The Real-Life Inspiration For Mowgli Was A Feral Child Raised By Wolves In 1872

The Real-Life Inspiration For Mowgli Was A Feral Child Raised By Wolves In 1872

After wandering and getting lost in an Indian forest, Dina was raised by wolves who fed, protected, and sheltered him.

British-Indian writer Rudyard Kipling has written many short stories and novels but none of his works are quite as famous as his magnum opus - The Jungle Book. The story of Mowgli and his interactions with the wild animals has become the stuff of legends and while many people know it as a work of fiction, it was inspired by a true story. Dina Sanichar, also known as the Indian wolf-boy was the inspiration behind The Jungle Book. Just like Mowgli, Dina was a feral boy who was raised by wolves, although his life was different in many ways from his fictional counterpart. 

Photo: Rudyard Kipling/Wikimedia Commons


After wandering and getting lost in an Indian forest, Dina was raised by wolves who fed, protected and sheltered him. Even though this is similar to Mowgli's story, Dina did not have such a fantastic life talking to bears, tigers, and panthers. The author Rudyard Kipling was born in India and lived there during his early childhood. He moved to England when he was 7 years old but returned to the country of his birth 10 years later. He wrote The Jungle Book in 1895 less than 20 years after Dina Sanichar was found living among a pack of wolves. 

Photo: whatsthatpicture/Wikimedia Commons




Dina's tale is filled with violence and tragedy as hunters kidnapped him and killed his wolf companion when they first came across them in the jungle. According to Mysteries Unsolved, they found the feral boy walking on all fours and following a wolf companion. Being curious yet possibly ignorant of animal sentience, they attempted to lure him out of the wolf den and finally managed to smoke him and the wolf out. The hunters killed the wolf at the first opportunity and Dina witnessed the entire incident without warning and was carried off. When they took him to human society, he couldn't understand how things worked. 



The missionaries at the orphanage baptized him and gave him the name Sanichar which means "Saturday" in Urdu because that's the day he arrived at the facility. Father Erhardt was in charge of the mission at the time, and he came to know the young boy. Dina's new life was a struggle and he found it hard to adapt to human society after living in the wild. He demonstrated the ability to reason and was seen interested in performing certain human tasks. However, Dina never learned to speak or write a human language despite multiple attempts by those around him to teach him. He only communicated by making animal noises. 

Photo: Scary Side of Earth/Flickr/Creative Commons


Surprisingly enough, for all his wild and untamed characteristics and his repulsion in wearing clothes, walking on two feet, and learning the human tongue, he ended up picking up the habit of smoking. He even became addicted to it and some believe that the habit led to tuberculosis, which eventually killed him. Dina's story is extraordinary, but he wasn't the only one to live such a life. In 1892, a missionary found a feral child in the Jalpaiguri region of India. The very next year, a child with a massive appetite for frogs was discovered in Batzpur near Dalsingarai. Then in 1898, another child was discovered in the wild but was unable to integrate into human society even after 14 years of living with people. 




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