Causes of Beggary

January 10, 2007 2:08am CST
It is difficult to give particular cause or set of causes to the institution of beggary, as is the case with a criminal. A set of causes such as physical inability, mental derangement, personal or social maladjustment, poverty, custom of alms giving, unemployment, disruption of joint family, whether singly or in combination may produce a situation which may result in beggary. Though the underlying cause in each case is the poverty of the family or lack of employment when the family is not in a position to support, the handicapped, but at the same time, absence of security measures from the society forces them to beg. a) Economic causes: The three main economic causes are poverty, loss of employment or under-employment and lucrative business. (i) Poverty: One of the main factors which forces people to take to beggary is destitution. Having no sufficient means to support themselves or their families, many persons resort to begging. (ii) Loss of employment and Under-employment: But poverty alone cannot be held responsible because all those who live on poverty line do not take to beggary. A man begs not only when he is poor but also when he is unemployed or under-employed. (iii) Lucrative Business: Owing to easy gains and sufficient income from begging many people make it a profession instead of doing honest labour. Not only that, many make it a business and exploit others by investing some amount in this business. There are groups operating in big cities, which force many children to this profession. b) Social causes: Among the social causes are family disorganization, lack of parental control, community disorganization, break up of joint family system and social custom. (i) Family Disorganization: Family is an integral part of our social relationship, which influences our patterns of behaviour and activities. Any disturbance in our home condition especially in the case of a poor one leads to a breakdown of family, which in return gives rise to beggary. (ii) Lack of Parental Control: In the industrial centres parents do not have the required control over their children, where often the mothers also go to factories for work. The result is that children’s energies may turn to any direction. If they fall into bad company, they may develop wanderlust, which may lead to beggary. (iii) Community Disorganization: Disorganization in rural community may also be responsible for increase in beggary. (iv) Break-up of Joint Family System: In the past the Hindu joint family supported the handicapped, orphans, blind etc. But owing to break-up of the joint family system in the present age, such persons are often thrown in the streets. (v) Social Custom: Some of the castes and tribes ask for alms only because begging is their hereditary profession. They are often migratory in character. c) Biological Causes: Among the biological causes may be mentioned sickness, physical or mental defects and old age. (i) Sickness or Disease: The diseases may be curable and preventive in the beginning, but in the long-run may become chronic and incurable. Diseases like syphilis, T.B., skin diseases and leprosy turn most people into beggary. (ii) Physically Disabled or Infirm: The physical defects like blindness, deafness acquired in the beginning or got later on force many people to beg as the economic condition of their family is not such as to afford the maintenance of these disabled persons. (iii) Mentally Deficient: There are persons who are mentally deficient or insane and cannot earn any living and they are forced to begging. (iv) Old Age: Persons who become physically weak in old age and cannot do any work and at the same time have nobody to support become beggars to get some money and sustain themselves. d) Religious Causes: Among religious causes may be included religious mendicancy and indiscriminate alms giving (i) Religious Mendicancy: Religious mendicancy facilitates a man to beg under the garb of a Sadhu or Fakir. Such people take the form of religious mendicants only as means to an end. (ii) Indiscriminate Alms-giving: Indiscriminate alms giving by the public because of their religious sentiments encourages beggary. (e) Other Reasons: Among other reasons may be mentioned those who are forced to beg. There are persons upon whom beggary is enforced. There are orphans and waifs and strays who are sometimes deliberately maimed or disfigured in order that their guardians or some other persons may earn their living. Many normal parents also trade on their children’s infirmities using these as sources of supplementary income.
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