The car stopped at the red light. All of a sudden, two urchins appeared out of nowhere and started showing some completely mind-numbing but dangerous acts. My mouth was still hanging open in amazement when they abruptly stopped and started tapping on our window and begging for money. My friend, who was watching all this alongwith me, felt the utmost pity for them. Her heart melted and she started searching for some coins to give to the poor souls. And this is where I stepped in and stopped her. Yes, you read it right! I stopped her from giving alms to those child beggars and by doing so, I actually did the poor children a huge favour.
Call me stone-hearted, insensitive or what you will. But the fact of the matter is that we would actually be doing the right thing if we completely refuse to give even a single penny to any beggar we see, however pitiable or helpless he or she might look. And no, I’m not insane! You might be wondering what made me say all the above without so much as a morsel of remorse. Then I would suggest you read the following argument and then decide on the state of my sanity.
Fine. You felt pity for that urchin. You took out a two rupee coin and gave it to him. Woah! You just did a great job. Congratulations! Ten more people did the same thing and patted themselves for having done a good deed. The same thing repeats itself a hundred times everyday on the same red light. The street urchin makes a decent amount of money this way and continues to beg everyday. Now you see? Instead of helping the poor soul, you actually buried him deeper in the pit of poverty! Can you still question my decision of not giving alms to that beggar?
If you seriously feel sad for the poor child, if you really want to do something concrete to improve his state , then, for once, stop giving him that two rupee coin! Dropping that coin in his hands serves no other purpose than satisfying your ego and lulling you into a false sense of satisfaction. Help a child to learn, finance a child’s education for a year, teach your maid’s children, adopt a street child, help out and donate to orphanages. If you really want to help these deprived souls, then take these solid steps. Only then can we even remotely think of eradicating, or atleast lessening, poverty.
So, the next time your heart thaws on seeing such a beggar, remember that you are actually helping him out by not giving him anything. Because those coins will do more harm than good.
But that doesn’t mean I’m asking you to be completely ignorant. On the contrary, all I’m asking from you is to stand up and fight poverty by discouraging begging and instead doing something greater for their good.
Do you still question my sanity?