As most of you know, India will be hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. The Commonwealth Games brings athletes, spectators, umpires, and journalists from around 50 countries in the world. This is the first major international sports meet in the country, after the 1982 Asian Games, also hosted in Delhi. (apart from co-hosting the cricket world cup.)
When the topic of preparation required to host the games is raised, what comes to mind is the sports facilities, transport facilities, lodging facilities and providing adequate security for all athletes, coaches, referees, and spectators.
I was shocked to read that the beggars in Delhi are ‘excited’ about the Commonwealth Games, and are preparing for it. How? By ‘teaching child beggars to beg in foreign languages such as Spanish, and French in addition to English’. (Read more here.)
Vijay Babli, who claimed to be the leader of over 1,200 mendicant families living in Lal Quarter in Rohini, northwest Delhi, was recently quoted as saying that “classes” had begun to prepare the young alms-seekers to target the large number of tourists expected for the Games in October 2010.
The community has even set up an informal academy in the area. Many beggar children who have never been to school could speak English, French and Spanish, all thanks to the classes, Babli said.
What more, some of the children have also been posted at important locations such as India Gate, Jama Masjid, and Connought Place.
Doesn’t this give a whole new dimension to the word ‘Educated Indians’?Well, who would have thought that ‘beggars’ are also preparing for the Commonwealth Games.
Mrs Sheila Dixit, as the Chief Minister of Delhi, could you please come up with a solution for this? We cannot blame the children. In their circumstances, they are doing what they can to earn their livelihood. What is beyond my reasoning ability is when these people could recognize the opportunity of learning a few sentences in other languages to ‘beg for’ money, why can’t you as the Chief Minister understand the need to provide better lives for these children? It is estimated that around 100000 beggars are on the streets of Delhi. Can these individuals be given a new lease of life instead of begging on the streets? There are no ‘quick-fixes’ for this problem. For heaven’s sake, do not come up with ‘Get the police, and drive these children away. They are spoiling the image of our country’ and other similar short-sighted solutions. Why don’t you implement a system where these children are put into schools, and educated to become responsible citizens of the country?
It is understandable that you have more pressing issues to address. But, this problem cannot be ignored. Or as always, would it have to be the non-profits and responsible citizens who end up doing the best they can without any assistance of the government which tends to be a mute spectator?