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PeAcE WiTh GuNs

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Issue Please !

"Issue please"
"Issue please"

I hear this man every morning when I walk to office. I hear him again every evening going back home. He's there rain, shine or snow. He wears a bright orange vest that reads "The Big Issue" and at the back, it reads "Working - Not Begging". I see four or five of them across the city centre. Their faces are familiar now.

I came to the UK four months ago. Now, as an educated human being, I know enough economics to realize that povery is prevalent in every part of the world. I've seen enough poverty back home in India to last me a lifetime but this is something new and inadvertently surprising.

Founded by John Bird, and Gordon Roddick in September 1991, The Big Issue is a newspaper in the UK. The Big Issue was set up as a business to give homeless people the chance to make an income. It campaigns on behalf of the homeless people. It allows homeless people to voice their views and opinions.

To become a vendor you must be homeless or vulnerably housed. However The Big Issue recognise that for many people, being housed is only the first stage in getting off the streets. Therefore if a vendor needs to continue selling the The Big Issue, they may allow them to.

The magazine is produced by The Big Issue Co. Ltd. and is funded by paid for advertising and through sales of the paper to vendors. Financially, The Big Issue is a not-for-profit organization. It is also one of the foremost social businesses in the UK.

The Big Issue Foundation is the registered charity arm of the organisation. It aims to underpin the company's work in providing a legitimate alternative to begging by tackling the underlying causes of individual homelessness.


The poor in the UK get benefits from the council. No one dies hungry on the streets like they do in India. The council provides temporary housing to the homeless. The luxuries of being poor in a developed country.

I think that maybe it would be just as humiliating for these people to be poor as it is for the poor in India. Maybe even more because they do not have huge colonies where there are millions of others like themselves. Maybe they feel like jockeys in a basketball team.

I came here thinking the developed countries have solved all their problems. Guess I was wrong...



  • Guns,

    I am hearing about 'The big issue' for the first time.

    Our Prof in college told us that, he tried taking a few beggars to a home for the beggars and they blankly refusing saying that they made adequate money begging.

    I don't know.

    By Blogger alex, at 4:18 pm  

  • Interesting. Wonder what else people might come up with.

    By Blogger Manasi, at 8:16 pm  

  • thank u for sharing.

    By Blogger Drama Div@, at 3:51 am  

  • I know for so many people....US /UK might look like manna from Heaven....more closer you look into , you find the problems...quite similar reflecting our own.

    I saw this in SFO near big shopping street - there was this old genial looking guy with toothless grin with a chartpaper pasted on his chest and he was shouting " I am up for adoption"

    And guess what - life was just moving on....may be few gawkers like me ( 1st timers) looked at him...and finally walked past by...!
    Yeah ,after sometime all the stuff which goes around you start coming under familiar zone.

    By Anonymous bendtherulz, at 3:47 pm  

  • This is new. neva heard of this before..but definitely an interesting way to work on poverty

    By Blogger Apy, at 10:41 am  

  • Hey, You can see lot of homeless people in North America too. Many really need help from the govt' and the few are left alone drug addcits crazy running around. Poverty exists everywhere.

    By Blogger priya, at 5:42 pm  

  • poverty bein a relative, cud never be wiped off the face of earth...that's what I believe, but the standard of living makes a huge difference... guess the por in the developed world seldom have to go through the super-subhuman condition, people in the developing and underdeveloped countries have to go through. So...

    By Anonymous soulitary reaper, at 3:59 am  

  • We have "The Big Issue" in Australia as well. From what i can see, it seems like a good iniative. I think on every country on earth there is a certain embarressment to be considered poor and having to reduce yourself on being dependent on others.

    I don't think there is a direct solution to poverty, especially in such a capitalist society where everyone cares for the individual and focuses on individual wealth gain instead of community distribution (hehe..not condoning communism!) There is also a skills shortage and when a person doesn't begin with a strong economic base it certainly is harder to get opportunities to work your way up.

    By Blogger Tohou Lidia, at 9:36 am  

  • can u tell me how u changed the header to a personal pic?

