Books and movies tend to put a dreamlike feel to what in reality would be pretty horrific stories and the story of the very real Mowgli girl discovered in India in January is a ready example of that.
Villagers in India’s Uttar Pradesh state discovered a little girl walking on all fours and communicating in screeches as she was integrated with a group of monkeys in the forest of the Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuary.
She was nicknamed the Mowgli girl after being extricated in January and taken to a hospital. The nickname is based off Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book which told the story of a child growing up among wild animals, bereft of human contact. The book has since been debuted on screen and other cinematic endeavors in that line show that the idea captivates different people the world over.
It is no wonder then that the story of the Mowgli girl has gained national and international attention. Reports have it that when she was brought to the hospital, the girl (believed to be between eight and 12 years old) did not behave like normal humans and could not speak like humans. This was believed to be as a result of the length of time she spent among the monkeys.
The Mowgli Girl was not raised by monkeys
Other people have, however, disputed that conclusion, saying that there is a possibility that the girl is mentally challenged, a conclusion that has not been ruled out by the medical personnel whose care she is currently under.
New evidence coming out is swinging more towards proving the deferring view. For one, authorities say the girl, named Ehsaas by them and moved to a shelter in Lucknow, couldn’t have lived in the wild undetected for so long. Divisional forest officer Gyan Praksh Singh told the Hindustan Times;
“It’s not possible that a girl spends years in the forest and no staff or (the) 100s of cameras installed for security and animal census notice her, … She might have been dropped here sometime before being spotted by the patrol team.”
Singh also spoke to the Guardian about the apparent disabilities that Ehsaas has which may have been the reason for her abandonment;
“I think the family members of this girl had been aware that she is not able to speak, and they may have abandoned her near the forest road, … It is clear from first-time view, if you see the girl, that she is only eight or nine years old, but her facial expressions show that she is disabled, not only mentally but also physically,”
A possibility that is even sadder are reports that suggest Ehsaas may have been abandoned by her family simply for being a girl. Female foeticide is still a real issue in India and adding the burden of disability to a girl child in a country where struggling parents often do not see the value of a girl child, puts such a child at a huge disadvantage.
While Ehsaas is said to be content and gaining strength in her new home, the search is on for her parents. A man claiming to be her uncle actually paid her a visit at the shelter, but authorities are unconvinced by his claims.