Immortal.

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I think it was Camille who originally alerted us to the horrific discovery of a baby in Bombay, who had been stabbed almost to death, before being thrown in the garbage.

A newborn Indian baby found abandoned with 26 stab wounds has survived, doctors said on Wednesday, despite a cracked skull and exposed intestines.
The baby boy, who doctors said was aged between one and two days, was discovered soaked in blood at a garbage dump in India’s financial capital of Mumbai on Tuesday, they said.
His intestines were hanging out from a deep wound on his back and he had dirt and garbage stuck on him.
“When he was brought in he looked pale from blood loss,” said Ramesh Hatti, a doctor at a city hospital.
He is still in a lot of pain but is now stable.”
Police have not been able to trace the baby’s parents or establish a reason for the attack.
Babies are sometimes abandoned by unwed Indian mothers, who fear severe social repercussions for having a child out of wedlock. [CNN]

Today, another tipster emailed us an update– via The Mumbai Mirror:

The good news is that the infant is doing well…Dr Oak said he has been taken off the ventilator. “He is able to breathe on his own but he is too young and vulnerable to infection. So, we may keep him in the ICU for a few days,” he said.
The phone has been ringing off the hook, at the hospital.
Many callers were eager to adopt the little one. A woman called up the Mumbai Mirror office and said, “How can I adopt the baby? What is the procedure. How can I help this child?”
According to Madhuri Mhatre, a social worker with an adoption agency called Bal Anand, “Adoption takes a lot of time because we have to be sure that the child goes into a good family. We check the legal, financial and domestic background of all prospective parents.”
In any case, doctors said, it is too early to speak of adoption.

This tiny little fighter is so lucky, so fierce:

A milkman saw the bleeding child in a garbage dump outside Lokhandwala complex at Kandivli (W) on Tuesday morning. He rushed the baby to Bhagwati hospital in Borivli. But since Bhagwati was not equipped to take care of the injured infant, he was sent to B Y L Nair Hospital. Doctors carried out a two-hour operation on Tuesday night to close the wounds and replace lost blood. He was then put on a ventilator.

I get chills every time I read that. How many times did this child slip through death’s fingers…

The state government plans to inquire about the miracle baby now recuperating in B Y L Nair Hospital…
Since government-run children’s homes do not often handle newborns, the department will contact NGOs who have the expertise to do so.
“At the same time, I have instructed my officials to check out if the government-run children’s homes in Mumbai and Pune have the facilities to take care of the baby,” said Dr Singh, who is unhappy about too much publicity being given to the baby’s wounds.

Wait, why?

He says such images can cause distress among citizens.

Oh, boo-hoo. There can’t be enough publicity, if it inspires much-necessary outrage and reasserts the power of shame. The elderly and the newly-born are not garbage, to be disposed of when inconvenient.

79 thoughts on “Immortal.

  1. The 53% stats are very valid and very true. I have friends working with victims of child abuse and they have told me similar things. And like you I too wanted to take it with a pinch of salt. I was projecting my upbringing on to kids I didn’t know anything about. It isn’t an issue of class. Abuse, I hear, is rampant regardless.

    And personally, I feel this kid kicks ass. He is after all “the boy that lived”. Some one please name him Hari Puttar. :)

  2. I hope he will recover well and receive a good home. Anna, thank you for posting these types of stories.

  3. I agree with the doc though. The only reason people seem to be getting all emotional is because someone attempted to kill the baby by stabbing him. There must be so many babies in India that get thrown out like garbage, you don’t hear about them. Nobody gets up to go look for these babies to adopt them.

  4. 53%.. take the statistics with a pinch of salt. I think taking a “naked” photo of your baby and storing it in the computer constitutes “sex abuse of children” in America, but it is quite common in India, I have heard an instance of an Indian family getting into trouble in US when they tried to develop the photos they took of their baby. They have to convince the police that there was no malicious intention etc..

