A teenager in India is being worshiped as a god because he has a 7-inch long tail, and according to locals, he is the reincarnation of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman.
Arshid Ali Khan, who is 13 and lives with his grandfather, Iqbal Qureshi, in the Indian state of Punjab, is referred to by local devotees as Balaji, MailOnline reports. Locals believe that if they visit and worship Arshid, they will find their wishes granted, an assertion supported by the child's grandfather.
"A lot of people's wishes have come true after they have visited," claims Qureshi. "Sometimes there are childless couples who come to Balaji for help. He blesses them, and often they are then able to conceive."
Arshid says he feels indifferent to his tail, claiming "this tail has been given to me by God. I am worshiped because I pray to god and the wishes of people come true."
Although Arshid says he feels "neither good nor bad about having a tail," he is largely confined to a wheelchair by an undiagnosed ailment. Some Indian doctors have told the family that Arshid's inability to walk is due to brittle bones, while others have claimed that the growth which forms his tail could be interfering with his spine. A third theory is that Arshid suffers from a kind of spina bifida that develops when membranes poke a hole between vertebrae, which could possibly be happening in connection with his tail. Despite being worshiped as a divine symbol in Punjab, Arshid is considering having his tail removed.
"Doctors can remove my tail," Arshid says, "but people will continue to believe in me."
Though his family is skeptical of the doctors and say they would rather see him keep the tail than undergo an operation, his grandfather says the choice about whether to keep the tail is ultimately in Arshid's hands. "It is for Balaji to decide," Qureshi conceded, telling The Mirror, "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."
While Arshid's tail may seem like a severe abnormality, birth defects can often be disfiguring. As The Inquisitr reported in March of last year, a North Carolina teen underwent reconstructive surgery after living since birth without eyes or a nose.
Even if the tail is removed, Arshid doesn't believe that worshipers will stop visiting the house that has been converted into a temple for him, where followers are still flocking to receive "Balaji's" blessings.
[Images via MailOnline]