22. March 2014 – 12:48
They are everywhere: on trains, on the streets, at bus stops, in shopping areas, near temples and tourist attractions and it is very difficult to escape them. Whether old, young, blind, crippled, young mother or just very poor: beggars in India appear in every form. For some, the begging is a necessary evil, for others it is simply a way to make good money quickly. Thus one also encounters the so-called hijras, transvestites expelled by society. They “earn” their money by making men in particular uncomfortable, losing a few lewd comments and terrifying them from wishing them bad. Then there are the more or less real sadus and babas, holy men who roam the area alone without possessions and are dependent on donations.
Then there are the beggar mafias. They buy or steal impoverished children from their families, mutilate them and teach them a few songs or juggling skills before sending them to the streets to beg. At the end of the day, all proceeds are collected.
Especially as a foreign tourist you are a strong magnet that attracts them all. Often the situations can become unpleasant and you feel distressed.
I myself never give anything to children. Often they are sent by their parents or the mafia and I do not want to continue to support the system by giving money. Instead, they should go to school. Every now and then, however, I give something to eat. The situation is similar for young mothers with their young babies. Of course, there is a great deal of pity here, but this is precisely why they are being sent to the streets by their husbends.
Even to the many so-called holy men, I usually don’t give anything, especially the once, which are only in tourist places.
The situation is different for disabled and elderly people. They often have no choice but to survive by begging. Especially on trains you meet many of them. Here it is advisable to always have a little small money with you. That’s what the Indians themselves do. About 2 to 5 rupees the beggars are already very grateful. They also like to take food, as opposed to the “wrong” beggars.
In tourist areas, children are used asking for sweets, pens or 10 rupees as soon as a foreigner comes by.
This too is often unpleasant, but was developed by us tourists. Here it is up to everyone to give something (but no money) or not.
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