By Haziq Qadri @haziq_qadri
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Videographer / director: Rare Shot
Producer: Haziq Qadri, Ruby Coote
Editor: Marcus Cooper
Bharat Tiwari, from Madhya Pradesh, suffers from a rare condition that is yet to be diagnosed by doctors.
The villagers in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, have dubbed Bharat 'the Bendy Priest'.
The 53-year-old told Barcroft Media: “I’ve been like this since childhood and I am not sure how it happened.
“I don’t know what this condition is but I’ve been like this since childhood, after a wall fell on me when I was five years old.
“My parents tried all sorts of treatments but nothing worked."
But despite suffering from the debilitating condition, Tiwari claims his condition is a gift from God.
He said: I believe in God and I know everything comes from him. This too is from God and it shouldn’t make me sad or depressed.
“I haven’t got a disease, I’m not sad so it’s no problem.
He also says that people in the surrounding villages treat him as a respected figure, believing that he could be the reincarnation of an ancient god.
He explained: “There was once a priest who walked into the court of a king on his crutches. People started laughing at them, so he cursed them all.
“People from different villages come to see me and they pay me respect.”
“Nobody taunts me and everyone respects me and I bless them. They are all very helpful to me.”
Despite being unable to work, proud Tiwari says he faces surprisingly few issues in his everyday life.
He said: “I haven’t faced any problem as such. I always find ways to take care of myself. I travel like normal people and I can travel anywhere without any issues.”
“Also I am able to do the daily chores like I wash my clothes and I go to the market myself. I make tea for myself and for others too.”
Tiwari’s friend, and temple owner, Sadhaya Pragya Bharti said: “In our Hindu culture there were disabled priests and we believe he is a reincarnation of them.
People here don’t make fun of him, they greet him and think of him as a respected figure in the community.
“We don’t make fun of our priests. They are like our Gods and we do worship them.”
“Tiwari doesn’t take any help in any form. He is proud of himself and does all his work himself.
Ironically, we sometimes ask him for his help with things, like gardening.”
Local doctor, Dr J.K Narula has been looking after Tiwari for the past seven years and believes it is too late to begin treating the condition now.
He said: “He stays fit generally and the problem is related to his bones. Nobody in his family knows about his disease. He doesn’t have any past records.
“Because of his age I don’t think there is any chance of him getting better but any further deterioration can be avoided and taken care of.”
Despite his rare condition, Tiwari lives a fulfilled and happy life within his community.
He said: “I believe in God, and I bless everyone.
“I am happy that due to this condition people come to see me, and I am happy to bless them.
“I pray that everyone’s blessings come true."