Who claims to have lived without food and water since 1940

This is Prahlad Jani, who claims to have lived without food and water since 1940, and says that the goddess Amba sustains him.

During the 70-odd years since, Mr Jani says he has eaten not so much as a single grain of rice nor consumed a drop of water. And while such an extended gap between meals might be expected to have a fatal impact on the activities of one so deprived, this octogenarian says he’s never felt better.

‘Although I walk 100 or 200 kilometres in the jungle, I never sweat and don’t feel tired or sleepy,’ he says. ‘I can meditate for three, eight or 12 hours — or even months.’

Two observational studies of Jani have been conducted, one in 2003 and one in 2010, both involving Sudhir Shah, a neurologist at the Sterling Hospitals in Ahmedabad, India, who had studied people claiming to have exceptional spiritual abilities, including other fasters. In both cases the investigators confirmed Jani’s ability to survive healthily without food and water during the testing periods, although neither study was submitted to a scientific journal. When questioned six days into the 2010 experiment, the DRDO spokesperson announced that the study’s findings would be “confidential” until results were established, and a further official press release by the team stated that any inside analysis information may be disclosed only at the discretion of the principal investigator, DIPAS. Uninvolved doctors and other critics have questioned the validity of the studies and stated their belief that, although people can survive for days without food or water, it is not possible to survive for years. Especially, since glucose, a substrate critical to brain function, isn’t provided. The veracity of Mataji’s claims have also never been independently confirmed with all tests being indigenously conducted.

The team studied Jani with daily clinical examinations, blood tests, and scans. Round-the-clock surveillance was reportedly followed using multiple CCTV cameras and personal observation. The researchers say that Jani was taken out of the sealed room for tests and exposure to sun under continuous video recording. According to the researchers, Jani’s only contact with any form of fluid was said to be during gargling and occasional bathing starting from the 5th day of observation, and the toilet in Jani’s room was sealed to test his claim that he did not need to urinate or defecate.

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