I, Kamal, Am Free

By: Sr. Ching Madduma, ICM

It is hard to believe that there are 200 million “Untouchables” in the subcontinent of India, people treated as less than human beings. There is also another group even less visible who are often retarded as even worse off-the seriously handicapped and mentally retarded. Sr. Ching has worked to bring these people out of what she calls ‘the valley of shadow.’ Here she brings us up to date on the story of her little friend, Kamal.

Free from Chains
I, Kamal am free! How I wish he could have spoken these words! Nonetheless, I was touched when our little 12 year old boy from the local unit for children with mental retardation came to our convent compound and grinned broadly as he gestured awkwardly to show that his chains of oppression were gone.

Tuning In

By Sr. Nihita Maria, SSpSAP

A group of Pink Sisters from  the Philippines Sr. Nihita Maria, Sr. Maria Cecilia, pink describe their habit not their politics- started a House of Adoration in Bangalore, India. But before they got there, while still in Bombay, they set up a unique friendship with a Hindu Brahmin Professor.

Now Read on:

His name was Sri Phadnis…
We had apprehensions concerning our future relationship with the Hindu Brahmin Professor who taught us Hindu and Sanskrit. But our fears were quickly dispelled at our first meeting.

Kamal means Lotus (Part III)

Sr. Ching Madduma, ICM
Sarnath, Varanasi, U. P. India

Finally the stage arrives when Kamal begins to recognize people.  This is the turning points in his life. Now a new potential opens up. Read on:

Great Potential
There are many anecdotes and incidents about Kamal that indicate the great potential that still is to be realized in him. He is very curious and observant. He likes to tyro out object he sees around. He needs freedom to develop his own creativity and imaginations. Kamal can be trained to help himself, to be independent to a certain extent.

Kamal means Lotus

By Sr. Ching Madduma, ICM

Sr. Ching, a Filipino missionary in India, continues her beautiful story about bringing handicapped people out of the land of shadows. She discovered Kamal, when he was four years old, chained up and almost abandoned. Slowly he began to work with him – removed his chains and introduced him to wonders of water.

Read on:

First Unit
In the same year I met Kamal, I opened the first unit for persons with mental handicaps at Sarnath Normal School compound. Kamal was enrolled in this unit.

Kamal means Lotus

Sr. Ching Madduma, ICM
Sarnath, Varanasi, U.P. India

The Lotus
Have you ever seen a “Kamal”? “Kamal” is a Hindu word for lotus, a beautiful flower that thrives in water. Because it is beautiful and symbolic, many people would like to have the name Kamal. Parents would like to name a son or a daughter Kamal or Kamala.

They called Him Kamal
Such was the case with a Khurmi couple named Kallu and Jarauti. They called their first born child Kamal. The child was a boy, and so the joy of the family was doubled. Kamal’s parents are poor and illiterate. In spite of the poverty, Kamal was cared for and loved. The family had much hope and many dreams about this promising healthy, good looking baby boy, until he was eight months old.

Shadow People

By Sr. Ching Madduma, ICM
A Filipino Sister working in India

Hidden in Backrooms
Sudha and Kavita are two Indian women- bright, intelligent and ambitious. They are members of a high caste family in India but they are forced to live in the world “world of shadows” because they have a brother and two sisters who were handicapped. Their family is oppressed in silence and sadness. Inside and outside of their home there are no voices to be heard from the intellectually handicapped members of their family. They are voiceless people “without minds”. They are mere shadow hidden in the backrooms!