A man suffering from a rare facial deformity is worshipped by his neighbours as a god, but is in desperate need of surgery to end his pain.
42-year-old Kanai Das suffers from a condition called neurofibromatosis, which has disfigured his face and left skin drooping down his chest, like an elephants trunk.
He cannot eat and talk properly and always needs medicines to keep his inflamed skin soothed. His deformity has also meant he’s never managed to land himself a good job.
Kanai now resorts to begging and walks to the railway station every morning, hoping to get money from passing commuters who give him as much as £3 a day from his efforts.
Despite being a beggar many Indians believe he is the reincarnation of Lord Ganesha – the elephant God – and they pay him money in respect.
Kanai – from Baruipur in West Bengal in eastern India – was abandoned by his mother as she couldn’t afford his treatment. He was found scavenging dustbins by Bharati Roy, 73, before she adopted him.
He has been told by doctors that his condition his incurable, but Kanai is hopeful that he can cobble together some funds for a procedure to save him from the daily stress and pain.
Speaking to The Mirror, Kanai said:
I always pray to God and ask him for forgiveness. My life is very painful. I cannot walk or eat. I spill the food while eating. I do visit others as it embarrasses me. The flesh irritates me, it always feels like burning and itching. I have to always take medicines so to keep the skin soothed. Though doctors have told me there is no cure, I still hope for a miracle. I want to be a healthy person and lead a normal life.