Nepali hopes claim to be shortest man stands up

Chandra Bahadur Dangi, a 72-year-old Nepali, walks near his home in the village of Reemkholi.

Story highlights

  • Chandra Bahadur Dangi lives in a Nepali village
  • He hopes to be certified world's shortest man
  • A teetotaler, Dangi said he's never taken medicine
At an estimated 22 inches tall, Chandra Bahadur Dangi's body is the size of a large infant. But Dangi, at 72, is full grown.
Sunday, he may be declared the world's shortest man if Guinness World Records measures his height and indeed verifies he stands 22 inches tall.
Dangi flew to the capital, Kathmandu, from his home in southwestern Nepal on instructions from Guinness World Records officials.
Dangi, who sports a traditional hat and tailor-made clothing, is in high spirits.
"I feel good that I will be declared the world's shortest man," he said.
Dangi says he has never taken any kind of medication or been examined by a doctor. He has only suffered from fevers, coughs and colds, and when he does, he has a remedy: "At such times I drink hot water and have tumeric power dissolved in water. The fever lasts for two to three days."
He says the secret behind his health is his constitution. "I haven't been ill probably because my body is good," he said, his eyes sparkling.
The seventh sibling of a family of six brothers and two sisters, Dangi left his village for the first time five years ago. This is his first visit to the Himalayan capital.
Asked why he did not stake a claim earlier to be declared the shortest man, he said his family was unaware of such a record because they are uneducated.
Guinness World Records said the current record holder for the world's shortest man is Filipino Junrey Balawing, 18, at 23.5 inches tall.
In his remote village in Dang district, about 350 kilometers (217 miles) from Kathmandu, Dangi spends his days making placemats and head straps for villagers to carry heavy loads on their backs.
"He would also look after the buffalos and cows," said his nephew, Dolak Dangi. "Although he could not chase them or tie them, he would call us if they strayed."
After all, buffalo milk is Dangi's favorite. He has been a teetotaler all his life and does not drink tea or coffee. Rather than rice, the staple food of Nepalis, he like chapatis, or flatbread, made of wheat. "He eats in small portions," said his nephew.
Although he never attended school, a teacher came to Dangi's house. He has a fifth-grade education.
Despite his height, no one has mistreated Dangi.
"Everyone has been good to me," he said in his high-pitched voice, which at times is barely audible. Sometimes, his nephew, who accompanied him, had to translate what Dangi was saying.
A lumber contractor, Ram Bhadur B.K., came across Dangi five years ago when he had gone to his village to clear the road to cut trees. "I wanted to make him public," B.K. said.
The first time Dangi left his village he went to a fair at a nearby town where thousands of people paid money to look at him.
"Now I want to go around the world," Dangi said nonchalantly.
Dangi does not remember his father and his mother, who died when he was about 16 years old. His immediate older brother and his family have looked after him.
Three of his five brothers were less than 4 feet tall, while his two sisters and two brothers are of average height.
Dangi said that he does not have many wishes because he is small. "I can never be tall," he said.
But he does have one regret: never marrying.