An Indian boy with a tail-like growth has been deemed a god in his country.
The child, 12-year-old Arshid Ali Khan, has a condition called meningocele, a form of spina bifida. According to medicaldictionary.com, meningocele causes the meninges, one of the spinal cord membranes, to push through an opening in the spinal cord and create a cyst filled with spinal fluid. In Khan’s case, this cyst resembles a tail.
But don’t try telling Khan that. To Khan and his large group of followers, he is a reincarnation of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god. Followers flock from all around the country, bringing gifts and money, in exchange for Khan’s blessing.
Khan, called Balaji by his follower, lives with his grandparents in the city of Chandigarh. Khan, or, excuse us, Balaji, enjoys the attention his tail brings him.
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“I love my tail,” he said. “It’s a gift from God. It’s unusual but people respect me and bow before me because of it.”
Doctors hope he doesn’t love his tail too much, though. Though meningocele is the least common form of spina bifida, it is correctable with surgery. But if Khan remains untreated and his growth isn’t removed, doctors say his condition will worsen and could eventually kill him.