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Beggary comes to Chitral -letter

Beggary is a curse. A society encouraging beggary can hardly achieve any kind of development, resulting in its progressive degeneration. Unfortunately our motherland is replete with forms and kinds of beggary from top to toe. The tall claims of our leaders especially in the Musharraf era to have broken the begging bowl have turned out to be mere mythical illusions. The whole country is reeling under the burden of heavy debts borrowed from the world financial institutions. It further aggravates the problem of beggary in Pakistan

Until recently, Chitral was probably the only district in the country that was immune from this menace. Now it is no more! A new phenomenon for Chitralis as the curse of beggary has penetrated our culture with beggars frequenting bus terminals, mosque premises and other public places. A few days back I happened to encounter a young lady at a bus stand holding her child in her arms stretching out hands for pennies. It presented a dismal picture of the Chitrali culture and traditions and reminded me of the ethical-erosion that has set in over the past some years.

Previously, the mobility of poor people was restricted to within the four walls of households and they were doled out alms out of public eye. It is because the virtue of charity used to be strongly upheld as a religious obligation. The virtue of fellow-feeling and generosity in most of us has now become a thing of the past. Out of desperation the needy and the poor of our society take to crowded areas to meet their monetary demands.

Tthe zakat committee apparently lack system of proper disbursement of the zakat fund amongst the poor who need their proper attention. The district zakat committee should make a list of the helpless people to address their genuine grievances by extending them financial assistance out of zakat fund. It will be a right move in the right direction to mitigate their suffering and purging Chitral of the menace of beggary.

It is no exaggeration that some people adopt beggary as a profession. A common man in the street can hardly distinguish between a genuine and a professional beggar ending up in a mess. We see stout and robust people roaming around asking for alms that gives rise to unhealthy trends in our society. The law enforcement agencies should take them to task in order to discourage the curse of beggary.

If left unchecked, the growing menace of beggary may turn ugly and result in a chaotic condition, because professional beggars are not respecting the law and order. They are usually directionless and have criminal mindset. A seemingly petty problem may assume an ugly shape of a monster if not dealt with properly. It is pertinent to take the bull by the horn rather than to take the issue superficially.

Khalid Pervaiz,
Kroijunali, Booni, Chitral.

29 June 2010.


Comment -1

This is with reference to the letter of Khalid Pervaiz on the subject. We really appreciate his sagacity and farsightedness for touching the issue having nefarious and ruinous impact on both economic social and cultural set up of traditional Chitrali society.

Begging is strictly prohibited in Islam. Our religion imposes strict discipline of good behavior and conduct on its followers. It is a curse rather than compulsion due to necessities of life. It is one of the most humiliating and difficult profession to adopt. It requires sacrifice of human ego and integrity. It needs great courage and tolerance to accept disdain, contempt, insulting remarks and abuse from other fellow beings. But once these absurdities are taken for granted, they drift in human genes like a parasite and travels along with generation after generation.

These baggers live a nomadic and gypsy style of life. They move according to different seasons and festivals from place to place in different groups by allocating different places to different groups. For the last few years Chitral is also witnessing the moaning and groaning tricks of these rancorous parasites during the summer season and their presence along the roadside speaks the volume of this glaring facts.

These professional baggers, no doubt, suck the hard earned money of God fearing and peaceful people of Chitral like leaches. The men of this tribe play the role of supervision while woman entertain people with their songs and shameful sexual gestures while advancing towards their spectators and admirers. They do not hesitate to steel or robe innocent people. They have more than one hundred thousand of tricks up their sleeves to melt a very tough hearted guy. They also intoxicate children between the ages of one to five years so that they look sick and attract sympathies of kind hearted Chitralis.

The menace of begging is currently seems to be the major threat to the well balanced (culture and values focused) but economically fragile society (chitrali) instigating deserving noble poor, who do not extend their hand to beg alms or charity for shame of loosing their dignity and honor. In this predicament situation we expect that both local community and district administration will look in to gravity of the situation and take all necessary measures to nip the evil before that it takes root in the society.

Noor Afzal Khan,

02 July 2010


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