Who was Chandra Bahadur Dangi?
Chandra Bahadur Dangi, a Nepali with a maximum height of 1ft 9.5 inches or 54.6cm, was the shortest human in the world as well as the shortest individual in the recorded history of mankind. Both his height and weight were normal at the time of his birth but his mother observed that children born to her neighbors were growing at a much faster pace than her son. Chandra’s unusually short stature could be attributed to a medical condition known as ‘primordial dwarfism’ which is a type of dwarfism typically characterized by stunted growth, restricting the body to a small size from birth to death. Before Dangi’s height was officially measured and recorded by the ‘Guinness World Records’, Gul Mohammad of New Delhi, India, held the record for being the world’s shortest person. Out of the seven siblings of Chandra Dangi, three brothers fell in the category of ‘midgets’ or individuals with short statures as they were less than 4 feet tall (approx. 1.22m). Dangi, who had never stepped out of the village where he was born, travelled for the first time, all the way to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal to get his height reviewed and appraised. Only after Chandra’s height was assessed and reconfirmed thrice on the same day by officials of Guinness World Records that his entry into the esteemed record books was assured.
Life as the Shortest Man in the World
Chandra Bahadur Dangi was born on 30th November 1939 in the sleepy hamlet of Kalimati that falls under the jurisdiction of Salyan District in Nepal. At the time of his birth, his size was normal, similar to any other newborn. However, his growth and development, at least physically, was not comparable with those of his friends who quickly outgrew him.
Dangi’s mother became worried as she could not fathom as to why he was not gaining height in the way his friends were, and gave him bone strengthening medications. Unfortunately, the medicines could not help promote further growth.
His family later on shifted to Rimkholi village in Dang District that was situated far away from civilization, and did not even have electricity. Dangi, well before he became famous as the shortest human in the world, earned his livelihood by making namlo—a jute basket that is strapped over the head and carried over one’s back.
It was in 2012 when a timber contractor who was visiting Rimkholi village took notice of Dangi’s extraordinarily small size and recommended his name to the Guinness World Records. Chandra had to travel to Kathmandu, situated about 400 km away, to get his height evaluated by the Guinness World Record officials.
After it was corroborated and established that Dangi was the world’s shortest living person, he found a mention in the record books. At the same time, he was awarded twin certificates for being the shortest existing individual and also for being the world’s shortest person in Guinness book’s recorded history.
It was in 2012 that Dangi, aged 73, met Jyoti Amge, the world’s shortest female hailing from Nagpur in India. Dangi and Jyoti were featured in The Guinness Book of Record’s 57th edition that was published in 2013. Chandra Dangi visited London in 2014 to share the frame with the tallest person in the world, Sultan Kösen, on 13th November, Guinness World Records Day.
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Dangi contracted pneumonia while he was travelling with the troupe of Tupa’l Bruno’s Magic Circus in American Samoa. He passed away on 3rd September 2015 at the Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center in Pago Pago.
Some Interesting Snippets about Chandra Bahadur Dangi
Dangi was a Nepalese who spent the better part of his adult life staying with his nephews in the village of Kalimati where he was born
After he was conferred the title (of the world’s shortest human), he mentioned that it had been his long cherished desire to travel throughout the length and breadth of Nepal. He also expressed his wish to embark on a world tour.