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
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
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.
Kroijunali, Booni, Chitral.
29 June 2010.
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
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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