Rugal was a male Cardassian in the 24th century, born in 2358 to Exarch Kotan Pa'Dar and his wife but raised by Bajoran Proka Migdal and his wife. Unlike many Cardassians, Rugal spent much of his youth with Bajorans as a war orphan, abandoned by his people after they left Bajor. He reunited with his birth family, but had learned to resent much of what the Cardassians did during the Occupation of Bajor.
Rugal was separated from his birth parents in 2362 during an attack by the Bajoran Resistance in which Rugal's mother was killed. Rugal himself, as the victim of a political plot by Gul Dukat, was secretly taken by a Cardassian officer attached to Terok Nor to the Tozhat Resettlement Center, while his father believed he was killed in the attack.
Rugal was then adopted by Proka and his wife, with whom he spent eight years. As a consequence, he was raised in Bajoran beliefs and customs. He learned what the Cardassians did during the Occupation, and came to hate the Cardassian people, including his own self. Nevertheless, his parents loved him and did not want him to be punished for what his people did.
In 2370, Rugal accompanied his family to Deep Space 9 when his father was looking for work. When Elim Garak, the only Cardassian on the station, introduced himself, Rugal attacked him. This led to Rugal becoming the subject of an intense confrontation between the Cardassians and the Bajorans as it was discovered that he had family in Cardassia and accusations were made that his Bajoran parents mistreated him. Kotan Pa'Dar came to the station to claim him, but realized the extent of Rugal's attitude toward Cardassians. Rugal was so resentful of Cardassians that he said Kotan deserved what happened to him, and wanted to remain with his adoptive parents.
In a custody hearing conducted by Commander Benjamin Sisko, it was discovered that Dukat and Kotan Pa'Dar were political enemies. Dukat deliberately had Rugal taken to an orphanage in hopes of someday using this to humiliate his adversary. When Sisko learned of this, he decided to let Pa'Dar take Rugal back to Cardassia, realizing that Pa'Dar had a right to raise his child. Rugal went, as he had no choice, but remained aloof to his father. (DS9: "Cardassians")