Arun Dohle is a colleague working at Against Child Trafficking, which I sponsor through donations. This is his story which appears in The Times of India, with the negative title, "I'm not interested in my biological father."
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''.
Dohle is married and runs an NGO called Against Child Trafficking in Germany, which he says aims at "tackling a money-and-demand-driven market in adoption of children that should be labelled as child-trafficking.'' His battle may bring hope to many other children given up for inter-country adoption, who once they grow up, wish to find out the identity of their biological parents.
"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.''