused by Police in extracting bribe and sexual services.The Law on beggary must be suitably ammended ,if not done away altogether.Only mafiosi and forcing beggary on the part of non-relatives for commercial purposes should be banned.

There are people who are in perpetual need of help.The term professional beggary is out of context.Islam permits alms and begging and encourages well to do to give alms and treat the beggar with respect and dignity.There should not be any taboo,social or legal,against begging or even beggary.In the given circumstances,this is the only recourse for the helpless people.Recently many needy people have committed suicide due to their poor financial circumstances.The taboo on begging must go.People are committing suicide but donot prefer to come out on the roads and ask for some help which is the most ready and direct solution to their needs. And now there is additional scourge of the Floods.It is not ideal but still better than suffering hunger and commit suicide.

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