I first met him when he was about eight years old. He has a twin sister. He has autism and cannot speak. He has no behaviour problems, but his parents found it difficult to look after him. They lived is a far away country and chose to leave him to grow up in an institution for the mentally challenged. The parents provided the material things and went away. Fortunately for him his caregiver looks after him with love. He has learnt to do things by himself. He believes the caregiver to be his mother. We wonder at the feelings of his parents. Recently, his mother and sister came to be with him. His twin sister was seeing him after two years, and he did not recognise her. His mother behaved like a polite stranger. I don’t think he was worried about that. He calls his caregiver his mother and expresses his affection at unexpected moments. Did his disability alienate his mother?
Human beings are really strange. They are supposed to have the faculty of reason, emotions and feelings, but many a time they just do not recognise these in other people.
I was reading about child prostitution in the newly formed state of Telangana in south India. Young girls are sold and forced into prostitution at a very young age. They are manipulated and tortured at every step. And women do this. We read that many have been rescued from the horror that was life for them. Doctors say they need a lot of psychological support to help them overcome the trauma. I wonder if they can ever forget the life of terror and torture. Don’t the perpetrators have any feelings?
This lack of feeling and the greed for money makes people forget that their victims have a life of their own to live on their own terms. I am reading A Sense of the World by Jason Roberts. It is a biography of James Holman who lived in the first half of the 19th century. He was also called ‘the blind traveller’. He had travelled all over the world. He was in Africa too and ran into slave trade which was actively being carried out between that continent and the Americas. This was very profitable for the slavers. He learnt that Africans helped to capture fellow-Africans to sell them to the slavers. James Holman wrote, “the slavery the African endures in his own country, where all things conspire to oppress him, is of worse character than that which he suffers under a different rule.”
It really troubles me to acknowledge the bitter truth that only human beings take pleasure in being cruel for its own sake, and do not think twice before betraying those who trust them.
James Holman – Wikipedia
James Holman FRS (15 October 1786 – 29 July 1857), known as the “Blind Traveller,” was a British adventurer, author and social observer, best known for his writings on his extensive travels.