Beggars make money from change

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


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.



Other News

How three organisations came together to serve 9,000 cancer patients annually

There were many preventable cancer deaths in 2020 due to lack of medical care and access as the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the entire attention from these chronic ailments to itself. A patient named Javed Khan, struggling with cancer and on chemotherapy, contracted Covid and he could not get underlying

Why Ayurveda needs a new apex body

Ayurveda: The True Way to Restore Your Health and Happiness By Dr. G. G. Gangadharan Ebury/Penguin, 224 pages, Rs 299 Dr G.G. Gangadharan, a champion of Ayurveda for three and a half decades, has penned an introductory book on India’s ancient

‘Extend Mumbai Model post-pandemic to improve civic services’

The ‘Mumbai Model’, which helped the city beat Covid-19, came in for praise from the supreme court too. The BMC can now extend that model of decentralisation for more efficiency in day-to-day citizen services and to make Mumbai a better-managed and future-ready city, says the Praja Foundation.

“No ratings certainly better than bad ratings”

Though there is no weekly viewership data for individual news channels coming since mid-October 2020, after allegations of manipulation of television rating points (TRPs) by three news channels, percentage of viewers watching news across the world doubled during lockdown. According to Avinash Pandey, CEO,

Delhi plans implement ‘Mumbai Model’ soon

A team of the Delhi government’s health department has visited Mumbai to learn from the city’s officials how to battle Covid-19 more efficiently, following the supreme court’s advice last month that the capital should learn from the ‘Mumbai model’ that has successfully control

Why India’s ranking on Happiness Index has been falling

The World Happiness Report, one of the best tools for evaluating global happiness, is based on how ecstatic people perceive themselves to be. It considers six characteristics to rank countries on overall happiness: GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make choices, generosity, and pe

Visionary Talk with Avinash Pandey, CEO ABP News Network on News Broadcast - Issues & Its Future


Current Issue


Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter