Photos and Text: Mallika Soni and Jeevitesh Saharan | March 10, 2018
There is privilege in this world; yet most of us are not cognizant of the same; our own or even someone else’s. Then there is poverty in this world; yet most of us are not cognizant of the same; our own or even someone else’s.
The bright lights of the markets of Delhi often make us enchanted into a slumber of forgetfulness.
In the vicinity of Delhi University, a bustling Kamla Nagar market with all its brand outlets and eating joints remains busy and crowded almost every day.
In a city, one always has to undergo the pain that we feel because there is a gnawing lack of familiarity; it is hard to find familiar smiling faces or any abiding presences; the cities are probably too big for that. Yet one sight is familiar to anyone who comes to this market; the street beggars and their ever increasing number.
While some sit on the curb with hands folded and tired dry eyes, others are children who beg of you to weigh yourself so that they could make five rupees.
The heat or the cold of the day or the jaundiced Delhi lights; nothing deters their presence; probably their presence for some of us is a part of our daily lives.
Sometimes while passing through the market one often thinks about the power equation between the beggar and the pedestrian. Who needs whom more? We think the beggar relies on the kindness of the pedestrian but does the pedestrian need the beggar in order to merely beam with power and pride and feel relevant? After all, in this huge country of so many unknown faces and stark inequality, isn’t the pedestrian just another beggar?
It also makes you wonder whether the market creates the beggar or whether the beggar capitalises on the market. From the privileged University lens, sometimes one wonders how the beggar understands words like consent, dignity, labour, capitalism, Marxism, poverty, depression, addiction. What would these words actually mean for the beggar? Ever thought? Or probably appropriating meaning is too powerful an act to be performed by someone whose worries are mostly about the next meal?
Sometimes you will also see these beggars happy when they get a McDonald’s burger that someone was too full to eat. Sometimes a passing pedestrian would just smile at them and try and make some conversation; take a photo or just see them and think about hygiene and sanitation. It also makes you wonder what makes the pedestrian give anything to the beggar; is it guilt coming out of the idea of having too much or is it a mutual feeling of poverty that most of us share? One never knows.
Do these beggars even recognize the people in power? Are they even aware of how the government works? Yet some of us label them notorious and consider them to be people who disturb the atmosphere of the market; they supposedly make the market ‘unsafe’. Ever asked what the word ‘safety’ means to a beggar?
And then there is Trump Jr who seems to be astounded and impressed by the smile on the faces of the India’s poor. Does that make the powerful people of our world think that poverty is satiating and that the poor are grateful for their situation?
There is a word called ‘hope’ which is said to keep most of us alive; a hope for a better tomorrow. But the only thing that we forget is the fact that the way we define tomorrow is different for the beggar and the pedestrian. Always has been and always will be! And probably to be hopeful also means being privileged.
The contributors are students at the University of Delhi.
Urging use of alternative and cost effective fuels to reduce pollution caused by vehicles, union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said finding cost-effective fuels is the need of the hour and underlined that use of fuels like bio-CNG and green hydrogen help in protecting the e
The foodgrain production of 3305.34 lakh tonnes is estimated in the current agricultural year 2022-23 – higher by 149.18 LMT as compared to the previous year, according to the Third Advance Estimates of production of major crops released by the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare.
The AI Supercomputer ‘AIRAWAT’, installed at C-DAC, Pune, has been ranked 75th in the world. It was declared so in the 61st edition of Top 500 Global Supercomputing List on Tuesday at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC 2023) in Germany. It puts India on top of AI S
The ongoing third Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group G20 meeting (May 21-23) has focused on three aspects: land degradation and reclamation of mining areas, Blue Economy and sustainable ocean management and resource sufficiency and circular economy. Leena Nandan, secretary,
We are not paying sufficient attention to the rapidly growing oil imports (from pre-Covid-19 to post-Covid, in 2022). They surged from 102 million tons (MT) in 2019-20 to 168 MT in 2022-23, an increase of 68%. India is the largest importer of oil in the world, and, at current rate, we
The 3rd ECSWG (environment and climate sustainability working group) meeting is being held during May 21-23. The meeting is being kicked off with a G20 Mega Beach Clean-Up on Sunday in Mumbai at Juhu Beach from 7 AM for two hours. The main focus of this meeting will be on steering the discussions around Co