Be the change you seek – not unknown but oft-forgotten

This is a rather sad, real observation I have about so called charity. I will keep this post crisp and to the point —

There is a young homeless person I walk across every day, whose life is quite complicated to the extent that we thank God for giving us whatever we have. I’m talking about a young ‘beggar’ (vocabulary leaves me no other word to classify him) at Dadar Station, on the new bridge. This person barely earns a few coins everyday and what further complicates his problem is that he is blind. However, what distinguishes him from several others is that inspite of being blind, he plays the flute to perfection. Everyday,  as i cross him, he seems to be playing a different song which means he has a vast repertoire of songs. What further complicates his problem is that both his hands are busy playing the flute and that leaves him in no way to collect money which passersby may as well give (though sparingly, unlike what could be expected of the zillions of ordinary folks who pass him). Also, being blind leaves him with no way to perceive somebody’s willingness to give money. I gave him 5 rupees on three occassions (he deserves much more than Rs. 5) by disturbing his play and handing the Rs. 5 coin. Most people do not spare the time to drop him a coin. At the end of it, we have a deserving, skilled (yes, skilled) person who classifies as a beggar, day after day.

So this was my simple narrative of a certain observation. Where are the so called NGOs? Can I direct the corporate giving policy to bring visible change? Why do so few people give a coin or two to such skilled needy ones? And lastly, the dreaded question — why do I not contribute to make that visible difference I’m talking of? This is a prime example of the classic question I always had — should we give money to beggars? Randomness has been the answer so far. But I certainly feel that society should have some sort of a framework where skilled and needy people have something to fall back upon as a means of survival. Also, the key factor driving this ought to be direct contribution to the needy and not contribution through n layers.


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