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29 April, 2010

Man reported living without food for 70 years!

Sky News says Indian doctors are studying the case of Prahlad Jani, an 83-year-old holy man in Ahmedabad who has been living without food for seven decades.

The source of the report is not clear.

I had worked in Ahmedabad as a news agency correspondent during 1966-68. If the report is correct, Prahlad Jani must have been living without for more than 25 years already. But I did not hear of him and his feat.

During that period a couple of cases of elderly devout Jains inviting death by going on indefinite fast were reported. But I did not come across any mention of this holy man in the local media.

Earlier in my professional career I had come across the case of Dhanalakshmi, a teenaged girl of Coorg (Kodagu) who was reportedly managing without food. The story was broken by The Hindu’s Mercara (Madikeri) correspondent and picked up by national and foreign media.

Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru asked the Bangalore Medical College to study the case of Dhanalakshmi, whom the media had dubbed the Wonder Girl of Coorg. After a few days doctors reported that her brother was caught trying to smuggle food into her hospital room.

Here’s the Sky News report reproduced by Yahoo! News

Also reproduced are archival material about the Dhanalakshmi case:

Time magazine report

A follow-up report published by The Hindu

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