ordinary schools. Feeble-minded individuals do not, as a rule, present
"bodily deformities and stigmata of degeneration, and are often capable of
making their own living although they lack in initiative and ability for any
work of responsibility. Such persons, however, develop vicious or criminal
propensities, especially of a sexual nature, and are apt to commit assaults or
even murders, as they are incapable of restraining their impulses.
Under the Mental Deficiency Act of 1927 moral defectives are defined
as persons in whose case there exists mental defectiveness coupled with
strongly vicious or criminal propensities and
who require care, supervision and control for
the protection of others. Mental defectiveness
is a condition of arrested or incomplete deve-
lopment of mind existing before the age of
eighteen years, whether arising from inherent
causes or induced by disease or injury. Moral
defectives are usually endowed with an ave-
rage degree of intellect, but cannot control
their immoral conduct, instincts and emotions
and cannot be made to understand that they
are doing a wrong act. They are dangerous
to the community, inasmuch as they are lack-
ing in moral sense and have no regard for the
rights or feelings of others. Punishment has
little or no deterrent effect on them.
Cretinism. — This is endemic, and is preva-
lent in the hilly districts. It is usually asso-
ciated with goitre and other affections of the
thyroid gland. Development of the body is
generally arrested. The figure is squat and
dwarfish with short thick limbs and clumsy
movements. The complexion is sallow, the Fi9* 256.—A cretin— age 13 years.
eyelids are swollen, and the lips and tongue (Fromr a ^ograph lent kindly
are thickened. The skin is rough and pig- by **' N' J' Mod°
mented Such children learn to speak very late and that too, imperfectly
Some of them are deaf, and others blind.
Mentally cretins may look dull and stupid, or may be perfect idiots.
Ordinarily, they are slow in thought, and incapable of acquiring knowledge,
but with some patience and perseverance they may be able to learn.
™ tfonVf ijjfanity, which is produced by the degeneration of
mental faculties, after they have been fully developed. Hence it is not
congenital but may occur at any period of life.
The symptoms appear all of a sudden in a previously sane individual,
or they may appear gradually. When the attack is sudden, the patient
passes into a condition of stupor without any emotional feeling or without
any depression or delusion and becomes an imbecile or idiot. In a slow
Sec T * ,1 ^ad^ degeneration of the mental faculties. He becomes
listless and apathetic, does not take any interest in his dress, food, family or
^JS™^^ ^ attention on ^ su^ect Memory becomes
i Judgment is impaired, and his control over the emotional
Very mu.ch w^^ed As the disease progresses from bad to
c™°* ^fcts of volition are abolished. The patient becomes
^ "^ b^« to laugh or cry without rhVme or reason.
He is mentally and morally depraved, and is unmindful of ordinary decencies
at life. He sometimes resorts to masturbation in public.