Beggars armed with a Wiper

Windscreen_Wiper.jpgThe organised mafia which runs this network of beggars has in the recent past come up with a very clever tactic to extort money from the citizens. These kids now come armed with a soggy-wet windscreen wipe and before you can react do one quick wipe across the screen, hence capturing your attention. No longer does the old trick stare-straight-ahead-hope-he-goes-away glaze work as with this scam he has now your undivided attention and the beggar is now ready to negotiate a deal in exchange for his services. Entrepreneurship at its finest form.

Yesterday I was caught in such a situation, before I could react to stop him, the kid had my windscreen completely drenched and it left me simply furious. Nothing much could be done, I sat there fuming drove my car away wipers blazing, ruining the look of a freshly cleaned car.

Personally I refuse to support beggars as my smallest donation is actually encouraging the trade, I often wonder why people don’t realize this proliferating trade.

I pose everyone a simple question – Why do you support beggars (if you do)? What solution do you propose to attempt to eradicate this growing mess

23 Comments so far

  1. misha (unregistered) on March 11th, 2006 @ 6:26 pm

    This is a fairly old tactic, actually. In the past, I have also encountered those who would clean your windshield while you were out to a shop and when you would return, they would insist you owed them money for this service despite the fact that they probably messed the windsheild up more and were not asked to do anything in the first place.

    How to eradicate the problem? The simplest method is to just stop giving these people any alms at all. Direct any charitable donations towards the proper authorities instead. When the profession dries up, there will be point in carrying it on, but this requires a movement on a mass scale.

  2. Adil (unregistered) on March 11th, 2006 @ 7:43 pm

    I completely agree. Some people feel obligated to give money to these people after they have “cleaned” your windshield with gutter water. But people should just not do that, as it is obviously encouraging them. If anyone has any doubt as to the whole begging mafia, they should take out a hundred rupee note and say they don’t have change. When the beggar takes our a big fat wad of cash to change, then the truth will be evident.

    The police gets a cut, as does the city government, probably, so no one can eliminate this problem. The only way is for educated people to stop giving them money, as they are all frauds. But you will see that most of the money is given by the lower income people – taxi, regular, bus drivers you name it…

  3. Sarwar (unregistered) on March 11th, 2006 @ 8:27 pm

    Beggar mafia? Land mafia? Exactly how many types of mafia’s does Karachi have?

  4. misbah munir (unregistered) on March 11th, 2006 @ 10:06 pm

    well,i encoutered the same scenario today and was discussin with my bro about it….well there can be one possible solution..i hv been telling my friends n family members about it and now sharing it here….if we could have stickers which says stop proffesional beggary and have them pasted on our windsheild…and also to donate some money so dat we can set up centres in different areas where these kids can get if a beggar comes to us,he’ll see the sticker and would know that cars with such stickers wont give them alms….and if they do want food they can go to those centres and hv food there…and those of us who give money to beggars should donate money for free food at the would stop the problem to some extent if followed on a large scale….beggars will come to know about the cars with stickers who wont pay them.

  5. Inspirex (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 12:04 am

    totally agree…..
    the worst part is that they continue to ignore your indications and verbal warnings, asking them not to do anything to the widscreen. and after they are done, they have the audacity to ask for money!!!

    bumped into another type yesterday…..the kid says he had come to karachi with his family from Hyderabad and was living in a rented place. My first question was: do you have any idea how expensive Karachi is compared to Hyderabad in terms of living??

    Dont they use their brains…at all??

  6. Poo poo Head (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 12:17 am

    Misbah: Come to the real world and stop watching Indian movies please please please

    Inspirex: Do you have any idea how expensive 1st world is as compared to third world in terms of living?? Don’t people use their brains…at all?? By the way do you ???

  7. Inspirex (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 12:46 am

    Poo Poo head….

    i know exactly how expensive it is…
    ive lived at quite a few places actually….

    The statement was aimed at curiousity as to why people change cities and/or places to live when they have no idae what its like……

    and next time…please dont make assumptions about anyone.

