Sunday, October 4, 2009

Beg Your Pardon, Gov'ner

Dharmveer Bhoora, mayor of a small Indian village, earns his living by begging.

Bhoora has been mayor of Khaikheri, too small to be on Google Maps, is a rural village of 10,000 people, since 2004 when several of the residents, tired of the corrupt behavior of the sitting officials, convinced him to run. Although initially nominated in order to insult others, Bhoora has remained popular enough to stay in office for five years.

He is frugal, using any extra money after taking care of his family to help improve the village infrastructure. The village receives 500,000 rupees from the state each year, but the 30-year begging veteran brings in more than twice that much from the streets.

Says resident Manki Devi, "If we leave the developmental work carried out by Bhoora in the last four to five years, we will have nothing to count on in terms of development,” adding, "when Bhoora begs, we donate open-heartedly. We know him very well. From his alms, he keeps only what he requires for his family and the extra is spent on the development of the village."

And Bhoora has no intention of stopping any time soon:
"From metalled roads to public toilets, the installation of street lights and the construction of community centres, I have made all this possible from the money I made out of begging only. Taking this into account, I will continue with this practice."


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