Human beings or Animals?

Joseph Conrad, the Polish-born English novelist once wrote, “The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.”

I am convinced of  the wickedness of the human race when I read news reports like this one which states that mentally challenged girls staying at an orphanage in Kalamboli are being sexually abused.

A routine visit by a panel set up by the Bombay High Court to inspect the functioning of orphanages in the state opened up a can of worms after the committee submitted a report alleging sexual abuse of mentally-challenged minor girls staying at the Kalyani Mahila Bal Seva Sanstha orphanage located in Kalamboli, Navi Mumbai.

The report said that there are 19 mentally deficient girls in that orphanage and it is believed that their security and well-being are at serious risk.

The committee wrote in their report that the caretaker of the sanstha, who is hearing-impaired, seemed mentally disturbed herself, and was thus incapable of managing the girls. What is further shocking is that the report states that around seven girls had died since 2003, but no appropriate records have been maintained and the reasons for their death are not clear.

I was shocked at this report, but not surprised, since these type of news reports are becoming more and more common. Every few weeks we read about sexual abuse of women in private or state-run Homes, of mentally challenged women, of minor girls in orphanages.

In short, sexual abuse seems to take place wherever the abusers feel they can get away with it. Usually the women caretakers of the Homes are hand-in-glove with the men who take advantage of the women staying in these homes.

How can human beings commit such atrocities, I wonder?  Or have they sunk so low that it is a stretch of imagination to call them human at all?

There is a subhaashit that aptly sums up the situation .

आहारनिद्राभयमैथुनं च सामान्यमेतत् पशुभिर्नराणाम्।
धर्मो हि तेषां अधिको विशेषो धर्मेण हीनाः पशुभिः समानाः॥
 Eating for sustenance, sleep, capacity for fear, and sexual activity, these four are common to both animals and humans. The only extra distinguishing characteristic that humans have is Dharma. Unless a person conducts these four activities within the limits of Dharma, he is no different from an animal. Humans without Dharma are the equivalent of animals.


  1. Shocking as that news report is, it reveals nothing new. It only uncovers what many of us never get to hear about, but has been going on since time immemorial. I don’t remember the TV channel, perhaps it was Star News, that had done a program on flesh trade flourishing right here in Delhi. Listening to some of the pimps and middle men and women was a chilling experience. Totally devoid of any feelings, they were going about their business as if the girls, even boys, they were trading were either lifeless objects or feeling-less fish we feed on every day. The ruthlessness and cruelty one saw came as a shock.

    Yes, only dharma distinguishes humans from animals. But the harsh reality is that this is Kalyug.


    1. Kislay, I think that the sample group in this study is far too small to reach such a conclusion. The situation is bad, but I hope not as bad as this.


  2. These are just animals and more and more human-animals are being generated everyday, Manju.

    My neighbour’s relative is mentally retarded but the parents are reluctant to admit her in a home (they are quite well-to-do and can afford to admit her in a private home), but they found out in 4 homes, what you said were happening. She cannot walk but the mother carries her (the girl is 19 and a bit tiny) if she has to go to some function and we are familiar with the girl now. To be on the safer side, she has removed her uterus.


    1. I know a family in this same situation, too. What anxiety the parents must be feeling for their daughter’s future!

      It is good that the parents you have mentioned, take her with them to functions, so she can get accustomed to interacting with other people.


  3. Manju, I like your posts because you manage to weave in spirituality to whatever topic you write on. You are right about humans losing their dharma. In this world today, self is the most important and gratification of the senses is given highest priority. What can we expect then? As if men begin depraved is not enough, now women want to compete in that department too, since it is all about being ‘equal’ and getting their ‘rights.’


    1. Thank you!
      Yes, it’s depressing to see everywhere that gratification of the senses has become the most important thing. Have we gone so wrong as a society that this should be the situation? 😦


  4. We can neither provide adequate facilities for the handicapped or the challenged individuals in our country. Elsewhere they have such wonderful support. And in the so called homes meant for them, there are atrocities like these.


  5. That is probably why parents prefer to take care of them at home, as in the case Sandhya mentioned. This will be increasingly difficult, though, as nuclear families become the norm.


  6. its very sad but nothing new..our politicians are not interested in administration anywhere..I think the only hop is to start as an individual and then make our family and people surrounding us sensitive and moral.


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