The things we worship.

Polymelia is probably the most worshipped phenotype in India. While there are no certain indication that the Hindu Gods and Goddesses actually showed this abnormality, one cannot help but wonder whether as a phenotype it existed much more frequently in earlier times than now. Brahma, Kali and countless others are lauded for their anomaly. Should I even call it an anomaly? Can a defect be worshipped with such belief? The occurrence of usual is cast aside in this case, but then God’s rule (!) even though our scriptures tell us to be one of many – follow the rules and suggestions made by wise men of the past, inspired by numerous multi-limbed forms. Most cases of polymelia are those which involve the lower limb, unlike the resplendent multiple upper limb personalities we worship. Surprisingly less is known about the genetic alterations which actually lead to this phenotype. The mouse homolog disorganization (Ds) has been the only implicated gene in this phenotype and human homolog hasn’t really been well determined. It’s much more common in cattle (and they are equally worshipped).
Either way, the best case scenario for any child born with polymelia in India is to be born rich. Why? Well, not because the cost of surgery is high – there are enough doctors in India who would try to achieve the feat of correcting it without monetary benefit, but simply because the parents view the poor child as a money-making machine. After all, there are enough fools in this country who’ll fold their hands, bow their heads and pass some short change – almost as if in reconciliation to a child’s sealed fate. And their own, in ignorance.

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