Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Socio-Economic and Structural Analysis of Beggars in Aligarh City

Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Socio-Economic and Structural Analysis of Beggars in Aligarh City

Article excerpt

Beggars are now a concern alike of social reformer, the politician and the social scientists to understand the problem, analyse it and find remedies for the same. It is, therefore, necessary that empirical studies should be undertaken aimed at collecting relevant data on the subject. In this paper, an attempt has been made to analyse the socio-economic status of beggars in Aligarh city of Uttar Pradesh. The study also highlights the causes of begging, the problems of beggars and their remedial measures.


The prime responsibility of a nation is to provide basic amenities and facilities to its people and raise their quality of life (Pattanaik 2005). Beggars are the people who beg, that is who ask money for themselves without offering anything in return (Adler and Rosie 2000) and even do not find these basic needs or amenities (food, shelter, health and protection) without which life would be impossible. Begging is a complex and multifaceted problem that is most often caused by multiple and interrelated individual and structural deprivations. It leads to physical deterioration, mental incompetence, ill health and starvation, and wreaks lives by forcing them into crime, mental abnormalities, family maladjustments, and social irregularities of every description (Cama 1945).

According to the census of India, there were 7,50,307 beggars and vagrants in India in 1981 which declined to 5,42,875 in 1991, though it further increased to 6,27,688 in 2001. Out of the total, about two third beggars were in rural areas while one third in urban areas (Bhat 2007). The matter of begging is not the ignorable issue of the society but in fact begging has become one of the most problematic social issues of India. It is, therefore, necessary that empirical studies have to be undertaken aimed at collecting relevant data on the subject.

Aims and Objectives

The general aim of the study has been to examine the socio-economic status, causes and the problems of beggars in Aligarh City. The specific objectives of the study are to know about the incidence and extent of beggars in Aligarh city; to analyse the socio-economic causes of begging; to study the socio-economic composition and structure of beggars; to make an assessment of the standard of living of the beggars by examining the infrastructural facilities in their households; and to identify the socioeconomic problems of beggars and to suggest their remedial measures.

Study Area

Aligarh, a medium sized city, is spreading over an area of 36.10 sq. km. in the western part of Uttar Pradesh situated at 27[degrees]88'N latitude and 78[degrees]08'E longitude. It is situated along the New Delhi-Howrah railway line at the distance of about 126 Km. from New Delhi and about 1500 Km. from Kolkata. The city consists of 60 wards, accommodates a residential population of 6,69,087 of which 3,56,725 are males and 3,12,362 females (GUP 2004). The literacy rate in the city is 65.38 per cent and the male literacy rate is 75.85 per cent and females are 54.16 per cent literate. Muslims constitute nearly one-third of the total population of Aligarh city. There are three factors which have contributed to the development of Aligarh. These include the establishment of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) during pre-independence period, the growth of trade through the establishment of light industries, and its demarcation as the district headquarter which gave it administrative importance.


Data Base and Methodology

The present study is based on the primary data generated through field survey and the direct questionnaire to the respondents in the Aligarh city, carried out during the months of January and February, 2009. Hundred beggars were interviewed from various parts of the city (see Table 1) for collection of information regarding their socio-economic characteristics, causes of begging and problems faced by them. …

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