An Indian boy, worshipped as a god in his country because of his 7-inch “tail,” is thinking of having the growth removed.
Arshid Ali Khan, 13, of Punjab, has been hailed as a reincarnation of Hanuman, a Hindu monkey god, the Daily Mail reports. He is often referred to as Balaji.
But Khan is bound to a wheelchair and he is contemplating having the “tail” surgically removed.
“This tail has been given to me by God,” he said. “I am worshipped because I pray to god and the wishes of people come true. I feel neither good nor bad about having a tail.”
The 13-year-old does not believe the crowds will stop gathering at his house for blessings if he underwent surgery.
“Doctors can remove my tail - but people will continue to believe in me,” Khan said.
He is scheduled to see a doctor this month to remove the appendage, but his family are not convinced and say they would rather he keep his tail than undergo a risky operation.
“It is for Balaji to decide. If he wants to get the tail removed, we do not mind,” Khan’s grandfather, Iqbal Qureshi, said. “He has trouble walking and so we are asking doctors what can be done.”
Last year, Opposing Views reported on the teenager’s condition, a form of spina bifida called meningocele. This causes the meninges, one of the spinal cord membranes, to enter an opening in the spinal cord and create a spinal fluid-filled cyst, which in Khan’s case resembles a tail.
Khan is not the first person to be born with such a defect.
A 35-year-old tea picker in Alipurduar, India, had his 14.5-inch tail since he was born and like Khan, some Hindus believe he is a reincarnation of Hanuman, the Huffington Post reports.
In China, a mother begged surgeons to remove her 5-month-old boy’s 5-inch tail, which is still gradually increasing in size, according to the Daily Mail.
(Photos via the Daily Mail)