Giant problems haunt family of dwarfs

Giant problems haunt family of dwarfs
Highlights

A Hyderabadi family have spoken of how they are laughed at on the street as nine out of 11 relatives are dwarfs. The Chauhan family, from Hyderabad, is affected by the genetic condition Achondroplasia, which causes short limbed dwarfism.

A Hyderabadi family have spoken of how they are laughed at on the street as nine out of 11 relatives are dwarfs. The Chauhan family, from Hyderabad, is affected by the genetic condition Achondroplasia, which causes short limbed dwarfism. They are the largest dwarf family in Hyderabad and are often taunted in the street when they are in public together.

  • Most of the Chauhan family from Hyderabad suffer from Achondroplasia
  • The family often taunted and laughed at when they go outside together
  • Ram Raj, 52, works as a ‘Marriage Welcomer’ and dresses up to greet guests

Patriarch Ram Raj, 52, said, “If we go out, people crowd around us and ask us strange questions like, ‘Why are you so short?’, ‘Where are you from?’. Everyone teases us.” Ram Raj works as a ‘Marriage Welcomer’, where he dresses up and welcomes guests to weddings, but finding employment has proved challenging for the family.

He said, “Noone was willing to give me a job. I have faced a lot of problems because people look at me and say, ‘How will you manage?’”
“I work at my relative’s grocery store when I don’t have the wedding work to do.” His 27-year-old daughter Ambika wants to be an accountant but as she also suffers from this condition, she has also found it difficult to find work.

She said, “In the future, I want to become an accountant but this will only be possible if I’m able to get a job.” “People tell me that I’m short, that’s why I’m unable to get a job.” The other members of the family, who are of short stature, including Ram Raj’s brothers and sisters, also find it very difficult to get steady work.

He said, “My younger brother works in a telephone booth and my elder brother’s wife is a tailor. We manage this way.” Ram Raj believes life is particularly tough for the females in his family. He said, “It is still ok for the male members of the family. But what about the women in my family who have this condition? Life is much more difficult for them.” Ram Raj once had a family of 21 people, 18 of whom were dwarfs.

Out of his seven sisters and four brothers, eight of his siblings suffered the same condition. Some have already passed away, including his elder brother, Prithvi Raj. Achondroplasia is the most common form of disproportionate dwarfism, and is characterised by a normal sized torso and short limbs.

The family also face health problems in later life as their shortened legs weaken. Ram Raj said, “After a certain age, the legs become weak. I have seen my grandfather and my father facing this, but they still managed to walk properly. But I have difficulty in walking and my younger brother can’t walk without help. Same with two of my sisters.”

He said, “It is still ok for the male members of the family. But what about the women in my family who have this condition? Life is much more difficult for them.” Ram Raj’s wife was of normal height but died in 1993 while she was seven months pregnant with their third child.

Ram Raj says that even though people laugh at them, and the condition makes it difficult to travel, get married and lead a regular life, the family believes God has given them this condition because they are special. He said, “My father once said that this is the dwarf incarnation of the Lord. People may laugh, but we shouldn’t feel bad about it.”

“So many people have teased me and other members of the family. But if someone is sad and, by looking at us they get to laugh, it’s God’s will that we are the ones making them laugh.” “I have two daughters,” says Ram Raj. “I try and make them understand by saying that this is their duty. And you can make it work. God is with you.” (www.dailymail.co.uk)

By Fionn Hargreaves

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