(c) Begging is hard work.
If you don’t believe it, come and try
it! I and many of my officers have begged our food as religious
mendicants, so that we, are able to speak from experience!
It is at best a life of sacrifice, hardship and suffering. And yet
we have practised it under specially favorable circumstances,
particularly those of us who are Europeans. But that there can be
any sort of rest, or ease, or enjoyment in it to those who are
driven to it by the pangs of hunger, unsupported by any spiritual
consolations, I cannot conceive. On the contrary I should say that
the task of the beggar is so hard, and disagreeable not to say
shameful, that the majority of them would leap to do the
most menial tasks that would deliver them from a bondage so
Have you ever solicited help and been refused? Have you known what it is to feel the awful sickenings of heart at hope deferred? Have you known what it is to be regarded with suspicion, with contempt, with dislike, with scorn, or even with pity by your fellow men? If so, you may be able to realise the experiences that every beggar has to go through a hundred times a day, many of them with feelings every bit as sensitive as your own. Will he demean himself and work hard at so miserable a calling and yet be unwilling to do some light work, with which he can earn an honest living? I for one cannot believe it, till I see it.
(d) Our experience further
contradicts it in dealing with the more
depraved, hardened and supposed-to-be-idle criminals and
prostitutes, whom we receive into our Prison Gate and Rescue Homes.
When Sir E. Noel Walker was visiting our Prisoners’ Home in
Colombo he was astonished at the alacrity with which the men
obeyed orders, and the eagerness with which they worked at their
allotted tasks. He asked the Officer in Charge whether he ever
"hammered" them, and was surprised at finding that the only
hammer he ever required was the allsufficient hammer of love.
And yet the gates were always open and they were free to walk out
whenever they liked. Moreover, beyond getting their food and a very
humble sort of shelter, their labour was entirely unpaid.
(e) Finally by means of a
judicious system of rewards and promotions
we should educate and encourage them into working, besides teaching
them industries which would be useful after they had left us.
(3.) But some one else will say “They are thievish and will rob you. They are roguish and will decieve you. You don’t know whom you have to deal with.” Well, if we don’t know them, we should think nobody does! I would answer,