37 years on, boy adopted by Germans meets mother
November 18, 2010
Mumbai: After 17 years of litigation, Arun Dohle, an India born-German national, was reunited with his biological mother in Pune on Wednesday.
Dohle, now 37, was adopted by a German couple when he was two months old. He was curious about his roots since he was 14 and suspected he was given away without his mother's consent.
Dohle's mother had surrendered him to Kusumbai Motichand Mahila Seva Gram as he was conceived before marriage. The Supreme Court in August allowed him access to records maintained by the organisation. This led to people, places and, finally, his mother.
When Arun Dohle, India-born German national, started on his mission to find his biological mother, it seemed an impossible task. But after 17 years of litigation and connecting several dots, thirty-seven-year-old Dohle was reunited with his mother in Pune on Wednesday.
"I don't know what to say," Dohle said, struggling to express his feelings. "I am very happy but I could not talk to her too much as I don't speak Marathi." Sitting face-to-face in a restaurant with his mother was emotional but a rather composed rendezvous.
Dohle was two months old when an unsuspecting German couple Michael and Gertrude Dohle adopted him in 1973. Dohle contested in court that he was given in adoption without his mother's consent. He alleged that his adoptive parents were friends of NCP leader Sharad Pawar's brother Pratap, who facilitated his adoption. Curious about his roots since the age of 14, he returned to India first at the age of 20.
After Wednesday's meeting, his apprehensions appear to have been put to rest. But his joy of seeing his mother is mixed with an underlying anger. "Since 1993, all that Arun asked for was to know who his mother was," Anjali Pawar-Kate of Against Child Trafficking, who was instrumental in locating Dohle's mother in Pune, said. "He was made to run from pillar to post and denied the information time and again. He is obviously angry about that."
With the Supreme Court's permission in August to access records maintained by Kusumbai Motichand Mahila Seva Gram (KMMSG), Dohle got in touch with several people and finally to his mother, now in her sixties.
"Some common contacts and a lot of running around led me to Arun's mother's brother," Pawar-Kate said. "I had to take him in confidence and explain the situation. The KMMSG records had only her name and the address of 1973."
"We did not speak too much," Dohle said. "She was holding her tears back and trying to stay calm. I did not feel like asking her any questions. Dohle is scheduled to fly back to Germany on Wednesday night.
"His aunt (mother's sister-in-law) was more emotional," Pawar-Kate said. "She caressed Arun's face and told him that she always told his mother that he would return one day."
Dohle's mother had surrendered him to the KMMSG because he was born out of wedlock. Over the years, the past has faded and she and her husband gave Dohle a warm welcome.
"His mother retired four years ago from a government job," Pawar-Kate said. "Her husband runs a motor driving school. They told Arun that he live with them when he is in India."
Dohle, however, is upset with the indifferent attitude of the adoption agency. "It took just three months to trace my mother after knowing her name but their non-cooperation took away 17 years of my life," he said. On his next visit to India, Dohle wants to bring his seven-year-old twins to visit their grandmother.
'I am not interested in my biological father'
Aug 18, 2010
MUMBAI: A day after the Supreme Court allowed him to see the original adoption record which the Pune-based adoption agency was guarding fiercely, Arun Dohle was heading back home to Germany and to his own seven-year-old twin boys.
However, he made a quiet resolve to come back again "to find answers to the several questions that are still unanswered. It is not really my biological father that I am interested in,'' says the 37-year-old who was adopted as a month-old baby from Kusumbai Motichand Mahila Seva Gram (KMMSG) in Pune by the Belgium-based Michael and Gertrud Dohle, on recommendation by Pratap Pawar, brother of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
His habeas corpus plea to have his biological mother produced in court was dismissed by the apex court. But 17 years of legal struggle after he first made the innocuous request to Mahila Seva Gram to be shown his adoption file, his wish was finally granted by the Supreme Court on Monday. He now knows that his mother was a 20-year-old Hindu Maratha, a Std X graduate who resided at the agency during her pregnancy after her "friend's brother'' refused to marry her.
The adoption file was slim, just a few handwritten pages, which the bench headed by Justice Markandey Katju handed over to Dohle's counsel and him in court to read without hurrying them up. According to the judges, it is not a national secret that will cause a `maha yudh', adding that "nothing is private here'' when the agency tried to prevent showing of the file citing "mother's privacy''.
"The "child record'' that the adoption agency maintains may contain information about the biological parents if their identities are known,'' said advocate Jamshed Mistry, one of the counsels for Dohle in SC. He added that Monday's order will now ensure that adoption agencies will maintain authentic records as mandated by law in case of foreign adoption and by the landmark SC verdict of 1984, in the case of Laxmi Kant Pandey.
Dohle, hours before his flight out of Mumbai while speaking with TOI, recalled how he had first launched his quest to find his biological mother in 1993. "I first came to India in 1993 and asked Mahila Seva Gram to show me the file. They refused. The game being played is just cruel. Had they shown it then, so much time, trouble and trauma would have been saved on both sides,'' he said. "There are still details that need to be verified. The police did not investigate properly.'' Though he was born in Pune's Sassoon hospital, the police report said there is no record of the `relinquishment deed'. "The question is `why'?'' said the bespectacled Dohle who still wonders where and how his mother might be. His case was that the Pune agency asked his mother to leave and handed him to the German couple. The agency said as an "unwed mother'' she had relinquished her rights and abandoned him.
The case, took a controversial turn, when he said that former Maharashtra chief Minister Sharad Pawar's brother might be linked to his birth. The police report, however, categorically denied any links to the Pawar family. But as Dohle pointed out, Pratap Pawar in October 1973, while recommending the Dohles as adoptive parents had written: I am a member of Association of Friends of Germany and Mr & Mrs Dohle are friends...They stayed with us and selected Arun Swanand as their adopted son.''