Thursday, March 13
How the beggar economy promotes growth
Madan Sabnavis, Rediff.com, March 13, 2003
You come out of a restaurant and there is a miserable-looking girl who asks for money. You feel guilty about having just had a good time inside and do not mind passing on some coins. You emerge from a place of worship and in the name of the Lord give alms to the beggar.
After praying to the Almighty you cannot possibly refuse a beggar considering that your chauffeur has just opened the door of your car. You are on the train and a sweet-looking four-year-old carrying an infant comes up to you.
Out of pity you part with a few coins. Or more likely, you are at the crossroads and the eunuch scares the daylights out of you and with fear and revulsion you hand over Rs 5 and seventy five paise (to the uninitiated this is the sum they typically demand which is taken also from an old Hindi film song).
This is the world of beggars which is not just about misery and appalling conditions. It is an economy in itself. Just read on to digest what this means. [...]