Bharat Jain, World’s Richest Beggar With A Net Worth Of Nearly One Million USD

Source: Instagram / Rupixen on Unsplash

History, literature, and popular culture are all filled with rags to riches stories, so we are conditioned to expect a happy ending after hearing about someone enduring extreme poverty. When we see the lows, we expect to see the highs, too. But we never expected the highs to be as high as the story of Bharat Jain of Mumbai, India.

Persistent Poverty

Like many people born into poverty on the crowded streets of Mumbai, Bharat Jain makes his living off the kindness of others.

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For 10 to 12 hours every day, Bharat Jain begs for handouts on the streets. Begging has been his only job since he was a child, so it is no wonder that he became good at it. Really good!

Mumbai’s Richest Beggar

Bharat Jain has a knack for finding the best places for panhandling and he has a way of appealing to people’s generosity. While other Mumbai beggars may panhandle all day long and collect only $10, Bharat Jain typically gets three to four times that, or more.

Source: Instagram

Not only is he adept at begging for hand-outs, but Bharat Jain lives frugally, saves much of his income, and invests in real estate. Today, his net worth exceeds one million dollars. He is truly worthy of the nickname the “World’s Richest Beggar.” How did Bharat Jain find such success begging on the streets?

From Humble Beginnings

Life was always difficult for Bharat Jain. He was born into a large, poverty-stricken family living in Mumbai. The family struggled to put food in everyone’s mouths, and there was little money coming in to pay for extras. Bharat and his siblings helped their family make ends meet by panhandling on the streets.

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Because his family was so poor, Bharat Jain was forced to drop out of school at a young age. His family needed him to devote more time to begging for handouts. As a youngster, he didn’t mind missing out on an education, but he realized as he got older that his lack of education meant that his employment opportunities were limited.

Mumbai Is a Wealthy, Prosperous City

Mumbai, India, is one of the most prosperous cities in all of India. It is the country’s financial capital and the headquarters of many of India’s major businesses. Major financial, information, technology, and manufacturing companies make their home base in Mumbai. It is also the hub of India’s entertainment industry, which is nicknamed Bollywood.

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Some of the wealthiest families and individuals live in Mumbai. The city is known for its upscale neighborhoods, posh shopping districts, vibrant nightlife, and luxurious lifestyles. For all its glitz and glamor, Mumbai is a city of stark contrast. There is extreme poverty alongside extreme wealth.

The Slums of Mumbai

Mumbai has its share of problems and one of them is its significant economic disparity. Many parts of the city are packed with slums and overcrowded with people living well below the poverty line. These people lack housing, jobs, and educational opportunities. Access to basic services is difficult.

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In Mumbai, there is a large percentage of the population that does not have the means to earn a livable wage. This was the situation facing Bharat Jain for most of his life. He was not afraid of hard work …. he just couldn’t find a good-paying job. He was more successful as a beggar.

The Life of a Beggar

On a national level, India does not criminalize begging. In some parts of the country, however, local government agencies have passed laws against panhandling. The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act of 1959 is one of the best known of these laws and this legislation has been used as the standard for other municipalities who seek to ban begging.

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This act defines the act of begging and notes that people who offer a form of entertainment, like singing, dancing, or fortune telling, in exchange for cash donations are still considered beggars. Likewise, a person who uses his or her deformity, handicap, or sickness to play on the sympathies of others is also a beggar and therefore, subject to arrest or detainment.

For Bharat Jain, It Is Location, Location, Location

Bharat Jain didn’t use a gimmick like singing or flaunting a disability to solicit handouts. Instead, he picked strategic locations for his panhandling activities. One of his favorite spots is outside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, formerly known as Victoria Terminus, is bustling with tourists and commuters around the clock.

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The other lucrative location that Bharat Jain frequented was Azad Maidan, a sports complex that was once known as the Bombay Gymkhana Maiden. The facility hosts cricket matches, festivals, political rallies, and more. When Azad Maidan is hosting a cricket match or other event, there are plenty of people milling around that are willing to donate to panhandlers.

Building His Wealth and Assets

Bharat Jain slowly increased his daily take from panhandling. Over time, his monthly income reached about $900, which is a decent income for someone in the slums of Mumbai. He brought in enough money to allow him to build a savings nest egg.

Source: Rupixen on Unsplash

With his savings, Bharat Jain was about to purchase a two-bedroom apartment in Mumbai. In addition, he owns two retail buildings that he purchased as investment properties. These two rental properties provide him with another revenue stream. As his wealth grew, Bharat Jain continued to do what he does best … beg.

Balancing Life as a Family Man with Begging

Bharat Jain is a married man with two sons. He has been able to support his family with the income he collected from begging. When traditional means of earning an income failed him, he found a way to provide for his wife and children.

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Although he was not able to complete his own education, Bharat Jain earned enough money as a beggar to enroll his sons in school. Both of them have finished their schooling and, it is hoped, that this will allow them to break the cycle of poverty that plagues the Jain family for generations. It may seem like the family is living in prosperity, yet Bharat Jain still hits the streets every day and devoted up to 12 hours a day to panhandling.

Begging Is All He Knows

Bharat Jain is a millionaire and has a steady income from his rental properties. But he continues to beg. His family has questioned this. They have even asked him to retire from panhandling, but he refused to give it up. Why?

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Perhaps it is because begging is all he knows. It has, after all, been his lifelong career. It could also be that Bharat Jain has developed a sense of community with other Mumbai beggars and he finds fulfillment from spending his days on the streets. Of course, it could be that he likes getting handouts in lieu of working.

A New Look at Begging

As the story of Bharat Jain’s financial success became public knowledge and newspapers printed accounts of his achievements, it opened conversations about panhandling, poverty, and income inequities. In fact, his story shines a light on the plight of people living in the slums of Mumbai.

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But other people questioned the ethics of Bharat Jain’s continued panhandling when he clearly no longer needs to beg. They argue that people give money to beggars because they feel bad for them and want to help them be able to buy food for themselves and their families. To them, Bharat Jain is deceiving people and taking advantage of their generosity and compassion.

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Isabella Thornton

Written by Isabella Thornton

Isabella Thornton - Unearther of Forgotten Stories

Isabella is an accomplished writer and dedicated researcher with an insatiable curiosity for unearthing hidden historical gems. Her writings shed light on overlooked individuals and events, adding depth to the tapestry of history. Isabella's commitment to authenticity and her storytelling prowess make her a true historian through words.

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