Doctors baffled as Indian man claims not to have eaten for 68 years
AFP – Monday 24 November 2003
AHMEDABAD, India (AFP) - An Indian man who claims divine inspiration says he has survived 68 years without eating, drinking or relieving himself, baffling doctors who are unable to prove him an imposter.
Prahlad Jani, a 76-year-old whose extraordinary tale has won him a small band of devotees, took a dare and underwent round-the-clock surveillance at a hospital in Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of the western state of Gujarat.
Clad in his trademark red sari, bangles and earrings meant to fashion Hindu goddesses, Jani managed to puzzle the Sterling Hospital's 400 doctors.
Neurologist Sudhir Shah said Jani was under watch for 10 days, with a closed-circuit camera running, and that doctors were convinced he did not break any of his vows, although there was no way of verifying whether Jani has pulled it off for 68 years.
"He has evidence of the formation of urine, which was reabsorbed on his bladder wall. The medical committee does not have any scientific explanation," Shah said.
Jani offered an explanation. He said he has been blessed and heard his calling when he was eight years old.
"I get the elixir of life from the hole in my palate, which enables me to go without food and water," Jani explained to AFP.
A vindicated Jani left the hospital Saturday and said he was retreating to a cave at Mount Abu in the neighboring desert state of Rajasthan.
Another doctor, Dinesh Desai, said the hospital hoped to test Jani again to verify his claim of a hole in the palate between his mouth and nose.
"We may get some answers then," Desai said.
Shah said it took the hospital more than a year to persuade Jani to undergo surveillance.
He said he wanted the ascetic to undergo experiments at NASA, as Jani's supposed feat could come in handy for astronauts.
Last updated 29/11/2003