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Festivals of Midnapore District
Festivals of East and West Medinipur (Midnapore)
Books on Midnapore (Medinipur) District
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The Diary of the Wolf-Children of Midnapore
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Economics of Mat Industry - A study of P.S. Sabang, Midnapore
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Anselm Beaumont - Bangal Merchant (By Dr. P A K Covey-Crump)
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Life of an English Memsaheb in India in the late 19th Century (By Rajeswari Chatterjee)
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LAL JAL Rock Painting
 
 
 

The Diary of the Wolf-Children of Midnapore

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The Reverend J. A. L. Singh -  Missionary S. P. G. Mission and the Rector, The Orphanage, Midnapore, India

Written by The Reverend J. A. L. Singh
Missionary S. P. G. Mission and the Rector
The Orphanage, Midnapore
Midnapore, India.


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These are Singh's diaries, as also published in Wolf-Children and The Feral Man .


to be indifferent and would not even look at first, but gradually commenced to look at them in the indifferent manner peculiar to them.

At times she would bring in dogs and pups and come near Kamala and Amala. They paid more attention to the pups than to the babies or dogs. They watched the pups in all their movements, closely following them with their eyes as long as they were in the room.

Chapter X
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Illness September 7, 1921

This illness took a serious turn. Amala and Kamala remained unconscious for five days from the seventh of September to the eleventh of September, 1921. Our family doctor, Dr. S. P. Sarbadhicari, was called in on the eleventh of September, 1921, Sunday.

Dr. Sarbadhicari, after watching the patients for some time, asked me the conditions of their living and their family history. He said, "Rev. Singh, you are in the habit of picking up these forlorn babies and children, and cannot give any family history, or their parentage. It becomes very difficult for us to treat them, and in most cases our treatment fails, and we get a bad name. You must give me the conditions of life, at any rate, in which they were found. Whether they were actually orphans and were being starved, or whether you found them ill like this, or healthy, or emaciated." Without knowing this much, at least, he said he could not treat them.

Finding the doctor so adamant, I consulted my wife. She said, "You must tell the doctor all he wants to know as far as you can. What is the use of hiding it from the doctor when there is no hope of their recovery?" I agreed and told the doctor the history of the rescue, though much more than that I did not know.

I requested the doctor very earnestly not to divulge the secret. But unfortunately this request only added impetus to his desire for publication. The next day all the families in the town, wherever he went, knew all about the wolf-children in our Orphanage at Midnapore.

September 12, 1921

The disease commenced with Amala first. Diarrhea set in, followed by dysentery. Then round worms appeared on the twelfth of September, 1921. The round worms were six inches long, red in color, as thick as the little finger of the hand, and almost all of them alive. When they were ejected Amala brought out eighteen such worms, whereas Kamala brought out 116. They had fever from the beginning. This wasting disease made them very weak and emaciated, so much so, that it was with a good deal of difficulty that they could move from side to side.

September 6 to 21, 1921

All these days and nights, from the sixth to the twenty-first of September, 1921, Mrs. Singh remained with them at their bedside nursing them, taking temperatures, giving medicine, and feeding them every fifteen minutes with a spoonful or two of barley water, according to the doctor's direction.

September 7 to 11, 1921

Between these dates, they were unconscious, cold, and motionless, only just breathing a little to permit us to perceive that they were living. They just opened their mouths when the spoon containing some drink or medicine touched their lips. They kept their eyes closed all the time and did not open them even once during this illness.

The doctor could not give us any hope at all. Our only help was prayer, and we had recourse to it constantly and commended them to the Lord Jesus, the Lover of children. We requested all our church members to offer prayers for them. The parishioners, group by group, congregated by their bedside to pray daily, either in the morning or evening.

September 15, 1921

Thus the time passed, and Amala's case became hopeless. She left off taking any diet or medicine. Her temperature sunk to 96 on the fifteenth of September, 1921, in the morning. She revived a little at about six in the morning the same day, and her temperature rose again to 102. We were hopeful and thanked the Lord for His mercy thus shown to them. It remained there for a day and then commenced sinking again, never to rise. Amala gave up the ghost on the twenty-first of September, 1921.

