Begging is never a choice: Manoj Kumar
Manoj Kumar hails from a remote village called Barganwa of Pisawan block, about 35 km from
the Sitapur district. He was orphaned at the tender age of seven.
Manoj, 32, is the youngest of five siblings in the family.
With a saddened face, Manoj narrates his experiences. “Nobody is ever
fond of begging; hunger forces one to beg.”
Manoj, since the age of 10, has been spending his life on the
pavements and footpaths of Uttar Pradesh. He has been leading a very
uncertain life, sometimes working as a casual laborer or pulling a rickshaw.
Due to the lifelong struggle, poverty and uncertainty, Manoj, like many others, got
addicted to harmful intoxicants,that also left him incapable of productive work. Due to dire poverty, he
found no friends to stand by him in these times.
“In 2016, I became very sick. I had no one to support me, neither did I
have money to avail treatment. I was not in a condition to work and
earn. Left with no alternative, I was forced to beg people outside
temples. After all, I had to feed myself to stay alive.” Manoj says.
“It was during that time when I met Sharad bhaiya. I had become
extremely weak. He took me to a hospital where I was diagnosed with TB. Manoj feels indebted to Sharad for standing by him and assisting him during the illness.
Manoj Kumar goes on to add that he had almost given up hope on life during
his days of begging and illness. But now, he is in a much better
position; he has set up his own chaat stall and manages decent
earnings. He attributes his newly found livelihood to Mr. Sharad and the Badlav team.