According to the Census 2011 data India has some 372,000 beggars of whom 21% are literate and have passed their senior secondary certificate exams and more. Over 3000 of them even have professional diplomas, or are graduates and post-graduates.
Like they say ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ as many take to begging after their degrees failed to help them land satisfactory jobs.
One beggar age 45 who passed grade 12 and can speak decent English said he is poor but honest and begging fetches him Rs.200 a day, whereas his last job of a ward boy in a hospital paid just Rs.100 a day.
Another beggar age 51 is a third year BCom fail who earns Rs.150 a day. He said after his wife left him there was no need to keep a house so he sleeps on the riverfront in Vijapur, Ahmedabad, and begs for his living.
Another who has an MCom degree from Gujarat University is a pan-handler. He is the father of three who aspired for government service but lost even his private job. He now lives off free meals offered by charity organisations.
The story continues as many beggars have tales to tell that sadly shows that after their education bad luck struck and the only option is to beg, as in the case of one who wants his son to be an animator and who feeds his 9 daughters and his wife from the income he earns off the streets.
One sociologist says people with degrees turn to begging reflects the grim employment scenario, where being jobless leaves them no social support to fall back on.