Grandmother Tethers Disabled Boy to Bus Stop in India


A photograph of a 9-year old Indian boy tethered to a bus stop in Mumbai has drawn outrage from Indians about the lack of resources for the disabled, according to Getty Images.

Lakhan Kale cannot hear or speak and has cerebral palsy and epilepsy. His grandmother cared for him and when she worked selling toys and flower garlands on the roadside, she tethered the child to a local bus stop, according to Getty. At night Kale’s grandmother tied his leg to hers, so she would know if he ran off.

Pictures of the boy lying listlessly on the ground were printed in the local newspapers this week and drew outrage from readers. After the photos were published, local authorities intervened, according to the Times of India.

The boy has since been taken to a children’s shelter.

I can only imagine all the extreme abuses that exists in third-world countries.


I don’t believe that India classifies as a third world country, and as sad as this article is, I don’t believe it was the intent of the grandmother to harm/abuse her grandson.

p.s. I hope that this child finds some way to cope with his disabilities, while at the same time he is offered love and a peaceful/stable environment to grow in.


It’s not just third world countries. Abuse is prevalent throughout the world.

In lesser developed, rural areas throughout the world, disabled children can be regarded as possessed or damaged, and therefore not worthy of adequate care. In that light, the grandmother who tied him to her body at night was making sure he didn’t run off. She did not know of (or have access to) resources for the boy.

Compare that to the story of the couple in Virginia who treated their daughter with cerebral palsy horribly: (note: colorful language)


The sad thing is that it sounds like the grandmother was doing her best to care for the boy in the only way she knew how to make sure he didn’t run off/harmed himself in anyway. Now he is in care :frowning: I don’t think she meant harm for the boy.


While I am not trying to justify the grandmother’s actions, I also do not believe that she intended to harm him. Regardless, it wasn’t a good thing that this happened.

Anyway, it sounds to me like they need more resources and help for the handicapped and their caretakers in India.


The disgrace doesn’t belong to the grandmother; who was clearly doing her best for the child, but to a nation which, rich as she is, does so little to care for her weakest citizens! Shame on Mother India and the people who govern her!


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.


:thumbsup: Yes, it’s understandable what she did, and she did not seem to have any other alternative, but it was still very abusive towards the child.

LOVE! :heart:


Praying for this boy & his grandmother.


Yes, according to the Indian newspaper which made the story known to the West, the grandmother was acting honorably:

Nine-year-old Lakhan is a pavement dweller who suffers from cerebral palsy and seizure disorder. His father died four years ago; a few months later his mother went missing. As a routine, Kale’s grandmother, Sakkubai Kale (66) and his sister, Rekha (12), used to tie him to a pole at the bus stop near Mantralaya before going to work for fear of him wandering off or being run over. “I tried to admit him in a few shelters but they refused to entertain me,” Sakkubai said.

Two days ago, a daily printed a picture of Lakhan with his leg tethered, after which a team from Marine Drive police station brought in Lakhan’s family for questioning and, later, took them to meet social worker Meena Mutha. On Wednesday, with the help of Mutha, police sub-inspector SG Phanse and sub-inspector Santosh Tore were able to admit Lakhan to The Children’s Aid Society, a shelter for destitute, orphaned and victimised kids in Dongri.


India is not the basket case it was, say 40 years ago, but it is very far from being a first world country. Although a veneer of wealth and prosperity does exist, and is presented to the world, most of India does not share in its blessings.

India was once described as a BRIC country (Brazil, Russia, India and China.) The designation referred to under-developed countries which were on the verge of breaking into the first world. However, the man who came up with the BRIC term more recently admitted that India should not have been included. He based his projections of economic statistics which turned out to be a temporary blip.

Consider that India has had a major Communist insurrection for many decades which the government has been unable to stamp out. This Maoist rebellion operates in a sizable portion of Indian territory. I will quote from a 2006 news article: (the situation hasn’t remarkably changed, and I am too lazy to find a more recent news article.)

In nearly 1,600 violent incidents involving Naxalites last year, 669 people died. There have been spectacular attacks across a big area: a train hold-up last month involving 250 armed fighters, a jailbreak freeing 350 prisoners, a near-miss assassination attempt in 2004 against a leading politician. “Naxalism” now affects some 170 of India’s 602 districts—a “red corridor” down a swathe of central India from the border with Nepal in the north to Karnataka in the south and covering more than a quarter of India’s land mass.

This statistic overstates Naxalite power, since in most places they are an underground, hit-and-run force. But in the Bastar forest they are well-entrenched, controlling a large chunk of territory and staging operations across state borders into Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. In the tiny, dirt-poor villages scattered through the forest, the Indian state is almost invisible.

In one there is a hand-pump installed by the local government, but the well is dry. There are no roads, waterpipes, electricity or telephone lines. In another village a teacher does come, but, in the absence of a school, holds classes outdoors. Policemen, health workers and officials are never seen. The vacuum is filled by Naxalite committees, running village affairs and providing logistic support to the fighters camping in the forest. For the past year, those fighters—mostly local tribal people—have been battling not just the police and the six paramilitary battalions deployed in the district, but their own neighbours.


Well what else is she supposed to do? I think there are some who need to stop feeling so high and mighty and, dare I say, culturally superior… :slight_smile:


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