Do beggars deserve our sympathy or indifference?

Published: October 27, 2015

I wonder how many times she may have missed her meals and been rejected, moreover accused for being fake and sly. PHOTO: REUTERS

I cringe at the sight of the decaying face of a desolate poor individual; yet my mind goes blank when I think of how to help them. Even if I help them financially, I can never cure their gloomy and emotional state of mind, their unhappiness and the woes they try to hide. An expression of agony is written all over their faces.

Their ragged, coarse and wrinkled faces are enough to prove how miserable they are. Their skin is tightly woven on their facial structure which clearly indicates starvation. We are so busy in our daily routine that we fail to realise our duty to help humanity. Indeed, the feeling of making an underprivileged person smile is overwhelming.

I see bones clothed by ragged clothes, not a person. I wonder how many times she may have missed her meals, the amount of times she may have been shoved aside by the imprudent and self-centred people, the several times she may have been rejected or ignored, moreover accused for being fake and sly. Despite not being in a position to argue or fight back, she raises her scraped palm in an attempt to beg.

There’s a famous saying which states we should not judge a book by its cover, yet when we come across a beggar, we don’t think twice before saying,

“Why does she not earn by working rather than beg for money? Surely begging won’t help her.”

However, we are completely unaware of her emotional instability, the woes that breed within her. She nurses agony and sheds tears out of fear of starving her family. The dread of losing her loved ones haunts her. Carrying this fear, she lacks the required strength to work. In the end, she finds herself completely helpless.

With such emotional and physical instability, how can we expect her to work?

She is left with no strength and wears a disconsolate expression. Her only reason to breathe and live is to feed her children. One can see the evidence of her convulsive sobbing in her eyes.

For this hopeless soul, life is a matter of struggle, pain, eternal gloom, disappointment and misfortune all piled up at her disposal.

During such desperate times, a person does not just need financial support but love, kindness and acceptance. Kind words and condolences can do what wealth cannot. We are extremely oblivious of the humiliation these people have to go through on a regular basis. However, as a human we can interpret the sentiments of other human beings and what they go through.

Therefore, we should help the underprivileged in order to show them that humanity is still alive. Even a pat on the back can generate a smile on their faces. Instead of pushing them away, we should assist them in every possible way. As a society, it is our duty to bring them closer to us in every possible manner. We have the ability to help the homeless and the beggars on the streets in various ways; all we need is a whole-hearted effort and an earnest willing attitude.

Rabia Abbasi

Rabia Abbasi

An avid reader, studying in her third year of O Levels with a blog of her own at

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Supriya Arcot

    Beggars exist even in the so called Western affluent countries .Genuine or no , Organised or no , Handicapped or no , while we need not be indifferent , stop giving money to these beggars . Who knows what they ( or their racket runners ) will fund with this money. Best to give food which can only be eaten by whoever.Recommend

  • Eiman Khawaja

    Thank u for voicing this and spreading awareness by the emotional and psychological consequences faced by this . they repeatedly experience situations which are traumatic. Trauma of abuse and neglect must be common among these ppl. Oh God how much is the pain of these ppl


  • Zulfiqar Ali

    true ,love to see /read article of my beloved daughter ,how she is so kind & sensitiveRecommend

  • Anonymous

    Well this is the one side of story. I have seen people who have made this thing their profession. They not only themselves beg before others but also make their childern beg who are often as small as 8 to 10 years old. If they themselves cann’t work they can atleast get their childern rid of this thing. As far as resources are concerned, if they show willingness to put thier childern on path, there will be many to spend on them. There are many charity organizations that can help them in this task.Recommend

  • Animal Farm

    The problem is not the beggars but the begging mafias….What they showed in Slumdog Millionare is absolutely true…There are several mafia members who use beggars to earn money preying on our kindness…They even steal babies and use them to earn money…

    I learned that way before SlumDog Millionaire came when I was standing in a bakery and saw an old man begging…So I bought a bun and gave him…He was angry and scolded me as if he gave him poison…

    Its better we all donate to charity(after verifying of course) so that these begging mafias will stop getting profit and move onRecommend

  • Hamayal Zafar

    Commendable work.Recommend

  • Nomad1412

    As someone who grew up in Mumbai, I learned very young to have a heart of stone and never give money to any beggar as we knew full well that begging was a big business and a successful one at that filled with all sorts of shady underworld characters.

    I have mellowed with age, but still don’t give a single paisa to beggars. Instead I ensure that I take care of those who work in my household, pay them above market salaries and generally help them in moments of calamity. My one maid has two sons who go to well known colleges in Bangalore. The other one has a son and daughter who frequently score very high marks in school. Neither one’s children will ever end up doing what their mothers are doing.

    Charity begins at home.Recommend

  • Ali

    The one who beggs’ has already lowered thier self esteem, Do not lower your self esteem by returning them empty handed.
    Hussain Ibne AliRecommend

  • Karachiite

    We should assisit in every possible way EXCEPT cash, since all the cash we give to the beggars go to their boss’s pockets who roams around in the city on a land crusier.
    In big cities like Karachi, its impossible for genuine beggars to beg on signals, all the signals are rented out by mafia!Recommend

  • Marl Brando

    Better to buy meals, or clothes, or pay for their treatment in a hospital, etc. I hesitate to give money, don’t know what it might be used for or who might take it from them.Recommend

  • talha usmani

    It is really the state responsibility and it fails at it miserable each and every day. The rulers think they will never be accounted for this treatment, but they can’t even remotely imagine what kind of punishment they will have to go through in the afterlife. Its really amusing that how easily these things can be solved by the state machinery, if they take some time out from roaming the streets in land cruisers and Mercedes, and attending lavish lunches and dinners.Recommend