“Beggars can’t be choosers.” At some point in our lives, we have come across this old proverb, but does that mean, they don’t have the right to choose? Certainly not! Having no source of income or food day after day doesn’t stop them from choosing something good or doing something great.
Such is the story of Narendra Dev, a leprosy patient who begs to survive. He sits at the odd corners in Lucknow and lives at the mercy of others. This humble man believes that this way of life is chosen for him by God.
Sunday was a bit different for Dev as he took 16 other people along with him, all of whom were beggars and volunteered to clean a section of the river Gomti.
While most of us have become self-centered, this group of 17 beggars is doing extraordinary work to protect the environment. While they have pledged to continue this work every Sunday, the beggars have already taken out 10 quintals of plastic waste from the river at Chhath puja ghat along Laxman Mela ground.
Research Scholar Sharad Patel is supporting the group to end beggary and the program is called Badlaav (Change), which aims to work on the rehabilitation of beggars, provide them a livelihood and hopes to make them part of the mainstream society.
While talking to TOI, Patel said, “It is our endeavor to clean the river and since we have formed a rehabilitation service for beggars, we made a proper line-up of service for the river’s cleanliness.” Once the ghat is cleaned, he along with others are likely to take to some other section of the ghats that will require cleaning and, helping more beggars realize that they play an essential role in the society.
Using brooms, shovels and wicker baskets, the group dug out waste from Gomti and piled the garbage for Lucknow Municipal Corporation to clear it on the next day.