A HOMELESS man thanks his shocking facial condition for being able to eat every day. Ganesh Bhagat Chaurasia, 65, from Haridwar, northern India, suffers from a rare facial deformity that makes it difficult for him to work.
Even worse, his family disowned him - cutting him out of his land inheritance 50 years ago.
But refusing to look on the bad side, Ganesh now thanks his disability for keeping him alive as sympathetic people often offer him money, shelter and food because of his condition. He said: “People are very kind and generous in India. I never ask for money but people voluntarily offer me things. This is the only way I survive now.”
Ganesh was born with just a small lump on his face but as time passed it grew to an enormous size, covering his eyes and leaving him unable to work.
He said: “My parents tried to get me some treatment; they spent thousands of rupees seeing doctors. In the end a Mumbai doctor did offer to operate on me but he said there was only a ten per cent chance of survival. It was just too risky, so they decided against it.
“My parents always worried about my chances of getting married. And they died too young to help me make that happen. In the end I had nothing to offer a bride so I decided it was best not to marry.” Ganesh was the son of an affluent farmer and was set to inherit 30 acres of profitable agricultural land in Champaran, Bihar, northern India, when his father died.
But his uncle, along with some local officials, managed to claim ownership of the land and house, leaving then teenage Ganesh with nothing.
He explained: “I tried to fight him in the courts but in the end I lost because I just didn’t know the right people. Let’s say my uncle was very well connected and in the end officials even used my facial condition as an excuse to stop me entering offices.”
Ganesh managed to work as a mechanic for many years but in the end his facial condition left him unable to see clearly. “My village folk hated being anywhere near me,” he said. “I know people don't like looking at me but I am not a bad person. I am a happy man, I make the most of what I have and I am the way I am.
“I have a good head on me, I know many trades and I could’ve been a success, but I have faced problems getting on in life because of my appearance.” Ganesh now moves around small towns, sleeping in temples and eating where he can.
People give him around 200 rupees a day (£2.50), which he said is enough to survive on. “I wasn't comfortable taking money from people at first but then I thought that maybe God has made me this way and this is what’s meant to be for me,” he added.
Ganesh is now a content man. He refuses to dwell on the negatives and believes he lives a good life compared to some.
He said: “I am God’s creation. I am not bitter about my appearance. Some people call me a reincarnation of Ganesh, the Hindu God, while others see me as the devil. But I don’t want any pity. This is my life and I live it the best I can.”
Dr Vivek Kumar, a plastic and cosmetic surgeon and consultant, at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, in New Delhi, said Ganesh suffers from neurofibromatosis, meaning a large tumour has grown on his face.
He added: “This appears to potentially be a very treatable condition. But it would not be simple, and would require a specialist team of surgeons.”
But Ganesh doesn't want to see any surgeon, he said the time has passed for operating tables, and will now continue to live as he always has done.
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