37 years on, boy adopted by Germans meets mother

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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.

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