Helen Keller called India a ‘cursed land’ and supported mass murder of Indians

06 Jul, 2018 By Uyirkkural
(Image Source Wikimedia Commons)

Our school text books in India introduced us to Helen Keller as an activist working against the discrimination of people with disabilities. We grew up to the one sided stories of how, Helen Keller struggled with her disability and overcame it through the help of Annie Sullivan. We empathized and shed tears for her during our English prose classes as we read about her sudden illness that would incapacitate her at least momentarily and change the course of her life. But what we knew of Helen Keller is just one side of the story. Beguiling the Indian mass there is much more disturbing and creepy side of her which is shrouded by benevolence – her support for the eugenic murder of Indians.

Helen Keller addressed the people of New Delhi in 1955 pleading their cooperation in working for the welfare of the visually impaired. “Prayerfully I look to you” she said, “and to the people of Delhi to cooperate in a work that shall renew the lives of the blind with inner light”.  Nevertheless simultaneously encouraging and supporting organizations that support eugenic cleansing of Indians. Her visit which was funded by American Foundation for the Blind was also politically motivated, to present America as a “good Samaritan” to the allies and to gain support against Russia during the cold war.

Just three years before coming to India, Helen Keller wrote to Margaret Sanger in 1952 congratulating her for her efforts in controlling India’s cursed population. Margaret Sanger was the notorious eugenicist and founder of ‘Negro Project’ who established Planned Parenthood in America and co-founded IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Federation) along with Lady Rama Rau. IPPF is the global abortion giant whose prime goal to is to influence policy changes and promote abortion in developing countries

Keller wrote to Sanger: “Not only have I continued to follow your work with loving admiration and expect ever greater results from your beneficence, I have also known of Nehru’s statesmanlike interest in birth-control, and now I behold you and him and Lady Rama Rau working together — a triple Hercules — for the deliverance of a land long cursed with excess of population.” Not to forget that the population of India then (1952) was only 350 million.

Keller’s support for Eugenics goes far beyond mere population control. In fact she advocated for the killing of children with disabilities since she believed in ableism. This is evident from her support for Dr. Harry J. Haiselden’s case in 1915 which propelled public debate on eugenics. Dr. Harry would deny treatment for babies born with disabilities and abandon them to die. Sometimes, even convincing parents to abandon their children to die. In publicly defending Dr. Harry she said: “Our puny sentimentalism has caused us to forget that a human life is sacred only when it may be of some use to itself and to the world.”  But it’s hard for one to understand how Helen Keller failed to realize that she was one of the perfect candidate to have been killed mercilessly on accounts of ‘ableism’ if it was not for Annie Sullivan to spend time and efforts in helping little Helen with her crippling disease.

Keller assumed that her life was somehow worthy than the life of babies born in India. She is not the only person in the list to have dangerously discriminatory attitude against Indians to the extent of supporting state sponsored mass murder similar to Nazi holocaust. There are several prominent figures who advocated for same eugenic cleansing of India under banners of population control, reproductive rights, family planning, feminism and even environmentalism. Their involvement doesn’t get to text books in schools since the narrative is controlled by them however the tide shall change and crimes committed in dark shall be exposed.


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