This picture was published in The Nation newspaper on March 04, 1998. Writing about this picture printed on March 08, 1998 I don’t even know whether the old man is still alive but the caption and the picture inspired me to write about his struggle and his strength.
My View Of The Picture:
Published on March 04, 1998 but it feels like the continuation of my last post titled “Light Moments”. The picture has been given beautiful narration “This poor almond seller not only earning livelihood but also taking care of himself”. This is what I mentioned in the closing of my last post about thinking positively and not letting the pains of your life overcome you. In the picture the old man, might be in late 70s or even in 80s, is doing his best to drag himself through life. He is still working hard at this old age. The reasons for working hard at this age could be many but the important thing is that he is still trying, which is far better than begging for alms.
Two thoughts arise here. First, the old man is too old to work hard for his livelihood therefore the state should be responsible. Second thought, whatever the condition or circumstance maybe one should make an effort where possible to avoid the humiliation of begging. I agree that it’s the state’s responsibility to take care of elderly people however, if the state is not taking responsibility for any reason it’s still better to work instead of begging. But I favour more the latter option. Why? Whether the acting government is bad or good we, at an individual level, should try our best to refrain from begging
Nations can neither rise nor be considered respectable where beggars are more than the givers. We should remember that beggars are not choosers. Begging can’t be eliminated totally for many reasons but it’s all about percentage. If the percentage of beggars is more than givers it means that it’s hard for a nation to stand against atrocities of powerful nations because as a nation they prefer to beg instead of work hard and if nations don’t work hard they can’t be in the position to dictate others. Around the world third world countries are facing this problem.
At an international level beggars also play the role of workers. Givers are there to give money and beggars are there to attract as much as they can. But givers are not really generous; they want something in return for their alms since nothing is free in this world. Sometimes, when a giver crosses his limits and demands something unacceptable from a beggar, the beggar starts shouting. This is the point where the giver wonders why the beggar is not living up to the donor’s expectations because, after all, the donor has paid for something (beggar’s appreciation). Remember the golden rule “nothing is free in this world”. So ultimately the beggars must accept “unacceptable” demands of the giver because future alms are conditional upon fulfillment of the “unacceptable” demands.
We should learn a lesson from this old man in the picture to fight till the last and not to beg from others. Though I think in all religions and especially in Islam begging is a curse, an instruction which we take for granted. Though this old man’s earnings might be very low, one thing for sure is that he has earned high pride.