DHAKA, April 10, Reuter: Begging is a profession in poverty wracked Bangladesh, one that is attracting more and more practitioners because most beggars here make more money than workers.
At least 10 percent of the nearly three million people in the capital are roving mendicants, according to government figures. But not all of them belong to Dhaka’s lowest income group.
One survey suggests that more than 50 per cent of the beggars earn about 2,500 taka (83 dollars) a month, higher than the wage of an industrial worker.
More than half of Bangladesh’s 105 million people are living below the international poverty line, according to U.N. figures. The country has an annual per capita income of 131 dollars.
Some beggars have built their own houses on the outskirts of Dhaka and rent them out to supplement their income, a report by a government sponsored welfare association said.
“The clan is fast increasing because the lure of more money is there”, it said.
The style of seeking alms is an index of a beggar’s earnings and his status in the community.
A man who belongs to the most influential group, “Baralok” (wealthy), moves in a homemade chariot looking carriage usually drawn by his family members in some cases a blind wife and several children.
He seldom gets off the carriage, offering the impression that he is physically disabled. When it is time to eat or smoke, the family members serve him.
Article extracted from this publication >> April 17, 1987