WHO CARES? BEGGARS IN ALIGARH CITY

By: Vandana Desai
Asian countries are experiencing demographic transition from a young to an increasingly older population, unfolding against a context often characterised by persistent poverty, gender vulnerability, economic strain, constricted public resources, and limited civil institutions to support the elderly.
Development

The prime responsibility of a nation is to provide basic amenities and facilities to its people and raise their quality of life. Beggars are the people who beg, that is who ask money for themselves without offering anything in return and even do not find these basic needs or amenities (food, shelter, health and protection) without which life would be impossible. Begging is a complex and multifaceted problem that is most often caused by multiple and interrelated individual and structural deprivations. It leads to physical deterioration, mental incompetence, ill health and starvation, and wreaks lives by forcing them into crime, mental abnormalities, family maladjustments, and social irregularities of every description. The matter of begging is not the ignorable issue of the society, but in fact, the begging has become one of the most problematic social issues of India. It is, therefore, necessary that empirical studies have to be undertaken aimed at collecting relevant data on subject.

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Aims and Objectives

The general aim of the present study has been to examine the socio-economic causes, methods of begging and the problems of beggars in Aligarh City. The specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To analyse the socio-economic causes of begging.
  2. To find out the methods of begging.
  3. To identify the socio-economic problems of beggars and to suggest their remedial measures.

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Study Area

Aligarh, a medium sized city, is spreading over an area of 36.10 sq. km. in the Western part of Uttar Pradesh situated at 27o88’N latitude and 78o 08’E longitude given in fig 1. It is situated along the New Delhi – Howrah railway line at the distance of about 126 km. from New Delhi and about 1500 km. from Kolkata. The city is consisting of 60 wards, accommodates a residential population of 6,69,087 of which 3,56,725 are males and 3,12,362 females (Annual Report 2004 Lucknow). The literacy rate in the city is 65.38 per cent of which the male literacy rate is 75.85 per cent and females are 54.16 per cent literate. Muslim constitutes nearly one-third of the total population of Aligarh city. There are three factors, which have contributed to the development of Aligarh.  These include the establishment of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) during pre-independence period, the growth of trade through the establishment of light industries, and its demarcation as the district headquarters which gave it administrative importance.

 

Data Base and Methodology

 

The present study is based on the primary data generated through field survey and the direct questionnaire to the respondents in the Aligarh city, carried out during the months of January and February, 2009. 200 beggars were interviewed from the various parts of the city (see Table 1) for collection of information regarding their socio-economic characteristics, causes of begging and problems faced by them etc. After the field work, the data collected by using individual slips were scrutinized and were processed in tabular forms according to the various aspects of the study.

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