In a perverted way there is more open and fierce competition on the street than in offices that are occupied by babus running fiefdoms of inefficiency and corruption
Non-State beggars to have field day on EID
Srinagar: Unsatisfied with Ramadan earnings, the non-State beggars are all set to have a field day on Eid-ul-Fitr. “Eid al-Fitr is a three-day celebration and we are here to stay,” a beggar from Rajasthan said. The lucrative profession is giving these beggars more returns than the skilled laborers who come from outside states.
Reason, they say, is locals’ ‘power to donate’. “People give us money. Unlike other States, people here are generous,” was a common voice from a group of non-local beggars from Haryana, which consists mostly women and toddlers.
But what is the total number of non-state and local beggars who have been begging these days and what has been their earning power during past month may be a mystery, but here is what an independent researcher has to offer.
“Currently there are 4500 local and non-local beggars in and around city centre alone. Their average earning each day is 300 rupees. While the total beggar industry is 3.5 crore monthly,” says a social activist Abdul Qayoom Shah, who has done a detailed study on the professional beggars.
Shah said during Ramzan, Sadakat-ul-fitr, which is obligatory for every Muslim to pay before Eid prayers, is the key reason why a large chunk of non-local beggars are here.
“They virtually leave no stone unturned and reach almost every Masjid let alone places where large eid congregations are held,” he says. Shah, however, says that it would be better if government could come up with the actual figures of local and non-State beggars. “That would actually clear how much they earn a day. And government can easily do it,” he says.
Meanwhile, the emergence of non-State beggars has influenced the income of local beggars, who now are looking forward towards the next two days. Salam Ganaie, a local professional beggar from Sopore, is hopeful that on Eid he would earn good bucks. He also accepts that the local beggars lack begging skills when compared to non-locals “who even drag clients by their clothes when needed.”
Ganaie, who keeps himself near the shrine of Hazrat Dastgeer Sahib (RA) at Saria Bala, said, “There is a good competition from the large number of non-local beggars in Srinagar.” He said that there is a stiff competition between local and non-local beggars owing to which, “Our income has gone down considerably.”