Last Thursday, in India, a child was born with a very visible birth defect that created a protrusion in the middle of her face, the result of a gene mutation that may have been caused by “malnutrition and increased pollution levels.”
Yet, instead of focusing on her health, she’s become a symbol of worship to many religious Hindus, who see the child as an incarnation of Lord Ganesha:
“Her face looks exactly like Lord Ganesha. Everybody is saying she is an incarnation of the god. This is why many are coming here to get a glimpse of the baby and are making whatever offerings possible,” the baby’s aunt Rajani said.
“A baby boy was born with a trunk some time back also. Unfortunately, he didn’t survive. But if this girl does, the family can go for corrective surgery.” Dr Jayant Sharma from Jeevan Hospital told the Times of India.
I suppose being worshiped is better than crueler alternatives, but I fear that (medical risks aside) the family may be reluctant to get the corrective procedure done. Not only has the child has become a symbol for many — to the point where they may not want to dishonor Lord Ganesha by altering the child’s appearance — it’s a source of income for a cash-strapped family.
That’s assuming the worst, of course. I hope that’s not the case and the family can use whatever offerings are being made to get the child the best surgeons possible.