Beggars make money from change

Mendicants in a far-flung town in north India eke out a living exchanging coins for notes

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | March 25, 2010


Money changes hands
Money changes hands

Two unusually dressed men with bulging cloth bags slung over their shoulders enter a dhaba. They dig into their bags and place handfuls of currency coins onto a table.

By the time Mahesh Kumar, the dhaba owner, comes over to attend to them, they have taken their seats around the table; it seems the two sides have a deal to negotiate.

The coins are neatly stacked up on the table according to denominations of one, two and five for Mahesh to count. The total comes to Rs 138.

Mahesh rakes up the coins off the table and hands the men two notes of Rs 100 and 50. The deal done, the two men walk off with a cool profit of Rs 12.

I later learn from Mahesh that the two men, Ali and Alauddin, are faqirs, which means mendicants who make an appeal to the religious or spiritual sentiments of alms-givers..

Thanks to these two beggars, I don’t have to arrange chhutta (change or coins) in paying for tea and snacks taken at Mahesh’s dhaba

Ali and Alauddin are two of a kind of enterprising beggars who provide coins for a small profit -- a useful service that banks can’t or won’t provide conveniently and adequately.

Yes, even beggars use their money wisely, an insight that microfinance practitioners use in making a case for ‘financial inclusion’.

Simply put, everyone – even beggars -- needs savings, credit, money transfer, and other financial services.

Comments

 

Other News

Mumbai civil body refutes allegations of scam in tenement scheme

The BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has rejected the Congress accusations of financial irregularities worth Rs 8,000 crore—9,000 croe in awarding contracts for getting project-affected people (PAP) tenements on private land.    BMC has said that it implements vital p

Sedition law: Can it have a place in democracy?

Does the concept of sedition have a place in modern democracies? This question became more relevant when the apex court recently put the country`s colonial-era sedition law on abeyance stating that there is a “requirement to balance… security interests and integrity of the State… and th

Not just another Manto anthology

The Collected Stories of Saadat Hasan Manto: Volume 1: Bombay and Poona Translated by Nasreen Rehman Aleph Book Company, 548 pages, Rs 999 There are writers, there are writers’ writers, and then there are readers’ writers. Saadat Hasan Mant

These tribal women may be illiterate but are successful entrepreneurs

Meet Promila Krishna, 39, Lalita Nayak, 40, Parbati Gadba, 42, Sanadei Dhuruwa, 39, and Nabita Barika, 41, of Kundra block in Odisha’s Koraput district. Except for Promila who is a matriculate, others haven’t attended school beyond the elementary level. However, while introducing themselves to

Women in workforce: Despite policy support, why it is declining

Michelle Obama once said, “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.” That should be so obvious, but it is not, and countries keep depriving themselves of the contributions of half of their popul

Chintan Shivir 2022: Will Congress regain its lost mojo?

The Congress is scheduled to hold a Chintan Shivir (meaning, ‘introspection camp’) from May 13th to 15th in Udaipur and it has identified six specific areas for introspection. These are 1. Political 2. Social Justice and Empowerment 3. Economy 4. Organization 5. Farmers and Agriculture and 6. Y

Visionary Talk: Arvind Sawant, Member of Parliament with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter