Deified in Bihar, pampered in Rajasthan
Some people in a Bihar village say Lakshmi Tatma has divine powers while others feel she is an incarnation of a goddess.india Updated: Dec 21, 2007 18:17 IST
Two-year-old Lakshmi Tatma, who was released last Saturday from a Bangalore hospital after a complicated operation to remove her parasitic twin, is being treated like a princess in her new home, Rajasthan's Manaklao village, while women in her native Bihar are worshipping her clay idol.
The girl drew international attention when a team of doctors in a Bangalore hospital performed a 27-hour-long surgery from Nov 6-7 to separate her from her parasitic twin who was joined at the pelvis. Before the surgery she had four arms and four legs.
Some people in Rampur Kodarkatti village in Bihar's Araria district say Lakshmi has divine powers while others believe she is an incarnation of a Hindu goddess.
Lakshmi's idol has been installed in the village and many villagers, particularly women, have started worshipping her. Her relatives are planning to build a temple dedicated to her.
The villagers are upbeat about her successful operation and are eager to welcome her back home. They have bought new clothes, sweets, chocolates, colourful balloons and toys as gifts but are not sure when Lakshmi will visit the village.
Lakshmi, her labourer father Shambu, mother Poonam, and brother are now in Manaklao village in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan, about 370 km from the state capital Jaipur.
The "miracle child" has become the apple of everybody's eyes in Manakalo and people have been treating her like a princess ever since her arrival in the village on Sunday.
The villagers knock at the family's door everyday with queries about Lakshmi's health. Some come to make offerings of fresh fruits while others just want to catch a glimpse of her.
"Ever since we have come here people seem to be overjoyed. I don't know where to put all the things that people are giving us," Poonam told IANS.
Lakshmi was brought to the village in Rajasthan along with her family by a Jodhpur-based NGO, the Sucheta Kriplani Shiksha Niketan (SKSN), which has offered to provide free boarding and education to the girl. The organisation has also given a separate accommodation to her family.
"We are very happy that our brave baby sustained such a complex surgery. It feels like beginning a completely new life," Lakshmi's father Sambhu said.
"The NGO and media helped us at every stage of our long struggle. Some of the hospitals had earlier refused to admit Lakshmi saying the surgery was very complex and expensive. Now life seems to have come back on track. Lakshmi's father will work in a dairy managed by the NGO," said Poonam.
SKSN provides free boarding and education to about 500 physically challenged children, mainly victims of polio, at Manaklao village.
Bhairoon Singh Bhati, secretary of SKSN, told IANS: "I only wish to see the child stand on her feet and get a good education."