To Give Or Not To Give - Part 2

This post takes over from where this one had left off. I just had to present two more instances which troubled me a lot.

Instance 1

A fine morning a few months back. The place is a traffic signal on Cubbon Road in Bangalore. As usual, most motorists have switched off their engines since it is a long wait. Thats when the two children seize their opportunity. The older girl must be about 12 years old, the younger boy being around 10.

Off they jump, from the median, onto the road. And, start show casing their acrobatic skills! Jumping, bouncing, body-bending, flipping over several times – these two kids definitely belong to a good circus – not a traffic signal. They have the attention of everyone waiting at the signal. After performing some some really good stunts, they go around the vehicles, collecting money from whoever is ready to “pay up”.


  • One: Can this be classified as “begging”? Especially since the children were as good an entertainment troupe as any? Another way of asking the same question is – could the children be considered to be “earning” whatever they get at that signal?

  • Two: If the answer to question One is that this is not begging – the children are actually working for what they earn; then – where does that leave me – the “audience”? These children were regulars at that signal for about 2-3 weeks. So, How much and often do I pay them? Where is this heading and what does the future hold?

Instance 2

Today. I am driving home and at 10 pm, I stop and switch off the car at another traffic junction on Cubbon Road. This time, I see two women doing the rounds begging. One has an infant in her arms – the sight of which was sufficient to make me forget my principles in this regard (I am against begging – it does not serve any purpose – blah blah).

But the sight of the other woman saddened me even further. She was pregnant and her bare tummy protruded from the ill-fitting dress she was wearing. Further, I could clearly see from her expression and stance that she had absolutely no energy and she looked like she would collapse any moment. God knows how long it had been since she had eaten! I beckoned to her and handed her a 10-rupee note.


Well, I am too confused about this incident to even pose a proper question! I know that giving alms to this lady was out of pity and it was well-justified – but it did not serve a meaningful purpose. I had thought short-term.

But maybe the question is (again) – where is this heading? One pregnant woman got something to eat today – but what about the million others out there in the slums and on the streets and footpath of India? What is their fate?

To conclude – I should blame myself for I only give these things a thought when they occur – maybe a day or two more. Then, its all locked up in some obscure corner of my brain until the next such moving incident occurs! I think I need to be more compassionate – especially when the miseries of fellow human beings right in front of my eyes are concerned.


I recommend these excellent posts on this topic for further reading:

Brothers in Alms – by Chandra

Cray Biscuit Lady – at YOnEarthNot

5 comments to To Give Or Not To Give - Part 2

  • I have a question to ask everyone-
    (1) We see a lot of beggers around us and everytime we think that we shouldn't give to beggers because if we do, they will be habitual of this and they will not improve.
    (2) We see a lot of corrupt officials and people around us, rarely we think that we will not bribe them, because if we do (rarely), they will become more corrupt and so will the whole system.

    Just see the above 2 points, try to see some logic over there.
    Both involves giving something, case-1 doesn't give back you anything but case-2 gives you prompt happening of your work.
    So in case-1 you find logical excuse not to do that.

    In my view, if sometimes you feel to feed a begger, do that, it might happen that they will not improve, very rare probability that they will use that money for real food/need etc, but think if a minor percentage is going for that, you are useful to someone, isn't that a great cause?
    Think a bit.


  • @Deepak: You are absolutely spot-on pal! I had not thought about it from this angle - but now that you mention it, I guess I tend to agree with you.

    However there still exists one larger question - how much and for how long?

  • I wrote a comment on this post...a long one... but dont see it here ..Did it not come thru? Or did it offend u 'coz my thots didnt completely match with urs?

    [Had to ask!]

  • @Pavi: Your comment did not come through (often happens with me .. when I post a comment on a blogger blog which has comment moderation enabled).

    Please re-comment :). And hey, you need not worry about differences of opinion here - no offense taken. Half the reason I put up these posts is to know the opinions of others. Besides, this particular post was a question to the readers - so you are entitled to spill your thoughts - whether they match mine or not!

  • Okay..great to know it is what i xpected..Bloger's fault !

    Will come back in a few days (due to lack of time) n try to pen my comment again.


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