Polio-stricken Siddhant did not want a job to eke out his livelihood. Neither did he wish to draw doles for his disability.
So this 25-year-old Gaya resident chose a vocation that is not consciously adopted by others, and came up with an enterprising plan — begging, which fetches him Rs 30,000 every month. “Why should I run after a paltry grant of Rs 600 given to the disabled in Bihar? I earn no less than Rs 1,000 everyday and that, too, for no work. I am happy with my present state, I don’t think of a future or the past,” said Siddhant, who is uneducated.
As a child, Siddhant’s right leg was affected by polio. His mother, who supported the family of two by making earthen lamps, lost all hopes of a cure. Siddhant then decided to start begging to help his mother supplement her meagre income.
“I hire a loudspeaker-fitted rickshaw for Rs 200 a day. When my earnings exceed Rs 1,200, I pack up for the day, pay the rickshaw-wala, who drops me home,” said Siddhant.
Although unschooled, Siddhant is better placed than other beggars. According to the 2011 Census data on ‘non-workers by main activity, education level and sex’ released recently, of the total 25,857 beggars in Bihar, 95 — including 78 males and 17 females — have graduate or higher degrees other than technical ones. A majority of beggars — 9,848 males and 12,421 females — are illiterate.