You must have heard of “The Jungle Book” series by Rudyard Kipling. One of the most prominent characters in it is Mowgli. Tarzan is a central character in another series with the same name. Both these characters are feral children.
Romulus and Remus, twin sons of Rhea Silvia and Mars, were also feral children in Roman mythology.
In real life, too, there are examples of feral children. Amala and Kamala in the early twentieth century were feral children from Bengal, India.
What does a “feral child” mean?
Simply put, a feral child is a human child who has grown up away from human contact, oftentimes raised by wild animals. Such children have negligible experience of human behavior and language.
Some feral children have experienced trauma before being abandoned or running away. As they have lived isolated from human society since a young age, they lack basic social skills such as walking upright (because they’ve walked on all fours so far), struggling to learn a human language (as they’ve crossed the critical period for language learning), showing complete lack of interest in the human activity around them, etc.
Feral children used to feature in a lot of myths and legends in the past. Philosophers and scientists were interested in studying feral children to determine if they were a different human species.
Why are we so curious about feral children anyway?
As humans, we are naturally curious. Human beings love to experiment, invent and discover new things. Anything that is infrequent grabs our attention.
We have all seen children in our cities and villages. But the majority of us haven’t seen a feral child. Nor will the majority of us ever encounter a feral child for real. So, we become curious as to how feral children live.
Even if you do encounter a feral child in real life, be kind to them. Just because they do not speak the human tongue or walk on two legs doesn’t make them inferior.
In my opinion, feral children ought to be given the same kindness and care as their peers living amongst us.
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