FARHAD AHMAD PIR
Once it was a blessing to serve the needy. Alms giving is a duty prescribed for the individual as a kind of worship. Charity makes us feel good and has positive effect on our lives. It was the usual practice in our homes to serve the hungry man or the man in need of food. People in Kashmir particularly consider hungry men as guests from God. It is taken as a Godly service. To serve the hungry man is a way to make God happy and as an atonement of past sins. This selfless practice of offering food did not keep a single poverty stricken hungry till he went back to his shack. This process continued to remain successful due to finite number of needy people. In the present condition, however, the practice of feeding the needy is becoming a burden for the people who want to extend any kind of help for the destitute people. It is because of the bulk of people are getting involved in this easy way of making livelihood and preventing themselves from any kind of hard mode of living.
These days’ beggars are more like government employees; their day begins in the early morning up to 4 pm. The so called beggars keep updating themselves with the current political conditions, strikes and holidays. After getting proper information about the situations in the valley, only then they come out of their respective houses to go for work into different places. They do not want to spoil their day and get caught in the strikes.
The profession of begging also needs a tricky mind. These beggars often change their routes on regular basis, in order not to become a talk in the places which they have already visited. The alteration in the places keeps their dignity maintained in the places where they surprisingly make presence after months. They know their regular visits must make the people furious and objection can be lodged for this regular behavior. But , the changing of places will not help these days because abundant indolent people are now entering into this easy source of earning. From the early morning a knock on the main gates could be heard with a slogan, “For God’s sake give something; in return, God will shower his blessings upon you.” It is absolute that to give alms is a good deed and its fruit will be surely rewarded. It is mentioned in the Quran, whoever will ask alms for God’s sake, we should not let that person empty handed. Importantly saying, it is for those who are not able to work. The belief system for this grand act of giving alms is diminished because of the entry of false beggars. A new thinking has evolved in our present generation that anybody who extends his hand for asking help is tagged as they have made it a profession. The false entry of people into this legitimate act has put a bad notion upon the real beggars. It is difficult to find out the distinction between the real and fake beggars and even the deserved who are involved in this practice have become badly notorious for this easy way of living.
Nobody has given a serious thought to this severe problem. This has become a challenging issue for all the responsible citizens of our state. There are certain parameters through which we can reduce it to some extent and alms giving could reach only to a real needy. In order to eradicate mendicancy, we can start an organization at each mohalla level which would reach out to the needy. Once the needy are identified, their rehabilitation could be the concern of that particular community which would look after their basic amenities.
Through this process , they have no need to go outside their places for any kind of help and will not be degraded from the eyes of outside givers. Even the state administration could play a vital role in overcoming the dreadful habit of the false beggars. They can mould this man force by engaging them in some work and teach them some means of livelihood. By getting excellence over channelizing the falsely destitute, the really deprived whose right has been snatched by these fake beggars would get their mode of living back and also compassion could be revived in the people for the real needy.
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