Indian family who believe their webbed fingers are a curse from God refuse surgery

May 18, 2017  19:08

An Indian family has 140 members with webbed fingers that they believe is a curse from God.     

From the 85-year-old head of the family to the youngsters, the members of the Kannathu clan from a small village in Alappuzha, southern India, have been born with webbed fingers for generations.

Although the condition, known as Syndactyly, can be treated, the family believes having surgery on their fingers will bring them a bad omen.

Sarasu Kannathu, 70, the oldest woman in the family says: 'We do not even see surgery as an option. Despite our fingers [being] fused together, we live a normal life and do not face any difficulty in day-to-day chores.

'While many have suggested us to get them corrected, we have a strong feeling that if we undergo surgery something bad will happen to us.'

Lakshmi, another family member, added: 'I can cook, chop vegetables, wash clothes and utensils, and even stitch with my fingers, I have never faced any trouble.

'It is because I was born this way and I have learnt how to use them correctly, however, I miss wearing rings.'

The condition first arose in the family around 90 years ago and has been passed on for generations, with one of the women recently giving birth to a baby with similar fingers.

Although Ms Kannathu believes future generations will continue to be affected, she insists that her family has accepted their condition and are proud to show their webbed hands to people who have traveled far just to have a glimpse of them.

She said: 'It will pass on to coming generations. It has been part of the family and we believe it will always be. 

'While people do not understand the condition [at] first, they see it as divine when we explain why we have this.

'Our grandfather used to tell it started after a neighbour cut off a tree at the sacred grove. Ever since, the children of our family are born with webbed hands.

'One relative had lost his hearing sense after he had a surgery to correct his fingers. We do not want to meet with the same fate by hurting or angering the Gods.'

To appease the Snake God, the family organise a big prayer ceremony every year at their home where they believe the Gods reside.

Girishkumar, 48, who works as a JCB driver, said: 'It is only because of the worship, we have never faced any troubles despite the deformed fingers. 

'I haven't faced any physical issues and I can work as any other normal person.' Medicine


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