Conjoined twins from India, 12-year-old Shivanath and Shivram Sahu, were born joined at the waist. The boys have four arms and two torsos, but share one set of hips and legs. In their village, some see the connected twins as a divine incarnation to be revered. Others see an embodiment of malevolence, a strange likeness that is equally shunned and misunderstood.
For the twin boys, they see neither. They are simply two young pre-teens, and they are happy with their lot in life, reports the Daily Mail on April 10. Even though separation surgery is possible, the boys say they never want to be removed from one another.
“We don't wish to get separated. We will stay like this even when we grow old. We want to live as we are,” Shivram said.
The boys have adapted to their bizarre way of life. Much like symbionts, the twins have learned to care for one another – washing, dressing and feeding themselves. They share one stomach, but have separate hearts and lungs. They are very much two individuals from the waist up; one individual from the waist down.
“We have taught ourselves everything,” says Shivanath. “We ride to school on a bicycle and playing cricket is no problem.”
The twins use a special bicycle that can be powered with their arms. One of the boys steers while upside down, the other uses his arms to turn the pedals. The family lives in a split-level home, and the Sahus have learned to walk on all six of their limbs – earning them the “spider boys” nickname.
Father Raj Kumar, a 45-year-old married laborer who also has five daughters, says his boys are in the top of their class in academics. He speaks of the hardships they have, yet he is proud that his sons have adjusted to the body that Kumar says was given to them by God.
“For everyone it is good fun to watch my children, but only I understand all the problems they have,” Kumar said. “During rainy season it becomes difficult for them to walk and when one wants to sit the other has to lie down. But they don't fight. They have similar opinions and if one says he wants to play the other one agrees.”
UK’s Mirror.com explains how two persons form from one cell: “Conjoined twins occur when the zygote, the initial cell formed by sexual reproduction, fails to completely separate. It is thought to occur in roughly one in every 50,000 births, but just 1 percent make it to their first birthday and two-thirds are stillborn.”
The phrase “joined at the hip” takes on new meaning with Shivanath and Shivram. They are attached to one another, and this is how they plan to stay.
The Huffington Post says Dr. Krishan Chugh, a pediatrician at Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurgaon, India, strongly feels that a successful separation would be feasible, but that only one of the boys would be left with the legs. The other would be a paraplegic and need constant care for the rest of his adult life.
“This operation is possible,” Dr. Chugh said. “But there are questions whether we should.What would we gain and what we will lose? What does the family want, how will society take it and, most importantly, how will these two kids take it?”
For Kumar, who refuses to take his boys outside of the small central India village for fear of what others may think or do, there is only one answer.
“God has created them like this so they have to walk like they do. They will remain like this. I don't want anything else,” Kumar said. “Even if doctors say so, I won't get my children separated. I have no interest in money. I'm the one who will work hard to nourish them. I don't need any help.”