September 21, 1921

Thus ended the story of one, but by the blessed Lord's grace Kamala survived to continue her abode with us till the fourteenth of November, 1929. Amala was baptized a little while before she expired, by the same name.

She was buried in the churchyard of St. John's Church, Midnapore, on the twenty-first of September, 1921. Her death certificate ran as follows:

This is to certify that Amala (Wolf-Child), a girl of the Rev. Singh's Orphanage, died of Nephritis on September 21, 1921. She was under my treatment. September 21, 1921.

Sd/-S. P. Sarbadhicari.

Indian Medical Service.

Chapter XI
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Kamala sat musing in the corner
Kamala sat musing in the corner

Association

Something with regard to the beginning of Kamala's mental growth and association with humans has already been recorded. Now we shall deal with its gradual growth from date to date as recorded.

September 21 to 27, 1921

After Amala's death on the twenty-first of September, 1921, Kamala felt lonely. She sat in her corner all by herself for a few days, from the twenty-first of September to the twenty-seventh of September, 1921.

October 29, 1921

On this date she left her corner during the day and commenced crawling to the kids in the house.

November 1, 1921

Kamala went to the kids and took them on her lap, sometimes two together. She was also seen sitting among them.

November 18, 1921

Kamala was seen talking to them and trying to utter words in a prattling manner like a baby of one and one-half years age.

She passed her hand over them very lovingly, and at times, her face brightened up so as to approach a human smile for a passing second. This was noticed on the eighteenth of November, 1921.

She wanted to be with the kids the whole time, and when they went to the pasture, Kamala would come out of her corner very often during the day to see whether the kids had come back. She used to move up and down in this fashion all the time they were absent.

November 21, 1921

After a few days it was noticed that Kamala had devised a new association, by following the fowls in the absence of kids. She would come up to the group of fowls, and when they separated, finding her coming to them, she would choose a particular fowl and follow it out of the house and even throughout the compound of three and one-half acres of land in the orchard, moving in the shade from one tree to another, during the hot sun. It was not that she wanted to catch it and eat it, but simply to follow it wherever it went.

The poultry did not like being followed and did not care for Kamala's company. They would disperse as soon as she came in or followed them. But she would continue to roam after them aimlessly.

December 4, 1921

She also liked the cat and was seen playing with it in a dark room. The cat also liked to be near her for a pretty long time. The cat played with her with its paws, and she played with it with her hands in the same fashion. The cat at times scratched the ground, and she did the same with her fingernails.

Kamala scratching the ground in imitation of a chicken

December 15, 1921

Flying birds she did not like so much. She looked at the pigeons from a distance, but never tried to approach them. When they flew about in the room or in the courtyard, Kamala used to look at them with some sort of fear, if the pigeons flew all of a sudden with the fluttering sound of the wings. On the fifteenth of December, 1921, for the first time, this was noticed to startle her and cause her to shake.

January 18, 1922

Once, on the eighteenth of January, 1922, two pigeons were caught for the table and brought to her in the room where she was. I called Kamala, but she would not respond by looking towards me. Then I took the two pigeons to her, and she put them aside by stretching out her hand. One of the pigeons I let fly, and she gave a peculiar look of dissatisfaction and would not even look at the other pigeon in my hand. She started when the pigeon made a fluttering noise with its wings. The other one was set free from my hand, and I came out of the room, leaving the pigeon there, and shut the door, leaving the windows open; these windows were covered with network, so that it could not fly out. I noticed from the keyhole that the pigeons commenced picking up the few grains I had thrown round about the room. When the pigeon came near Kamala, she got annoyed and would drive it away by raising her hand and making other gestures to show that she did not like the pigeon or its company. She looked puzzled and at times astonished when it flew about in the room to get out. This was noticed on the eighteenth of January, 1922.

We had a hyena cub in the house, and she took to it very readily. When we shut up the cub in its cage, she would come and sit near it and very reluctantly moved from the place when she was wanted for a wash, food, etc.

