This is The Real-Life Mowgli
The story from Jungle Book isn’t fiction. It’s based on a real person, a real man-cub
When Rudyard Kipling wrote the Jungle Book in 1894, few understood where his inspiration originated from. The story follows the journey of a wild boy called Mowgli, who grew up among wolves without any human contact.
While the friendship with Baloo, the Bear, and facing off against the tiger Shere Khan were fictionalised, the tale of a feral boy walking on all fours and under the care of wild beasts was not.
In Jungle Book, Mowgli eventually finds a human village and makes the decision to return to his own people. And while the real Mowgli did make his way back to civilisation, it was not quite the same happy ending.
This is the story of the real-life Mowgli. The story of Dina Sanichar.
In February 1867, a group of hunters were scouring the hills of Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh in search of prey. They came to a cave and what they found shocked them. It was not a small deer they saw, but a small boy, and he was surrounded by what looked like a pack of wolves.
He was only around six years old and was sleeping amongst the wolves as though he really were a man-cub. The hunters, concerned for the boy’s safety, decided to carry him out of the cave, but they soon discovered that he could not speak or understand what they were saying.
All he did was growl and look at them with sad eyes as though he was being taken away from his family.
The boy was taken to Sikandra Mission Orphanage, and it was assumed that his parents had been killed by the wolves he was sleeping with. Appearing malnourished and stunted, he was given some food, but he would not eat anything, not even a morsel.
He was given the name Sanichar but throughout his life, he could not even say his own name. That’s because the orphanage staff soon realised that this was not just any orphan; he was a feral child. A child that had grown up with no human contact and was incapable of speech. There comes a critical point in a child’s development where if language is not learned by a certain age, then the child can no longer learn to speak.