Life becomes difficult for 'infant' woman in land of giants

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Gulbarga, Karnataka, Oct 26 (UNI) For the 22-year-old Rukma Bai, life has become pathetic in the land of giants, like Brobdingnag, portrayed Jonnathan Swift in his great work 'Gulliver's travels'.

But the people of Udhunoor village on the outskirts of the city are no giants, nor she lives in a fantasy world. The problem with Rukma is that despite being fully grown-up she is just two feet tall.

The world has been very harsh on the 'tiny' woman who was crippled after her mother took her to the hospital 21 years ago, for a polio vaccination.

"The polio injection was given to Rukma when she was nine month old and this changed her life. Immediately after the medication, she developed changes. We afraid that polio injection adversely reacted and ruined the life of my daughter," her mother Santha Bai told UNI.

This left Rukma mentally retarded, deaf, dumb and physically disabled. Now she looks and acts like an infant as she neither mentally or physically grown according to her age. She crawls like an infant and eats only if she is hand fed. She can neither talk and hear.

Showing the scar on Rukma's hand, the mother explained that the vaccination was given at a government hospital. After that she developed fever and the disastrous ill effects followed. This inhibited her growth mentally and physically, her mother explained.

"I took Rukma to the government hospital many times. But the doctors could not offer any effective treatment. Now my daughter fully depends on me. I can serve her as long as I alive. Who will take care of her after my death?," the worried mother asked.

The parents of the girl are poor farm labourers and cannot not afford any treatment in private hospitals. Adding to their woes, the authorities have denied the family a BPL ration card due to some technical reasons.

Though the village is located only four km from the city, surprisingly, no official or political leader has visited her family and offered any help.

When contacted, Village Panchayath President Shyamal Rao Patil said he had 'come to know' about the plight of the girl and the family. He assured to bring this to the notice of officials concerned.

UNI DP RS TS1350

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