Indian Man Declared a "Devil" For Being Born With 4 Legs
Arun Rajput, a 20-year-old man from the village of Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh, India was born with Polymelia, a birth defect in which the affected individual has more than the usual number of limbs. The extra limb (or limbs) are typically shrunken and/or deformed, as is the case with Arun as he was born with a total of 4 legs.
The National Institute of Health goes in to further details:
Polymelia (supernumerary limbs) is a rare congenital entity scarcely reported in humans, though not uncommonly in animals. Limb development involves a very large number of genes. One gene widely associated with the development of supernumerary limbs is the mouse mutant disorganization Ds gene [OMIM:223200], which is a semidominant gene with variable penetrance in heterozygotes and lethality in homozygotes; 67% of heterozygotes have multiple defects and the rest have single defects, in which polymelia is prominent.
Limb development is a very complex process involving precise gene regulation fundamental to normal growth. Findings in animal models have explained a great deal about these functions and have improved our understanding of the etiopathogeny of malformations, but more research is necessary to extend knowledge of these delicate processes. Surgical resection of the accessory limb at an early age is recommended in patients with supernumerary extremities.
Even though Arn is already 20 years old, he is trying to arrange for surgery to remove the extra appendages.
While the medical literature explains Arun’s condition and course of action for correction, the local people in Arun’s village have deemed Arun a “devil”. Both he and his family are considered outcasts and are shunned by the local community. From the article in WeirdAsiaNews.com:
Arun toughed it out and learned to deal with his affliction and the constant pain in his back. However, even after twenty years, he has not grown accustomed to the threats from his neighbors. Three times within the last year a fire has been lit outside of his family’s home in the middle of the night as multiple voices were heard shouting that ‘the devil should be banished into the blackness from where he came’ and that ‘the devil needs to be purged.’
Unfortunately, it is not surprising that people who do no understand Arun’s condition are quick to deem him a “devil”. When something appears out of the ordinary or unnatural, people will come up with explanations which make sense in the context of their worldview.