A 5-day-old baby in India is being worshipped like a god after being born with facial deformities that resemble an elephant’s trunk. The birth of the girl, who has yet to be named, has garnered many visitors to Aligarth, Uttar Pradesh, in the country’s North, after news spread there is a “divine” child in the village. Locals believe she is a reincarnation of Hindu god “Ganesha,” and so have nicknamed her “lord Ganpatni,” or “Ganesha’s wife” for her elephant trunk-like protrusion between her eyes.
“My sister-in-law gave birth to a girl at 7:00 a.m. and her face looks exactly like lord Ganesha. Everybody is saying she is an incarnation of the god,” the baby’s aunt Rajani said. “This is why whoever hears about her is coming here to get a glimpse of the baby and are making whatever offerings possible.”
Doctors say the protrusion is most likely triggered by a gene mutation from malnutrition and heavy pollution levels in the area. A 2003 study published in Economic and Political Weekly found the baby’s home village, Aligarth, has poor infrastructure in both terms of quantity and quality of domestic water supply. The village faces poor sewage works and has “nightmarish working conditions,” according to the study.
The baby comes from a poor family; her father is a vegetable vendor who earns $5.17 per day. He hopes his daughter’s birth will bring the family better luck. The newborn does have three healthy older siblings.
Doctors, like Dr. Jayant Sharma from Jeevan Hospital, did caution about the baby’s mortality. “A baby boy was born with a trunk sometime back. Unfortunately, he didn’t survive. But if this girl does, the family can go for corrective surgery,” he told The Times of India.
This case resembles an earlier case last year where an Indian boy from Baruipur, India’s West Bengal State, was born with two extra arms and two legs, resembling the Hindu god Brahma. Locals dubbed the newborn “god baby” because of his uncanny resemblance. The extra limbs were a result of the remains of a parasitic twin from the womb.
Every year, six percent of infants worldwide are born with serious birth defects, and the causes of over 50 percent of these defects are unknown.