  8. Teeth Maestro (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 1:17 am

    Misbah – a splendid idea – I hope that you can start an initiative for such a project and I can assure you that I will stand with you on such a good project. If you are up for it lets brain-storm

  9. Original-anon (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 4:37 am

    But how will you inform the beggars? I imagine they cannot read but they need to know what these stickers say and where to go for food. And really, food is not their only issue, shelter and gainful employment and perhaps education as well are also things they need. But, the biggest problem might be that these kids are probably under the control of the ‘beggar mafia’. Obviously, this is a huge social issue.

  10. Poo poo Head (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 7:29 am

    Inspirex: When I came to US , I knew it has more opportunities for me and the same logic happens for every one. No one really wants to leave his family and live alone. I hope it clears every thing.

    Regarding Misbah’s idea , I would not even consider that, providing food, shelter would not help at all, instead we should try to provide them some training so that they could help themselves. If you start providing free food and shelter then so many people who work would leave working because they just make enough to get food and shelter.

  11. Ali K Chishti (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 8:24 am

    I wish one day ( Insh’Allah ) teeth maestro becomes so poor that one day he has to clean cars with a wiper and when he does , the person sitting in the car drives away without paying him – ( this is from the heart )

  12. ANON THE FAKE ONE (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 9:56 am

    Ali K Chishti: Dude you totally missed the point. We are talking about illegit beggars operating under the mafia.

  13. misha (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 10:53 am

    Ali K: Save the bleeding heart routine, I assure you nearly all of the members of this beggar mafia do not need it. They make a pretty good living harassing people. Why should one who actually works for a living have to put up with someone else forcing their labor on them when it’s clearly unwanted and then be made to feel bad because they do not pay? Should someone perform a service that you wanted for you, you would be contractually and morally oblidged to pay them, but if they are told repeatedly not to do so, what obligation does one have to pay them at all?

    Misbah: I encountered the same flaw, most beggars can’t read so I’m not sure they would get the point of the stickers, plus rehabilitation is what’s needed, not a “langar”. If we do want to help them, we should teach them to fish rather than provide them with a fish a day.

    I still stand by my original solution: stop paying them at all. Such a movement on a mass scale would completely dry up the beggar mafia. Instead, direct any charitable donations to foundations set up for that cause so that at least you know your money is not going straight into the palms of those that run the beggar mafia. Additionally, we should start purchasing those small items some people make and sell as alternatives to beggings, for example those washcloths for wiping down your car or the flowers sold by kids and such. At least they’re not resorting to begging and they should be encouraged for that.

  14. misbah munir (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 11:09 am

    well…answering the flaws in my idea…well about the beggars not understanding wot the sticker says….after sometime they will know that cars with the particular sticker wont pay them no matter wot they say… wont take long for the beggars to recognize the stickers…afterall they hv been here for a long time now…and for the langer thing…comin to think about it…do u think the amount of money we give them is enough for them to afford shelter?i think its barely enough to buy decent food…..and most beggars usually ask for food…and yes we can introduce trainin programmes at those centres….any maybe help them work constructively for a good cause…..
    i once had a friend who went to one of thse beggars and told the boy that he has been thrown out of his house by his parents and wants to beg….and the beggar actually gave the address of the man who makes him beg…my friend to this answer told the beggar that he doesnt know how to beg….the beggars reply was….dont worry that man will also teach him how to….wow…

  15. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 12:26 pm

    @TM:very nice and burning post,thanks for comming up with this issue and you have forgotto mention about guys with monkeys.And yes i also dont support such beggers though my mom forces met go give *something* to them anyway.

    @Misbah:nice idea,i would add further that media ppl(TV channels) should run some banner or Ad to to Support these fake beggers.regarding stickers,how would they know because they can’t read at all?maybe some Symbolic apperance would be more helpful

  16. Teeth Maestro (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 2:00 pm

    @Misbah – An awesome concept, and I think if the campaign is well organized it will become recognizable to the extent that beggars will understand, but the problem is we should not have a half hearted campaign, to make an impact it should be publicized to the mass media in a big way as per Adnan’s recommendation. Mind you beggars may be illiterate but not stupid, when the campaign starts on a large scale they will undrestand and then deliberately resists, but with time many will be slowly discouraged. All we need to do is create awareness amongst the public and it will itself create change.

    Some organizations have thought about creating training centers but to be honest, is this breed of beggars coming onto the streets out of need or do they see it as a potential money making idea. We can create such centers as a part of this campaign.

