An undeserving beggar

Recently, I and my friend went to a Gurudwara. As we came out of the Gurudwara, I noticed that there was a line of beggars outside the Gurudwara. My friend, who is a regular visitor to this Gurudwara, paid alms selectively to five of the beggars. As we moved past the beggars, I asked him out of curiosity, “Did you choose the beggars?”

“Oh yes. Since I am a regular visitor here, I know which beggars are good mannered and which ones are rude. I always give alms to the nice ones.”, he replied.

Not unfamiliar with beggars, I knew what he meant by good mannered and rude beggars, but just in case, he had a different idea, I asked him, “But how do you decide which ones are good and which ones rude?”

“Oh that’s pretty simple. You can see it from their manner of asking. Rude ones are loud and stubborn, while the nice ones speak softly and don’t push much. Besides, rude ones fight with one another and even shout at the nice ones. Nice ones are mostly humble. So, I don’t feel like giving to the rude ones.”

“Hmmm. All kinds of people exist in all professions.”


As we parted our ways to our respective homes, there was something that was troubling in my heart. As the dusk gave away to the night, I texted my friend, “I’ll go with you to the Gurudwara tomorrow. Pick me up.”

When we came out of the Gurudwara, I saw the long line of beggars there. I asked my friend, “Who are probably the rudest, most unworthy of the beggars, according to you?”.

“What are you going to do to them?”

“Just asking. I want to give alms to five of them.”

“But why to them?”

I didn’t respond.

“Ok. Hardly matters.”

From where we were standing, he told me by finger-pointing five of them.

When I had paid them the alms, my friend enquired again, “But why to them? I don’t understand. You could have been impartial, unlike me.”

I answered, “It’s not for them. It’s for me that I gave them the alms. It was to reassure my heart that there is someone who takes care of the most undeserving ones. It was for me so that I didn’t lose hope.”

A tear fell from my eyes on to the ground.

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