Opinion: An act of kindness

November 16, 2019

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We have all seen beggars on streets. When we go out with our families, they knock on our car windows and make gestures with their hands saying, “I am hungry, please give me something to eat,” or “Give me money to feed my empty belly.”

Some of our elders give them what they ask for, others shoo them away. We often accuse beggars of deliberately not wanting to do proper jobs or for being a part of an organised gang which earns with the help of others who beg on roads and streets and at the end of the day, their entire money collection is taken away by their gang leader. I’m not saying that these accusations are entirely wrong. Truth is, they’re actually true to some extent.

We can never really tell who a real beggar is and who is a fake one. We never know how needy a person is. We never know the stories that are hidden behind their filthy appearance, yet we wholeheartedly judge them. Why? Just because they beg on the roads, streets and markets, earning without actually working or are a part of organised crime in the name of beggary. I’ve also often heard that they mutilate their gang members just so they can earn more sympathy as beggars. It is sad that most of them have no control over their lives.

Everyone has a flaw or two, and in some cases, there are many flaws. We continue to judge each other about their situations without knowing the details. Only a small, negligible fraction of their situation is known to us, yet we assume the whole picture based on that.

Some beggars pretend to be poor while they are rich. We really don’t know who they are, but it is wrong to think that all beggars are con artists just because some of them are faking it.

People insult beggars for not doing a job and earning money without making any effort to work. But we might not know that the woman who comes to the car to beg when we stop at the traffic signal is an unemployed widow, nor that the handicapped boy who taps on our car window is an orphan with a little sister to look after. We also don’t know that the old man in decent clothes has been kicked out of his house by his own son. When we don’t know anything, it is better not to assume anything.

Our small acts of kindness have the power to save many people from hunger and sufferings. Those judgmental harsh words thrown at the needy can cause them psychological issues, and physical and emotional problems. It might be a little thing for us but to the ones suffering, it is terrible on top of the miseries they already go through.

According to Google, around 39 percent of the people in our country live in poverty, the rate, however decreased from 55 percent to 39 percent from 2004-2015. Some 60 percent of the people in our country struggle to find food. In 2017, it was estimated that for every batch of 1000 babies, 75 babies die before their fifth birthday. Almost 25 million people in Pakistan are directly involved in beggary.

And as for fake beggars, also known as the beggar mafia, the government must take actions against them. They should arrest their leaders and members of such mafia groups and make them pay for their unfairly earned money. Let’s just hope our government puts an end to beggary and provides respectable jobs to the needy so that they can provide for their families.

It feels good to help others without wanting anything in return. God loves our acts and blesses us with many things. He loves those who do good things without letting anyone else know. He also loves those who do kind things unconditionally.

Always remember, you are never too small or insignificant to make a big difference. Try and you will make a positive change for all.

Published in Dawn, Young World, November 16th, 2019