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article imageIndian man claims not to have eaten, drank water for 70 years

By Stephanie Dearing     Apr 29, 2010 in World
Ahmedabad - Scientists in India are very interested in Prahlad Jani, an old man who claims to have abstained from food and liquids for 70 years. He claims a goddess feeds him an elixir through a hole in the roof of his mouth.
Westerners have trekked to India on personal quests to find enlightenment -- and the holy men who could teach them the way. There are many ascetics in India, with those who claim to be able to perform amazing feats, although there are people who claim the feats are faked. It is common for holy men to not eat or drink water for days and, allegedly, months at a time.
So when physicians learned of Prahlad Jani, and his death-defying capability of surviving without sustenance or liquids, they became curious - particularly because Jani is 82 years old, and claims to not have had food and water for 74 years. Jani said he is fed an "elixir" through a hole in the roof of his mouth by a goddess, who had adopted him when he was a boy.
Not all scientists are curious about Jani's strange capability. Some have dismissed Jani as a fraud. However, India's military thinks there is something to Jani's survival on nothing but air, and have installed the man at Sterling Hospital in Ahmendabab to study him. They'd like to learn his secrets. The study involves monitoring and observing Jani while he spends 21 days in the hospital without food or water.
Jani has now spent six days without life-giving sustenance, and remarkably appears to be suffering no ill effects. One of the physicians involved in observing Jani is the Director of the Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences, Dr. G. Ilavazhagan. Ilavazhagan said "If his claims are verified, it will be a breakthrough in medical science. We will be able to help save human lives during natural disasters, high altitude, sea journeys and other natural and human extremities. We can educate people about the survival techniques in adverse conditions with little food and water or nothing at all."
Jani is apparently in very good health, said Al Jazeera. The fact that he is showing no negative physical effects after six days of deprivation is exciting physicians observing the holy man. Neurologist Dr. Sudhir Shah told press, “The observation from this study may throw light on human survival without food and water. It may help in working out strategies for survival during natural calamities, extreme stressful conditions and extra-terrestrial explorations like future missions to the Moon and the Mars.”
According to a news source in Ahmendabab, Jani was studied for 10 days in 2003 for the very same amazing capability.
Some have called Jani a "Breatharian," someone who can obtain sustenance from sunlight and the air.
Most humans can only go for a period of days without water, but apparently a person can survive without eating for up to one year, as long as she or he has water and vitamins. While the length of time a person can go without water before dying varies according to physical conditions, most people do not last more than one week.
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