The are over four lakh people in India who make a living begging and several accounts by foreigners will tell you that they've been harassed at some point by beggars during their stay in India. Several media reports suggest that many of the people living off alms even own flats and cars.
But, there are also people like 73-year-old R Selvaraj, a man who begs for money to transform the lives of underprivileged kids in his locality.
What Selvaraj, a resident of Karunanidhi Nagar in Chennai, makes begging on buses plying between Madurai and Tirupattur, he spends on stationery for students in his neighbourhood who can't afford it. He has been helping the underprivileged since 1968 after he witnessed poor families struggling to afford education for their kids.
An Economics graduate, he worked at a cycle shop as a mechanic but had to give it up due to his health. He was then forced to beg for a living.
"But only after 2006, when I didn’t get any job, including even in the cycle shop, I started imploring people for alms for the welfare of the students," he told The New Indian Express.
"If a student wants a bag, I try to get it. When I do such an act, it gives me immense satisfaction," he said.