I don’t think Robert specifically accused the grandmother of abuse. . .I think he meant that with so little in place to help the disabled of all ages, but especially children, in India (more ‘second’ than third, but still) and in places where there is poverty or even with riches, a ‘lack’ of care for people, there must be a lot of opportunity for all sorts of abuses. Even abuses which are done with the best of intentions because there is nothing else that can be done. I read the whole article, and the grandmother said that the child ‘runs’ if he is left ‘free’, and that considering he cannot speak, he would not be able to say where he ‘belonged’ and would be at even greater risk than he is now, where (until he was given just now the opportunity for treatment in the shelter) he was at LEAST with family who tried to care for him as best they could. One could see the boy looked clean, clothed, and as nourished as the grandmother herself.
As a mother and now grandmother raising two toddlers, what stuck in my mind was ‘the mother just walked out on the family’. . .
We live in the US. If you have a child with disabilities, you often have SOME help available. Sure, sometimes it is rough. I have family members -father an educator, mother now full time at home --with one child who is only SLIGHTLY autistic, and one child so profoundly autistic that he does not speak, does not walk, and at age 7 just used a spoon to eat (all food must be pureed lest he choke) his meal for the first time.
They have a home, they are comfortable because the one income is fairly decent middle class, and one of them was independently wealthy to start with. . .but do you think that makes it EASY for them to raise much-wanted children who have such struggles in life? Who barely have enough energy to do ‘normal’ work and then have to go on to hours of daily therapy, physical, occupational, speech, etc for two children?
Now imagine that they were ‘ordinary’ people in the US with one person earning minimum wage, and the other having to stay at home. Despite the schools offering some help, there would be no ‘extra’ or respite help unless one could pay for it. Imagine how difficult that family’s life would be, although they would have a cramped apartment and food stamp food.
NOW imagine the same family in India, where one person would have to do everything for those children while the others would not only try to exist on barely nothing, but also have enough just to feed and clothe three people who did not ‘contribute’ to the earnings. . . and you can see how this grandmother was doing the best she could to try to keep the child ALIVE and SAFE, when there was nobody and nothing she could turn to. . .
Here’s where I’m in agreement with you, Robert --in a country like India which is priding itself on taking a bunch of jobs ‘outsourced’ (jobs which used to be filled by Americans, but which can be done cheaper, though nowhere near as well, in India), the social structures which could and should be in place for all citizens of India are so much less than they should be that this article showcases how appalling this is. We keep hearing about how well India is doing at coming into the 21st century and how capable its people are, and this is well and good, I’m all in favor of people everywhere in the world having a chance to be the best they can be. . .but even though the US is by no means utopia in its record of care for the poor, THIS situation in India is shocking, in that for a country supposedly aiming at first world status, people are less cared for than cattle. Very sad.