Arshid Ali Khan, a 13 year old Indian teenager who has come to be worshipped because of his 7 inch tail has sought to remove his tail as a result of not being able to walk.
Hailed as a reincarnation of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, and often referred to Balaj, the teen’s apparent divinity has come at a steep price- his ability to walk, Indeed Arshid Ali Khan has been constrained to the use of a wheelchair.
Yet that might change as the teen now considers his options.
Told the teen: ‘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.’
Ever since his birth in the state of Punjab in 2001 people have been coming to visit the boy with the hope that his divinity will allow their wishes to become true. That said doctors have instead told rather than divinity, the boy’s condition is a result of congenital malformation.
This develops when membranes poke through a hole between the vertebrae, and it can lead to partial paralysis.
Living with his grandfather, Iqbal Qureshi, and two uncles, after his father died when he was four and his mother remarried, the family home has been converted into a makeshift temple where devotees queue up for his darshan and offer the child gifts.
Mr Qureshi, a music instructor, said: ‘When he spoke for the first time at the age on one all he spoke was the names of Gods from different religions.
‘It was that day I realised that he had something divine and godly about him.’
He added: ‘It does not matter whether we are Muslims or Hindus, I think there is just one path for spiritualism.’
‘A lot of people’s wishes have come true after they have visited,’
‘Sometimes there are childless couples who come to Balaji for help. He blesses them, and often they are then able to conceive.’
Adding: We don’t ask people to donate money. We accept whatever they give. He (Arshad Ali) fulfills their wishes. He has been blessed with special powers by the almighty.’
However, Arshid often struggles to balance his time with his faithful devotees and attending school and playing with his friends.
He said: ‘Mostly on weekdays I have to go to school but when I have a school holiday on Sunday around 20 to 30 people come to see me at my home.’
He added: ‘No one teases me. Everybody wants to see my tail and so they keep asking.’
Despite his supposed powers, Arshid is confined to a wheelchair and suffers from an undiagnosed disorder.
This month he is due to see a doctor who has said he can successfully remove the appendage – but his family are sceptical and say they would rather he kept his tail than undertake a risky operation.
But Mr Qureshi said: ‘It is for Balaji to decide. If he wants to get the tail removed, we do not mind.
‘He has trouble walking and so we are asking doctors what can be done.’
As for Arshid, he does not believe the removal of the tail will stop the crowds flocking to his house for blessings.
He said: ‘Doctors can remove my tail – but people will continue to believe in me.’
Or will they?