    Also, many adults in India kiss and pinch the genitals of babies as a sign of affection. We’re talking 75 year old grannies here. I doubt they have any malicious intent, however the behaviour looks very strange for those coming from a country where almost any physical affection shown to a baby/child is “suspect” with the child-abuse scare spread the way it is.

    But beyond that, there is also some “suspect” behaviour geared towards children in India that also passes as a “cultural” thing; adult men teasing little boys by pulling at their privates and joking, “yeh kya hai?”. That is definetly borderline, but I don’t think very many people, the children included, would categorize that as “sexual abuse” especially since they may not be informed about what constitutes “abuse” by Indian law or by the norms of other cultures.

    I also think there is alot of “touchy-feely” activity between older kids (teenagers) towards younger ones. I’ve known of cases where teenagers who were coming of age knew nothing about how to deal with their new emotions and physical development because none of their guardian adults were preparing them for that stage in life and outlining to them appropriate behaviour, and so they started feeling up toddlers, which was dismissed by their parents as just a “stage”.

  5. This comment was accidentally deleted:

    52· Ponniyin Selvan on July 28, 2007 09:17 AM
    The 53% stats are very valid and very true. I have friends working with victims of child abuse and they have told me similar things.
    That is true only if you consider taking nude photos of babies and pinching their cheeks as child sexual abuse..

    Wasn’t intentional– very sorry.

  6. 53% Indian kids are sexually abused, but none of them is on this board (and probably no one on this board knows one either). How amazing !!!
    On this board we are all “working to save these victims”…

  7. I mean, as effective as complaining/blogging on the internet is (read: sarcasm), I’m quite sure that close to few are willing to improve Indian society
    On this board we are all “working to save these victims”…

    Unless you know every reader here, and what they do when they aren’t reading SM, stop making derisive comments about how no one “does anything”.

    This could have been an opportunity to discuss post-partum depression (as some attempted to do), the way the other “thrown away in the garbage” thread turned in to a much-appreciated exploration of what “the sandwich” generation can do wrt caring for their elderly family members.

    Or, this could have been a thread where people felt comfortable to say, “That’s horrible, I’m so glad he survived”; anyone with a heart who read this news was touched by it and many wanted to express just that. That’s allowed. No one has to do more than that to prove anything to some anonymous and scornful commenters.

    An open discussion which is respectful. That’s what this blog was meant for– nothing more, nothing less.

  8. here is some info on the “cradle baby” program setup by the TN govt to address the female infanticide & out of wedlock scenarios. At a high level they offer the opportunity to give up children to the state without any legal reprecussions:

    Description of program

    Success in Dharmapuri District in TN

    In the district profiled above, 600 children were abandoned at one particular center between 2002-2003. Only 26 were boys. Out of wedlock shame is mentioned as a cause for some abandonments.Would the parents of these babies dropped them off at temples or on a doorstep instead of killing them had the center not been there ? Who knows, but aside for education, outrage, shame (useful tactics in dealing with female infanticide which is driven by prevailing anti-female attitudes, which is unlikely in this case)it might be the next best thing

  9. 53% Indian kids are sexually abused, but none of them is on this board (and probably no one on this board knows one either). How amazing !!! On this board we are all “working to save these victims”…

    How would you know if someone one this board had been abused or not. Abuse is not something that victims wear on their sleeves. Chances are that some people on this board have indeed been victims of some type of abuse at some point in their lives.

  10. newly-born are not garbage, to be disposed of when inconvenient.

    yeah! that what abortion is for

  11. This could have been an opportunity to discuss post-partum depression

    On that note, how common is it that women suffering from PPD actually commit violent acts towards their infants? Amongst those that do, is there a previous history of violence, mental derangement, or alcohol/drug abuse?

    I ask because I cannot imagine otherwise non-violent, mentally healthy women actually committing violence against their own in times of frustration, although I know that PPD is very real.

  12. yeah! that what abortion is for

    I can’t believe it took this long for someone to make this comment. Yes, taking an innocent life is unwarranted. But this is clearly more about hurting the child than avoiding some sort of family shame or social stigma. It would have been easy for whoever did this to kill this baby in a mere moment. Yet they chose to stab, over and over, and torture the child over what I’m sure were cries of pain.