Summary September 21, 1921, to end of January, 1922

During this period it was found that she did not come so often to the place where she knew the food or drink was kept. She kept to herself or associated with the kids, fowls, and the hyena cub.

It was noticed that the hyena cub also liked to associate with her. When the cub was set free, it used to find Kamala out, searching for her from room to room. She also in her turn, as soon as she came to know that the cub was let loose, would follow it wherever it went.

We found that after the death of Amala she seldom came to Mrs. Singh as she had done before. It was always noticed that Amala gave her the lead to come to Mrs. Singh; Amala first moved towards her and Kamala followed, cautiously watching Amala and Mrs. Singh from a distance. When she found that Amala approached Mrs. Singh continuously and Mrs. Singh behaved lovingly towards her, Kamala used to move slowly towards Mrs. Singh from the place where she had been watching. It was always Amala first, and then Kamala following her.

It had also been found that Amala, the youngest, took to Mrs. Singh sooner than Kamala. Kamala would watch, judge, decide, and then act in such association. It was easy for Amala, being younger, to find that Mrs. Singh's company was pleasant, loving, and motherlike; i.e., she found some of Mrs. Singh's conduct towards them to be of the same nature, to a certain extent, as that of the wolf-mother. She learned to depend upon Mrs. Singh, but Kamala took much longer to acquire this confidence in Mrs. Singh.

September 21 and 22, 1921

Kamala was very much attached to Amala. This was seen throughout, and more so on the day when Amala expired. Kamala would not leave the place and wanted to be with the dead body. She was removed with some difficulty from the coffin, and her face showed a marked change on the occasion. She did not eat or drink anything for two days the twenty-first and twenty-second of September, 1921 except a little water now and then. The water she drank was forced upon her with great coaxing and much endearment by Mrs. Singh. We could see that although Kamala could not speak, she felt the separation very much.

The morning Amala died Kamala at first did not know anything was wrong; she sat in the same room on her bed. She watched Amala for some time, and thought she was sleeping; she came to Amala several times and tried to wake her up by touching her hand and even trying to drag her out of bed. She touched her face, opened the lids of her eyes with her fingers, and parted her lips. Finding her meddling with the body in this fashion, we dissuaded her by coaxing her to come to another room. She did not stay there long, and came back to Amala. Mrs. Singh followed her and kept a strict watch without letting her know. When Kamala found Amala did not get up and did not even move, she left her side and moved away to her own bed. This she repeated the whole day till Amala was removed for burial. There was something, some change in Amala, which Kamala could understand, and she seemed to come to the conclusion that Amala was dead, and two teardrops fell from her eyes. She stuck to the place where the dead body was till Amala was put into the coffin and removed for the funeral.

January 2, 1922

Finding that she was keeping company too much with the kids, fowls, and the hyena cub, we removed the kids from the Orphanage to our farmhouse on this day. Fortunately for Kamala, the hyena cub died soon after on the twentieth of January, 1922.

January 20, 1922

Now, unfortunately, Kamala was left alone in the Orphanage among the orphans and us three, my wife, myself, and our youngest daughter. Kamala became very morose, more so than we had found them both at the very beginning. She commenced to feel the absence of Amala very much.

October 8, 1921

One day, on the eighth of October, 1921, at noon, she was found smelling all the places which Amala used to frequent when alive: the bed, the plate she used to eat from, the clothes, etc. She went even to the garden and roamed about as if searching for something but not finding it. Mrs. Singh tried to persuade her every now and then to come inside the house, but she refused and remained in the garden. She left off following the fowls and went round all the places where Amala had been. The sun was very hot, but she did not mind it. She was panting and putting out her tongue at times, but she remained out and did not enter the dormitory the whole day. We began to fear she would go crazy. At this time I advised Mrs. Singh to massage her for a much longer period than before, twice a day both early in the morning, and in the evening. I am convinced now that the affectionate touch did bring her round to associate with Mrs. Singh, as this effect was seen from the very outset.

 

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