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Beggary: An Appeal for Social Change

by Humira Mirza
humaira mirza

I would like to respectfully draw the attention of the competent authorities and the general public to the issue of begging through this piece.

Begging itself is not inherently bad; however, the way it has manifested in society is highly detrimental. It’s disheartening that beggars are still a common sight on our streets and roads, even after many years of freedom. Compassion and assistance are natural human tendencies, and it’s impossible not to feel empathy for those in need. Beggars seem to be everywhere, at bus stops, train stations, market areas, and places of worship. Dealing with their constant presence is a major inconvenience. It’s challenging to avoid their approach, even when one tries to steer clear. Sometimes, the pressure from these beggars is so intense that one might end up giving money against their own wishes, just to escape the situation. Some beggars appear strong and capable, as if they’ve found begging to be an effortless way to earn money. These beggars persist until they receive alms, especially when they spot tourists. What impression does this leave on visitors about our nation?

Begging is among the oldest social issues, yet it’s also one of the most complex and demoralizing ones. Over time, it has evolved from a scattered phenomenon into a global problem. No culture is immune to this affliction. Sadly, instead of pursuing honest work, some people opt for begging to avoid labor, making it the most humiliating way to earn money. Begging involves seeking contributions in a supplicant manner. Beggars can be found in public places as well as in upscale settings. Begging, much like prostitution, is one of the oldest occupations known to humankind. In our society, where giving charity to the needy is considered a virtuous act, begging has been historically accepted and even encouraged. However, we’ve overlooked the fact that many beggars are professionals who choose to live idly off easy money. Beggars aren’t just the individuals we see on the streets in ragged clothes; they come in various forms. Often, a closer observation reveals that begging is more about an insatiable desire for more than just material wealth.

In Pakistan, the main castes (groups) involved in begging are the Kingary and Patto. People from the Patto Caste often resort to extreme measures to accumulate wealth. Some Patto women even resort to selling their children to begging organizations or the mafia, in addition to engaging in prostitution. It’s worth noting that in both the Patto and Kingary castes, the groom pays a nominal sum for his bride. Initially, begging was associated with individuals who had physical limitations or genuinely couldn’t support their families. However, with time, an entire underground network emerged where those with more power would hire others to beg on their behalf.

In brief, beggary is a plague that must be eradicated at all costs. Being impoverished isn’t a crime, but resorting to illegal means instead of honest labor is a serious offense. Eliminating this curse could also address many other issues stemming from it, which is crucial for our society’s progress. Conventional measures like arrests and temporary bans have failed to eliminate this problem. In the modern era, immediate and sustainable actions are required to combat beggary, which has turned into a criminal enterprise. First, comprehensive data about beggars must be collected; NGOs and the government must collaborate on surveys. Only after this information becomes public can efforts be directed towards rehabilitating and employing beggars, while also identifying the real criminals behind this activity. The media also needs to play its role in raising awareness and discouraging begging to break the criminal cycle. Additionally, the government should impose strict penalties and completely discourage giving money to beggars, opting instead to provide them with essentials like food, clothing, and employment opportunities. Moreover, the current Zakat and Alms systems should be revitalized in their original form to genuinely uplift deserving members of society.

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Sikandar August 22, 2023 - 3:18 pm


Mirza August 22, 2023 - 3:35 pm

Good job

Waseem Ghaffar August 23, 2023 - 6:53 am

Well, thanks for highlighting this issue as it has increased the criminal activities by Juveniles and heinous or major crimes are being conducted by these beggar groups. Government should take prior notice and law enforcement activities should be enhanced.


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