Hitherto, unknown Swami Sivananda is a social media rage now. For all sorts of right and speculative reasons. The yoga guru has been making headlines and debates not so much for the civilian honour Padma Shri that he received but for his age that has been stated. Every second guess has been made based on his looks and agility to passport.
"Dedicating his life for human welfare, he has been serving leprosy-affected people at Puri for the past 50 years. Born in 1896, his health and long life has drawn attention to national and international organisations," stated the President while his official Twitter handle. His passport reveals the same. Those who believe, believe in it. After all, longevity is one of the many known proven benefits of yoga, they point out.
Those who do not believe
Discounting the theory that someone actually could be that old, a user commented, "That means he was already half a century old at the time of Partition?" There were many who doubted the means and methods of age records in an era he belongs to.
"If this man is 125 years old, why then, Guinness World Records is not recognising him as the oldest living person on Earth? I think, 126 is not true, just a myth to exaggerate benefits of Yoga. Let's not do that, please." There was another who said, "He can't be a day more than 90 years old max."
What the world records say?
On March 9, in 2019, Guinness World Records, the global authority of record-breaking, announced that Japan's Kane Tanaka to be the world's 'Oldest Living Person & Female' at 116 years. On the day, when she was 116 years and 66 days old, she was presented the certificate by official adjudicator and the head of Japan Records Management Team Of Guinness World Records, at the nursing home where she even currently lives in Fukuoka, Japan. She took the title after Chiyo Miyako who passed away on 22nd July, 2018.
From the super centenarian's mouth...
Tanaka, the Japanese super centenarian wakes up at 6 o' clock in the morning and goes to bed around 9pm and enjoys studying mathematics and playing Othello. Currently, at 119 years and around 80 days, she is a record holder as the world's oldest living person. In umpteen interviews, dishing out tips for longevity, Tanaka has admitted sticking to the Japanese practice of Hara Hachi Bu, which means eating until you're almost full. Including a typical Japanese diet of fermented foods, roots, greens and fish.
Trivia on old age
The Oldest Person Ever to have lived was Jeanne Louise Calment (France) who reached the age of 122 years and 164 days. The Oldest Person Ever (Male) is Jiroemon Kimura (Japan), who was born on 19 April 1897 and passed away aged 116 years 54 days on 12 June 2013.
Is it possible to determine or detect someone's age?
Considering, medical science has progressed to a stage where it is possible to detect the age of 1000-year-old fossils, it should be a cake walk to determine the exact age of someone alive, right? Then the age of trees can be measured too.
But unfortunately, there is no parallel scientifically proven, universally accepted and standardised test for measuring the exact age in disputed cases. Bone growth, chromosomes, white blood cells, molecules in the blood, several studies and scientific research has focused on these components to determine the exact age, but the results are always give or take five to ten years.
There are several chemical (collagen cross-links, lead accumulation, aspartic acid racemization, teeth chemical composition, AGEs) and molecular methods (mitochondrial mutations, telomere shortening etc) to determine the age but their standard error of estimation varies from 3 to 10 years.