Chandre Oram
Chandre Oram is an India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n tea estate worker who lives in Alipurduar
Alipurduar is a sub-divisional municipal city of Jalpaiguri district, and is located at the eastern end of the district. Situated on the east bank of Kaljani River on the foothills of the Himalayas, the town is a gateway to Bhutan and North Eastern states of India...

 district of Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri is a city in the state of West Bengal, India. It is the headquarters of Jalpaiguri district, and the divisional headquarters of the North Bengal region.-History:...

, West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

. He is famous for having a 33 cm (13 inch) long tail
The tail is the section at the rear end of an animal's body; in general, the term refers to a distinct, flexible appendage to the torso. It is the part of the body that corresponds roughly to the sacrum and coccyx in mammals, reptiles, and birds...

, which has made him an object of devotion to many, who believe him to be an incarnation of Hanuman
Hanuman , is a Hindu deity, who is an ardent devotee of Rama, a central character in the Indian epic Ramayana and one of the dearest devotees of lord Rama. A general among the vanaras, an ape-like race of forest-dwellers, Hanuman is an incarnation of the divine and a disciple of Lord Rama in the...


Object of devotion

Oram was born on the date known as Rama Navami
Rama Navami
Ram Navami also known as Sri Ram Navami is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birth of Lord Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya of Ayodhya. Ram is the 7th incarnation of the Dashavatara of Vishnu. Years later Lord Rama was married to Sita on the...

, which is the birthday of legendary Hindu King Rama
Rama or full name Ramachandra is considered to be the seventh avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism, and a king of Ayodhya in ancient Indian...

 who is considered to be an incarnation of God. According to the Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

, Hanuman was devoted to Rama, and helped him rescue his wife, Sita
SITA is a multinational information technology company specialising in providing IT and telecommunication services to the air transport industry...

, who was being held captive by an evil king.

As a consequence of his apparent resemblance to Hanuman, Oram has been visited by large numbers of people who wish to receive his blessings. Some of his followers also report miraculous healings of severe ailments after touching his tail. Oram claims to enjoy other aspects of monkey-like behaviour, including jumping, climbing, and eating bananas.

Oram has set up a shrine to honour Hanuman, on top of which there is a red silk flag, which is Hanuman's symbol. The offerings he receives are given to the deity.

Clinical explanation

According to physicians the tail Oram has is not a real tail, but a congenital malformation known as spina bifida
Spina bifida
Spina bifida is a developmental congenital disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube. Some vertebrae overlying the spinal cord are not fully formed and remain unfused and open. If the opening is large enough, this allows a portion of the spinal cord to protrude through...

, in this case of the rare meningocele category. It is possible for human embryos to develop a real tail, as the genes which cause it still exist in many people. However, the probability of this gene expressing is very low: it can happen because of rare recessive gene coupling, or some form of mutation that brings the gene back to a dominant place. That is why very few cases have been recorded in the history of medicine. The presence of these kind of vestigial structures is known as an atavism
Atavism is the tendency to revert to ancestral type. In biology, an atavism is an evolutionary throwback, such as traits reappearing which had disappeared generations before. Atavisms can occur in several ways...

. When a human embryo develops a true tail, it is located as a prolongation of the coccyx
The coccyx , commonly referred to as the tailbone, is the final segment of the vertebral column. Comprising three to five separate or fused vertebrae below the sacrum, it is attached to the sacrum by a fibrocartilaginous joint, the sacrococcygeal symphysis, which permits limited movement between...

, just like the tail of a dog or a monkey.

Oram's tail emerges from his lumbar
In tetrapod anatomy, lumbar is an adjective that means of or pertaining to the abdominal segment of the torso, between the diaphragm and the sacrum ...

region, which is a clear sign that it is caused by split spine. The tail consists of a 33 cm (13 inches) long and 25 mm (1 inch) thick appendix to the bone of the spine. It is covered by lots of hair.

Social issues

Oram has refused any operation to remove his tail. According to his family, it has become a part of him which he could not live without. However, this also has its costs, as he has been unable to settle down and raise a family of his own. He has reported that approximately twenty women have rejected offers of marriage because of his tail. He has said: "I have decided to marry the woman who accepts me and my tail. Or else, I'll remain a bachelor like Hanuman."
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