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The Issue of Child Begging and Beggars in India

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Begging is defined in Indian law as soliciting or receiving alms in public place by exposing wounds, injury, deformity or disease whether of himself or of any person or animal. It is the practice of imploring others to grant a favour, often a gift of money, with little or no expectation of reciprocation. Despite India’s rapid economic growth in recent years poverty and begging in India are still big problems. The poverty is real and people beg because they do not have any alternative. Elderly, crippled, patients, single mothers and children fall in this category. However, begging is quite often carried out in organized gangs. It is most prevalent at tourist places. This includes important monuments, railway stations, religious and spiritual sites, shopping areas and traffic intersections. The beggars are also often quite persistent. People are often approached by a child or woman with a baby for credibility. The baby is often rented for begging. Beggars can be very professional. They guard and fight over territories. Some beggars also use religion as for common people a beggar seeking alms is an opportunity to earn God’s blessings. Beggars carry photographs of various deities while asking for alms. Others promise to organize a prayer from the money collected. The transvestites apply fashionable cosmetics, wear female clothes, acquire artificial feminine postures and dance.

Despite child begging is prohibited by law in India but surprisingly still are country is full of beggars whom we meet, wherever we go we find beggars in street, outside railway station, at bus stands, outside temple and other religious places. These beggars may be mostly seen in groups sometime individual male, women and children are also seen as begging and some beggars are blind and suffering from other disabilities.

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Begging is defined in Indian law as soliciting or receiving alms in public place by exposing wounds, injury, deformity or disease whether of himself or of any person or animal. It is the practice of imploring others to grant a favour, often a gift of money, with little or no expectation of reciprocation. Despite India’s rapid economic growth in recent years poverty and begging in India are still big problems. The poverty is real and people beg because they do not have any alternative. Elderly, crippled, patients, single mothers and children fall in this category. However, begging is quite often carried out in organized gangs. It is most prevalent at tourist places. This includes important monuments, railway stations, religious and spiritual sites, shopping areas and traffic intersections. The beggars are also often quite persistent. People are often approached by a child or woman with a baby for credibility. The baby is often rented for begging. Beggars can be very professional. They guard and fight over territories. Some beggars also use religion as for common people a beggar seeking alms is an opportunity to earn God’s blessings. Beggars carry photographs of various deities while asking for alms. Others promise to organize a prayer from the money collected. The transvestites apply fashionable cosmetics, wear female clothes, acquire artificial feminine postures and dance.

Despite child begging is prohibited by law in India but surprisingly still are country is full of beggars whom we meet, wherever we go we find beggars in street, outside railway station, at bus stands, outside temple and other religious places. These beggars may be mostly seen in groups sometime individual male, women and children are also seen as begging and some beggars are blind and suffering from other disabilities.

Maimed child beggars are terrified of speaking out. They say their limbs just disappeared or were damaged in an accident. The beggar mafias make more than million a year, and this kind of money and power ensures that complaints to the police don’t get anywhere as gang masters bribe their way to immunity

However, many children beg because their parents and guardians send them out to beg, or simply because they do not or cannot feed them such as single homeless mothers, parents addicted to substances or very ill or disabled or poor, or when children have no responsible adult protection. Some guardians take away all the money in exchange of food. Child beggars spent a lot of time on streets which are cruel and hazardous.

These children face poverty, loneliness, sexual and physical abuse. They lack love, affection and security and some die while some others grow up to be social misfits and criminals. Those who come in contact with caring people or NGO’s respond positively to the empathy.

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