Matters India |Tuesday, March 20, 2018
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Girl “Mowgli” found in Uttar Pradesh 

Bahraich: A group of woodcutters foraging in a wildlife sanctuary in northern India had a rude shock when they spotted a girl in a pack of monkeys.

She resembles Mowgli, the protagonist of The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling’s iconic children’s tale.

The child was naked with a mop of matted hair, tanned by exposure to the elements, and claw-like nails. She was at ease with her family of monkeys, but scared of humans. She screamed at anyone approaching her.

She was spotted in January at Motipur range of Katarniyaghat wildlife sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh state. Police officers, who “rescued her,” believe her age is between 8 and 12. Her behavior has made the officers suspect that she was raised by monkeys. She prefers to walk on all fours, and screeches to express herself.

When police approached her, the monkeys surrounded the girl, protecting her as one of their own. They attacked an officer, who sped away in his patrol car.

The girl was admitted to the district hospital in Bahraich, a city on the Saryu River some 130 km northeast of Lucknow, the state capital. She now learns human behavior at the hospital.

Doctors believe the girl had been raised by monkeys for quite some time. Her story has mystified authorities, who now search through reports of missing children in an attempt to identify her.

At the hospital, she is lovingly called “girl Mowgli” after the wolf-raised Jungle Book hero.

“She had wounds on her body. Our priority is to give her proper medical care and look for her parents,” additional superintendent of police Dinesh Tripathi told reporters in early April.

The stay at the hospital has helped the girl overcome her fears, at least a little, says a report in The Hindustan Times.

She has begun to walk normally by herself and eat food with her hands. Occasionally, she smiles, according a hospital spokesman.

“She was unable to communicate or understood any language. She has spent many years with animals and, so, behaved like them,” said chief medical superintendent DK Singh.

“Now she understands signals and is able to identify the ward boy, nurse and other medical staff.”

Singh said he had sought help to put the girl in an institution where she could learn human behavior and language. “But the authorities turned down my request.”

The child is adapting fast to her new environment, though she often gets down on her all fours to move around the ward.

Real-life stories similar to Kipling’s famous tale abound around the world.

A woman in England last year said she had been brought up by monkeys in the jungles of South America after being ditched by child traffickers.

A Ukrainian woman, Oxana Malaya, was rescued from a kennel after being raised by dogs when her alcoholic parents abandoned her as a child. Called a feral child, she behaved like dogs — running on all fours and panting with her tongue out.

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