Evolution! what is evolution? In simple words, it is a process through which an organism evolves from a weaker state to a more productive state where it has better chances of survival. The evolved state of this organism is more suited to survive in its current environment. If we correlate this theory of evolution to the state of today’s beggars, it syncs well quite well with it. The new evolved style of begging reaps more dividends for beggars than their earlier, more challenging, style where they had to act out their sad story in front of the people. Long gone are those days. They are no longer beggars now. Well, at least technically they are not.
They have left beggary and are now in the sales business. You could see them selling different kinds of chewing gums, balloons, or even different Islamic books. Also, there are those who are ever ready to shine your shoes even if you don’t want to. They would stick with you and literally beg you to buy those stuff from them. Their natural selling skills are awesome; you have to at least give this to them. They work hard for it and we know well that there is no shame in hard work, is there? At least they are not begging, one might think. Why not encourage them by giving them some money? If you have helped them out having this passion in your heart, you are a good person indeed. However unfortunately, you are just another person who have fallen for these “SALESPERSON” beggers’ evolved style of begging.
Vast majority of these beggars are children. You could even see them selling chewing gums at nights. Almost all of them have a story with a more or less same plot. Their fathers are usually ill and or drug addicts. Their appalling economic condition force them to sell gum to support their families. Quite touching! People easily get ready to give money to these children and the rationale behind this charity is a noble one, to help them out. No doubt Pakistani nation is known for its charitable nature, but sadly the negative impact of this charity is that this money serves, in psychological terminology, as a positive reinforcement and encourage these children to stay in this dirty business.
In addition to these children, there are those English speaking modern beggars. This category of beggars is the most interesting one. They will suddenly approach you and start speaking to you in English. The English language is used to make you believe that they are actually not beggars. It implies somehow, that if you can speak English, you can’t be a beggar! They usually have some small little books that they purport to be selling. The price that they demand for those books is, at times, a thousand times more than their actual price. Upon inquiring that why the price is so high, they start their sad stories and request you that it would be considered a great help if you buy a book.
The interesting thing is that no one of these “evolved beggars” claim or accept to be a beggar. Some of them even get offended if you call them a beggar. According to them, they are simply salespersons, supporting their family by earning through a Halal way. Technically they are right, but then if you take out a 10 rupee note and give it to them, they would skedaddle at once without asking you which gum you wanted. They are already busy preying on a new “potential customer”.
The problem is that these beggars are earning too much in comparison to an ordinary laborer. This is a big reason which makes it almost impossible for them to leave this lucrative business. Their evolved style of beggary has more than doubled their earnings. Also, our people are always looking for a deserving person to give out their charity or “Sadaqa” to, and who else could be more deserving than a hard working man/child selling gums?
To control this ever increasing beggary and inhibit it from evolving any further, the government must exercise its full power and put a complete ban on beggary in all its forms. Though according to law beggary is punishable by up to three years in jail, convictions are rare in this regard. Police and other law enforcing agencies seem to have turned a blind eye towards this important social problem. The result of this negligence is that we see an ever growing marathon of beggars throughout the country.
At least as a first step the government should strictly enforce the ban on child beggary. There should not be just a ban on it but the government should also build some special facilities for these children where they could be given formal education. To put it in simple words, these children must be taken under state’s protection until they complete their education. After that, sufficient jobs should be created for them so that they could be of real help to their families. This way, they would not only become better citizens but also help improve the economy of the country.