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Volume 1 Issue 11 June 2008 A Star of Happiness Shines in Kolkata Shantara grew up on a farm in India the only deaf child of seven siblings. His father is unknown and two of his brothers died young from a lack of medical care. His mother used to beat him and he was often ridiculed for being deaf. One day Shantara Shantara had enough and ran away. He boarded a train and arrived at the Howrah train station in Kolkata where he found ways to survive on the tracks. His source for food involved chasing down and tackling rats, crows and wild hens. With gathered newspapers from the streets, he cooked whatever he caught on a makeshift stove. Shantara was found and placed in several different home environments but always teased because he was deaf. Again and again, he would run away and return to Howrah What is DDW? Dave Justice and Christy Smith are traveling the world to learn and share stories of empowerment, inspiration, and connection between international Deaf communities. Discovering Deaf Worlds (DDW) is an opportunity to give deaf people worldwide a voice. For more information, photos, video logs, and newsletter stories, visit David Earp (center) discovered Rekha (left) and Bapi (right) at Howrah Station. Station to live on his own. He was nine years old. Anna was born in Tamil Nadu, South India. He is partially deaf, epileptic and has learning and behavior challenges. After his mother died, his family did not know what to do with him. Anna’s father took him on a long train ride, where he fell asleep. When he woke, his father had left. He was alone, confused and roaming around the unfamiliar tracks of Howrah Station. Picked up by a local homecare worker, Anna was often beaten and drugged to the point of being comatose so that he would remain quiet. He was 10 years old. Sumon has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk without assistance. One day his brother took him for a taxi ride to Howrah Station. He removed Sumon’s clothes, rubbed him with dirt and left him lying on the ground with 10 Rupees (25 cents) tied to his wrist in a handkerchief. He was six years old. Rekha and Bapi, both deaf, possibly lived together at Howrah Station. No one knows much about their families or their backgrounds before this time. They could be siblings, or just friends who met while fighting for survival. As trains arrived at this central destination in Kolkata, Rekha, Bapi, and other children would race through the cabins, rummaging for any leftovers before the train departed on its next destinaSHUKTARA, continued on page 5 June 2008 1

June 2008 Newsletter: vol.1, iss.11

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