Sunday, February 04, 2007

Flash news: Man eats 2 kg of grass every day

Legend has it that the 16th century Rajput ruler Maharana Pratap had survived in exile by eating rotis made of grass.

In 2007, Gangaram Gautam, a daily wage labourer in Kanpur, seems so inspired by Maharana Pratap’s example that he eats 2 kg of grass every day, and thrives.

“I was around 7 years old when I first ate grass. I liked the taste and gradually increased my intake without letting my family members know about this habit. I had heard about Maharana Pratap eating ghaas ki roti and I thought I would eat it too,” he says.

Now, at 41, Gangaram feels “incomplete” unless he has eaten his staple diet of 2 kg of grass. “Initially I would eat normal food along with the grass, but for the past four or five years I have been eating only grass. After eating grass, I walk at a speed of 15 km per hour in order to digest the food,” he explains. Every day, when he feels hungry, Gangaram goes to nearby parks and gardens and “grazes” till he has had his fill. “In the beginning the gardeners would shoo me away but now they allow me to graze in their gardens. I take care not to spoil their gardens and graze only where the grass is overgrown,” he says.

Gangaram’s story was recently published in a local newspaper in Kanpur and the local doctors, who examined him after that, have found him to be physically fit.

Dr U.K. Srivastava, who examined Gangaram last week, says, “He is able to digest the grass because of the physical labour he does every day. Though he does not face any ailments now, this habit could cause problems as he ages because he is not taking any other nutritious food.” Gangaram, however, disagrees. “If herbivorous animals can survive on grass, why can’t human beings? Our forefathers must have survived on plants and grass before they developed the system of eating cooked food,” he says.

His habit of eating grass has wrecked Gangaram’s two marriages.

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