That old adage appears to be true once again. Everything is about location, location, location. In this particular case, Arun Rajput, a 20-year-old man from the village of Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh, India was born with four legs. Something similar happened in the village of Araria, Bihar, India to Lakshmi Tatma, who was born with four arms and four legs, and was declared a Hindu goddess. However, while the little girl was praised and her name was known throughout India for being a reincarnation of the goddess Lakshmi, Vishnu’s wife, Arun has been declared a devil.
The past twenty years have been very difficult for Arun and his family. From the time of his birth, other villagers have viewed him as a sign of devastation and death that would befall the community. As a result, locals state that his entire family is cursed, although his three younger siblings do not have any extra limbs. Tired of all the taunting, coupled with the difficulties that he has when walking and working, Arun is now trying to get surgery to remove his extra legs.
As was the case with Lakshmi, Arun’s condition is the result of an undeveloped parasitic twin that attached onto his lower back while still in the womb. During that process, the twin stopped developing and Arun’s body absorbed most of it. However, the second set of legs remained and, over the years, grew like the rest of his body. The legs are not fully developed and this is partially because Arun has them tied against his body most of the time. When he does leave the village, he wears a specially made pair of pants that has room for his two extra legs.
When he was born, Arun’s mother, Lila Devi, took him to multiple doctors, but none were willing to help him. Each time, the physicians said the surgery would cost over $70,000, far and above anything that Lila and her husband, Ananth, could make in their jobs as laborers on a local farm. So 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.’
The escalation of hostility toward Arun in the last year has pushed him to find a doctor to perform a surgery that will remove the extra legs. He hopes to serve as an inspiration to others suffering from similar conditions and wants to become a teacher in some other part of India. After the negative reactions Arun and the rest of his family receive on a regular basis, there’s little surprise that he’s ready to find some new neighbors. Maybe he should think about immigrating to Pakistan; in that country a baby boy born with six legs received prompt surgery, with the government footing the bill. But then again, India’s ‘Devil Child’ finally received hand surgery a few months ago, so perhaps there is still hope for Arun in his native land.