Travelling regularly in trains, I often encounter beggars of both genders walking the aisle and stretching out their hands. The stretched hands belong to different age-groups. I don't like giving alms for various reasons which I will shortly discuss. Today when an old man stretched out his alms, I looked at him and nodded a 'no,' indicating that I will not give him anything. He immediately started mumbling something in an angry tone. It seemed that he was abusing me for not giving him anything.
Personally, I feel that begging will not solve the bigger problem. And another reason that I refuse money is that there are many beggars who fill the trains and streets of Chennai. One can see different groups of people: blind, lame, with children, singers, old people, etc. I think that by dispensing a few coins when hands are stretched out will not yield anything. Sometimes I throw philosophies outside the window and don't mind giving coins. But I am always confused by this persistent problem.
There are some beggars who tag at clothing and follow the person for a distance. Many individuals give a few coins just to get rid of the persistent member. Another instance is that of beggars hurling insults if you refuse them alms.
In India, the problem of beggars is increasing by the day and there seems no solution either by the state or central government. It is sad. I would love to contribute something where the problem is solved at the level of the root.
There have been times when I have seen children begging and when I offered to buy them food, they bluntly refused. The wanted money instead. There have been reports that there are syndicates which employ people to beg and collect money. The point of begging as an employment is also somewhere at the back of my mind.
When I was in UK, I was happy to see that there were hardly any beggars who hound you on the streets. If so, what is the problem in India? Maybe the alarming rate of increase in population or are people opting the easy way out.
I am still wondering about the old man who mumbled abuses at me. Why does he beg?
What do you think people should do when accosted by beggars?