At first glance, the 13-year-old Indian boy, Arshid Ali Khan may look ordinary. But, he is a "God" with supernatural powers to his villagers.
The teenager from Punjab, who is referred to as "Balaji," by his devotees, was born with a tail on his back. The seven- inch long tail has made locals believe that he is the reincarnation of Hindu monkey God Hanuman, The Daily Mail reported.
The boy started displaying unnatural abilities at a very young age, according to his grandfather Iqbal Qureshi. "When he spoke for the first time at the age of one all he spoke was the names of Gods from different religions," Qureshi told the British daily. "It was that day I realised that he had something divine and godly about him."
Arshid, has been under the care of his grandfather and two uncles, since he lost his father at the age of four. His mother has remarried since.
People from different parts of the state visit his home for his blessings and to fulfil their wishes. Arshid, who goes to school, has at least 20 to 30 visits on Sundays. Interestingly, the wishes of most of the people have come true. "A lot of people's wishes have come true after they have visited," Qureshi, said. "Sometimes there are childless couples who come to Balaji for help. He blesses them, and often they are then able to conceive."
However, the little God, who can move around only with the help of a wheelchair, is now planning to get his tail removed so that he can walk properly. "This tail has been given to me by God. 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," he told Daily Mail.
However, doctors are yet to reach a proper conclusion about the actual causes that led to this occurrence. Some have said its brittle bone disease (a congenital disorder that leads to fragile bones and fractures), some others have diagnosed him with meningocele, a form of Spina bifida. Spina bifida is a birth defect of the spinal cord and backbone. It occurs when some of the vertebrae (bones forming the spinal column) in the unborn baby fail to form properly (the closure normally occurs in early pregnancy) and remain open at birth.
Though the actual cause of Spina bifida is yet to be known completely, according to doctors, both family history of neural tube defects and folic acid deficiency before and during pregnancy play major roles. Apart from that, countless studies in the past have shown the role of several other factors including intake of high-doses of anti-epileptic drug valproate in pregnancy, maternal obesity, diabetes and increased body temperature.
Arshid is not the first child in the world to make headlines for having a tail. In June last year, a seven-month-old Chinese baby attracted attention for being born with a three-inch long tail. The infant named Xiao Wei was diagnosed with myelomeningocele, one of the most common and serious types of spina bifida.
Thirty –five year-old Chandre Oraon from Alipurduar in West Bengal in India is another human God who lives with a hairy tail. People visit him for his blessings and touch his tail for good luck.