    @Ali Chishti – as I openly mentioned in my post I DO NOT support these beggars so you can wish all you want but the beggar will not get anything from me, I refuse to be a part of this mafia, but I do make it a point to give food every week in exchange. It seems as if you missed the point, try to come with a solution with some constructive criticism.

  17. Inspirex (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 3:52 pm

    Poo poo head: i understand what you are saying. But nothing justifies a long leap from your surroundings without knowing what awaits you. Plan and then move. I understand that any intelligent person would do just that.

    Additionally, i still do not undertand why you questioned me about using my head.

    That was totally uncalled for.

  18. Illusionfs (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 7:57 pm

    I dont support begging at all. My beef with ‘beggars with wipers’ is that they scratch the wind screen man and I being as careful as I am with my belongings, hate to see such a sight. And when such a thing happens, and I get out of the car and ask them why he did that without even asking me, they make faces depict that they were doing a service.

    The only thing to eradicate begging from our society is to stop supporting it completely. There are many many jobs *low paid* available in the city, theres no reason for the beggars to ask for it. And I dont agree to Legit/’illegit’ beggars, there shouldnt be any beggars at all.
    Theres a lot of oppurtunity available for the people who cant afford to buy food in Karachi, so many places have ‘langars’ 24/7.

    Stop Supporting The Beggars!

  19. Faisal (unregistered) on March 12th, 2006 @ 10:37 pm

    Just thought that this following article from regarding Argentina sounded like it was almost speaking of Karachi. It is regarding the veneer of prosperity and beggars. Do take a moment to read it.

  20. fullstop (unregistered) on March 13th, 2006 @ 7:32 am

    You guys don’t get it, do you? Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Most of us don’t have any idea what it is like to not have money for food, to not have a home to go to at night. I am not advocating beggary. But not giving money to these kids will not solve the problem. And bumper stickers! come on guys, I thought the elite of my country were smarter than this. If you are genuinely concerned about the situation, come up with something the will permanantly address their plight. I don’t have any solutions but we can start by atleast being sympathetic to them. And Mr. Hyderabad to Karachi read Poo Poo’s reply, lather, rinse, repeat until you understand. He answered your simplistic assumption.

  21. altaf (unregistered) on March 13th, 2006 @ 5:45 pm

    The solution to the beggar with wiper problem is to do what i do – put your car screen wipers on full speed as soon as you see one of them approaching!

  22. Original-anon (unregistered) on March 14th, 2006 @ 6:08 pm

    TM, I have thought about your original question and would like to offer my thoughts. But, since it is my ‘job’ on this blog to offer corrections, so may I do that first?
    Thanks, I knew you would say yes :)
    You really should say ‘I pose a question to you’ and not ‘I pose you a question’.
    Why do I give money to beggars?
    1.Because I never know if the one approaching me may be truly needy and not a professional beggar.
    2.I often look at them and think, there but for the grace of God go I; surely they did not ask to be born into this horrid existence.
    3. Living outside Pakistan, one tends to have a softer attitude towards these people; Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that Pakistanis are heartless, it is just that you are exposed to , and annoyed by, the beggars everyday and the expats only a few weeks a year.
    4. As far as their not taking menial jobs is concerned; I see how people treat their domestic help (again not all but some) or the low-paid workers and perhaps a beggar’s existence is still better than that.

  23. rINo (unregistered) on March 16th, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

    it seems that two extreme ideas are being discussed.

    one is to give money to beggers thinking that they might be really needy while other is not to give them anything assuming they are professionals.

    BUT!!!!! when Allah has given us so much did He consider whether we are deserving?? do we think we are???? we all know bout ourselves???? i wonder whether or not we should be questioning and digging the deservability of beggers while giving some coins. (One thing i wanna mention that Zakat requires that it is reached to the deserving, while for Sadaqat deservability is only preferable and not required)

    Different ideas being suggested deserve praise and appreciation and shows maturity of our youth.

    What i do sometimes is keep some biscuits, sandwiches etc in my car and give it to beggers rather than money. In this manner i help them without helping their operators.

    Considering their smartness, its not out of question that they will sell the food, but the chances are very minimal.

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