Two-thirds of India’s population of a billion people live in the nation’s 600,000 villages. Despite India’s economic growth, the disparities between wealth and poverty are enormous. Many villagers migrate to the cities in search of work and end up begging on the streets. South Indian bank manager J S Parthiban set out to do something to help their economic circumstances. He encouraged beggars to open bank accounts in New Delhi, and pioneered micro-loans to villagers in his home state of Tamil Nadu. This is his story—and theirs.