    Abortion is not an easy decision for most individuals to make, and when one does make such a decision there are indeed consequences, in spite of a clean room, a kind doctor and someone to hold your hand afterwards. In the eyes of many, you’re seen as a murderer, but I’ll still always be the stupid girl that made the stupid mistake with the wrong guy. Not a day goes by where I don’t think “what if”, so if that’s a fitting punishment, then there you have it.

  13. Someone who knows, the comment which you responded to was obnoxious and uncalled-for…and had I not been writing my latest post, I would have noticed it and nuked it myself. I’m sorry. :(

  14. Wasn’t intentional– very sorry.

    No problem.. I didn’t even notice it. Thanks.

  15. “Sepia sympathetic” as I am, what does the rest of the world make of this story?… and that of the grandmother left on the garbage heap?

    I am afraid that most will dismiss India as a “backward” country… “Really… and they have NUCLEAR capabilities?)

    (And, yes, I know that this kind of stuff happens in America, too).

  16. So I posted the news story, and what caught my eye was how awful and disgusting it was. I was nauseous for hours after reading this story. To be honest, I don’t think this is unique to India, and I also think folks bring up good points when they mention that this case is infamous because the child died. The wedlock angle sounded bizarre/inaccurate as well. All that said, I did post the story because it had a distinctly desi angle (which is what I understand SM to be, and personally don’t find that nationalistic). That said, this story is horrific, but I’m glad to hear the little one is recuperating.

    I also cannot believe we got to Godwin’s Principle in under 30 posts. That’s actually really disheartening.

  17. I was so disgusted and upset when I read this story. I am so glad the little fighter is doing better and can only pray he has a full and beautiful life to compensate for his first few days. It’s almost good to hear that the media has adopted him just so they can hopefully root out the monsters who did this. I have to ask though, what would be the Indian (and foreign) media’s reaction if it was a girl baby? I’m sure the angel of a milkman would have taken the same action, but just curious what kind of debate would be re-hashed in the public forum or what kind of attention would be called to those rural villages where infanticide is more rampant? Does it surprise anyone else that the grandmother and baby both called Bombay home? Not that this would be any less tragic were it outside of a big city, but just saying…

  18. what i appreciate most is the title of this post.

    Amen to that. I surprised myself by reaching my hand out to touch his picture on my screen.

    I hope that this innocent child recovers and am heartened by the outpouring of support from people that want to adopt him. It was my first thought before I even got to that point in the writeup.

    As for the “people” that put him in this position in the first place, they will pay one day, if they haven’t already.

  19. I told my mum about the story (when first posted), and after getting over the shock of the violent nature, she said, back in the day, through the villages of Punjab, families would drop their female infants from the roof. If she died, their job was done, but if she survived, she was a “kismet-wali” and therefore was lucky and would bring good fortune.

    THIS IS PATIAAAALAAAA!

  20. How would you know if someone one this board had been abused or not. Abuse is not something that victims wear on their sleeves. Chances are that some people on this board have indeed been victims of some type of abuse at some point in their lives.

    I hope you understand what 53% means. It mean more than 1 in 2 people in India are abused. If that was real than either India is a society of monsters or the data is full of shit. I am amazed at people’s ignorance in basic arithmetic.

  21. well it could be some kinda sacrifice you know. There are still people who believe that if you sacrifice your first born MALE child, you get like a blank cheque from god. There was a case in delhi couple years back, but sadly that baby dint survive the horrors it was subjected to.

  22. So apparently they’ve named him Mrityunjaya (maybe that means ‘victorious over death’?) and he’s still recovering but doing better. Many families have offered to adopt him, and he will eventually go to one of them.

  23. How come word of mouth/word on the street hasn’t been enough to find the culprits?

  24. Since many reasons have been speculated in this thread about the real cause of this baby being killed – here are the real reasons from the news tab :

    … mother had an illigetimate child and was 3 months pregnant when she got married to another person after the real father was not interested in marrying…