Finding peace in hard-earned money (Vijay Bahadur)
In the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, 7-year old Vijay Bahadur
would travel with his father to the capital city of Lucknow on a
bullock cart. While his father was busy selling hay to his customer,
he did not realize when his son unknowlingly drifted away while
playing around him. His father frantically started searching for him,
and at the end of the day, when the child wasn’t found, he had to give
up and head home.
As soon as Vijay Bahadur realised that he had come far away and his
father was nowhere around, he started searching for his father but
despite searching a lot, there was no hope. then sitting in this
place started crying loudly. As the night was falling, his young mind
was flabbergasted with panic. He felt very hungry , looking for his
father. There, he spotted a temple where food was being distributed.
Helpless, he too joined that line; little did he know that he would
have to do the same for the next 35 long years of his life. Neither
did he know the he would be begging and spending his days on the
But today, things have changed for Vijay Bahadur. No longer does he
have to resort to begging or standing in queues at temples for food.
Today, he is still struggling, but with a sense of dignity and self
respect. 42- year old Vijay Bahadur has left behind his life as a
beggar and now pulls a rickshaw for a living.
“ That day I unknowingly drifted away from my father’s bullock cart
and eventually lost my way. I could never find my father again. I
started eating free food distributed at temples. I waited day and
night in the hope that someone would come to fetch me, but I never saw
my family since. Unable to find work for a living, I had to resort to
begging,” says Bahadur, clearly emotional in his tone.
Looking at his rickshaw, Vijay says, “Today I work hard all day and
manage to earn Rs. 150 a day. Gone are the days when I had to stand in
queues at temples to get something to eat. I used to hear taunts that
in spite of being young, this useless fellow is begging around. Last
year, a helpful gentleman inspired and encouaged me to earn my living,
thus I pull a rickshaw now. Since I earn my money, I can live with my
head held high with dignity.”
Vijay Bahadur sometimes blames it on his own luck for his misfortune
and sometimes his family members. Recalling the gloomy days, he says,
“I did not get a home and family during childhood and did not even get
good upbringing.”Due to lack of education and skills, he became a
beggar. People threw him money and he started getting used to it. He
was even forced to get into consuming intoxicants as he was surrounded
by bad company.
He goes on to say “I didn’t get good nourishment since the age of
seven, and had to fill my stomach with bitterness. now therefore
There is not much power left in my body to drive a rickshaw, but it is
better to earn with dignity than to stand for hours in want of free
food. During the day, I do not find many riders so I ferry some
children to and from school. That fetches me Rs 1500 a month, enough
to buy meals for the month.”
Vijay Bahadur is not the first person who left begging and start a
life of dignity.
Just like Vijay, there are around 209 others who used to beg for a
living, but now they fulfill their needs with hard earned money of
their own. Today, Vijay is living a much better life with his two