In a display of some offbeat entrepreneurship, a begging group in Saudi Arabia comprising of 21 family members was found to be a proud owner of 5 cars including a Mercedes. This info has come forward after they were arrested by the Saudi Arabian authorities after being suspected of illegal begging.
The family used to run its operations in the city of Buraydah, which is the capital of the Al Qassim region in the country. They reportedly had rented a flat in the city and used it as ‘headquarter’ for their operations.
The family members used to stop unsuspecting drivers in order to ask them for help by claiming that they were in urgent need of assistance. It is believe that their modus operandi worked, as is evident by the movable assets they could amass.
Apart from the cars, the police also found 12,049 Saudi Riyals and 150 UAE Dirhams in their possession. This roughly translates into Rs 2.12 lakh in Indian currency. They were also carrying jewellery and residence permits of other Gulf countries, which might mean that their ‘business’ was well and truly international.
Incidentally, cases of ‘rich’ beggars have also been encountered in India. Back in 2007 it was reported how a Mumbai based beggar named Massu or Malana Khan used to earn about Rs 1000-1500 per night while carrying out the activity at the Lokhandwala Complex in Andheri.
Massu used to live in his 1 BHK flat in Andheri West and used to go to a designated spot to change into his begging attire. He also owned another flat, which he had rented out for Rs 8000 per month which was an income over and above his begging. Apart from this, he had money saved in two bank accounts of his.
This concept of people living a dual life, both of a beggar and rather well doing member of the society can be argued to be not a new phenomenon though. In 1891, author Arthur Conan Doyle in his Sherlock Holmes based short story “Man with the twisted lip” had written about a journalist, who became a temporary beggar in order to research for a story. But after earning a lot of money during that time, which eclipsed his newspaper earnings, he decided to make it his permanent vocation. Whether it was real life inspiring fiction back then, or a fiction inspiring real life now is left to the readers.