It is a tale worthy of Rudyard Kipling himself; a real-life Jungle Book story has emerged from a remote wilderness reserve in India. In Kipling’s book, a naked human baby is wandering the woods and goes near a wolf den. The father wolf decides to adopt the “hairless man-cub” to save him from a vicious tiger. The boy, later named Mowgli, is raised by the wolves.
In a case of life imitating art, in January forest rangers in the Katarniya Ghat forest range of northern India rescued a girl who is said to be a real-life Mowgli. Or is she?
10. Monkey Protectors
The forest rangers said that when the girl was first spotted, she was surrounded by monkeys but seemed to be completely relaxed with them. During the first attempt to extricate the girl from the woods, the rescuers were chased by the irate apes and fled, leaving the mystery girl behind.
9. A Frantic Rescue
A second rescue attempt by forest rangers was more successful. On this occasion, although the girl still appeared to be protected by the monkeys, officers were able to get her into their car.
It was not all smooth sailing though; the monkeys did chase the car and forced the rangers to flee at speed.
8. Unable To Tell Her Story
The girl, who is still without a name, has been living in the Bahraich hospital in northern India since her liberation from the forest.
First reports said she was unable to communicate except through unintelligible grunts and snorts, but she did appear to have some level of understanding of human speech. Better news about this comes later on slide 4.
7. Her Age Is Unknown
An estimation of the girl’s age varies according to which report you read, with some suggesting she could be as young as six or seven and others placing her in her early teens.
However, most reliable reports seem to agree that she appears to be somewhere between 10 and 12 years old.
6. From Four Feet To Two
When she was first spotted in the forest, the Mowgli girl was seen to move around on all fours with an awkward gait and most of her weight apparently on her arms and hands.
Since being at the hospital and receiving physical therapy, the girl’s ability to move has increased significantly, and she is now walking on two feet.
5. Learning To Eat
Upon arrival at the hospital, the girl was given food on a sectioned tray and immediately dumped it upon the floor before jumping down to lap it up off of the tiles.
Progress was slow. She tipped food onto her bed for a while, but now she is eating from a plate, using her hands to carry food from her tray to her mouth.
Discover what she is up to now on slide 2.
4. Learning To Trust
Mowgli-girl is still very frightened of most people, but is said to have begun to trust some of her nurses, even smiling at them from time to time.
If anyone else approaches her, she is said to shriek and move backward away from them in an apparent show of fear.
3. Battered And Bruised
The girl’s legs are said to very emaciated with little in the way of muscle development or strength. The opposite is true for her arms which are reported as being very strong with a well-established muscle mass.
Her body is covered in marks and bruises and contusions of every type.
2. A Curiosity
Doctors finally declared they had done everything they could for her medically during her stay in the hospital; the Mowgli-girl has since been transferred to a children’s home for further care. Here she receives constant visits from curious locals who crowd around, anxious to see the child who has been raised by a troop of wild monkeys.
1. The Truth Comes Out
Despite the fanfare and the hype about “India’s real-life Mowgli,” an altogether much sadder story has emerged.
It now appears that the stories from the forest rangers were greatly exaggerated and while the girl may have been among monkeys when they found her, it is unlikely she had been there for more than a few days at the most.
The girl is now thought to have been abandoned very recently by her parents. Doctors have said she has multiple physical and mental disabilities which are viewed with a large amount of shame in many areas of India. On top of the fact that she is disabled, girls are considered undesirable by families as they leave home to live with their husbands and no longer contribute to their parents home. Boys, however, look after their parents in their old age.
This story is nothing more than an example of the ways girls, in general, are unwanted in India, and having multiple disabilities, Mowgli-girl would always be considered a burden to her parents, so they abandoned her to die in the forest.
What do you think will happen to Mowgli-girl next?