    By Blogger Niah, at 8:49 am  

  • Alex: I've heard of people in Mumbai who get a home from the poverty relief schemes of the government and then they rent it out to others and go back to live in the shanties. It is demeaning yes, but they claim they have no other source of livelihood. I am sure education can help. How much, no one can really guess.

    Manasi: Yes, interesting, isnt it? We need more people to devote time to finding solutions than just making statements.

    Diva: No problemo!

    Renu: LOL, I am amazed at the fact that this old timer had a great sense of humour inspite of being in dire straits. A certain respect in porverty - brought about by a sense of humour? Reminds me of the film "Anand" where Rajesh Khanna brings about do much respect to death that he actually makes himself lovable inspite of being terminal. HoPE - drives the world.

    Apy: Ever heard of anything people in your city are doing for poverty? Do inform us.

    Priya: Alcoholism, drugs...these are some of the major contributors to CREATION Of poverty for individuals. I mean, a well settled man can turn from being self sufficient to being a part of the poverty chain by falling prey to either of these devils. They are not responsible for inherited poverty though...the kind of poverty where poor parents cannot educate their children and they grow up to be poor themselves and the cycle continues.

    Kavita: You are correct. The living standards are very different. You wouldnt believe though that there ARE people here who live in the "super-subhuman" conditions that you mention. I mean, on the streets, under streetlights, in dark alleys, people who dig out the trash-bins to find food.....and others.

    Amy: I understand what you say. I know everyone cribs about the popverty and criticizes the government for not doing enough but very few people actually sit down and think up a solution and implement it. THAT is what we need more of.

    Niah: [1]Right click on your current header pic and click "Save As".
    [2] Copy the file-name of the image and save it somewhere.
    [3] Log into your blogger account and go to "Template".
    [4] In the HTML code, hit CONTROL+F and search for the filename that you saved.
    [5] When you find the correct header section where that image is being referred, simply change the URL to that of another image which you have hosted on some other site.


    By Anonymous GuNs, at 11:48 am  

  • everyday i see unemployed.. or really really poor people while goin to school or coming back... those who do not have enuf money to go to schhol.. most dont even hv money to support themselves properly.. and i came to america thinkin things wud be better than india... but the rich are richer and the poor... same....

    By Anonymous Girl, at 11:44 pm  

  • Hey.. That is a brillliant idea! Wow!! The developed countries are innovative in solving issues as these.. I havent heard of these guys before, but, lemme do some research on doing such projects for the poor & homeless in India!!

    By Blogger Aparna.G, at 6:36 am  

  • Welcome to capitalism my friend :) There's not a place in the world where u wont witness something like that. (apart from a select few small, but enormously oil rich Arabic countries).

    Yes I've known about this for a long while now. Incidentally I've seen very few people buy the Issue. They need to put in sleezy pictures and fill it with Page 3 stuff I guess.


    By Anonymous Jedi, at 5:55 am  

  • Poverty is everywhere, the degree varies that's all.
    But I have seen in India also that there are poor people not becasue they can't earn, it's because they DON'T WANT TO earn! Some are plain lazy.

    Well, this world is too complex and is filled with a lot of beyond-comprehension people :(

    By Blogger shark, at 11:09 am  

  • Guns,

    Yes education can help and to a very large extent.

    PS: I did miss your comment.

    By Blogger alex, at 1:47 pm  

  • whts up Guns
    My life has been real busy, for no rhyme and reason ;)
    Anyway hope life's treating u well.
    take care and will b back for more once I am bit free.

    By Blogger BLUEGUITAR, at 2:00 am  

  • hmm..i guess poverty is everywhere..but there, they politely ask u for money and here they'll curse u and ur descendants and ur ancestors if u refuse to pay up.. ;)

    By Blogger Di, at 2:10 pm  

  • This is the first time i am hearing about this. Looks like a good concept.

    problems that the world cofronts are common. The scale and depictions are different.

    Thansk for sharing !

    By Blogger Kavi, at 5:17 am  

  • The idea of having the "If" poem scrolling by is very good.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:58 am  

  • hmmm unless we tackle the population explosion any long term scheme will not work to eradicate povery...its all a vicous cycle that takes large sums of money and a lot of time to break...

    By Anonymous tia, at 5:18 am  

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