In the southern most Indian state of Kerala, there is a small village called ‘Kodinji’, with a population of about 15000 people, in the northern region of the state. On all counts, ‘Kodinji’ is just an ordinary kerala village, similar to many in the state. The village is surrounded from all sides, with lush paddy fields, which remain filled with water for most of the time of the year. During Monsoon months, sometimes, this village becomes even inaccessible, because of water flowing around it. Nevertheless, if you happen to visit this village, for some reason or other, you are likely to suspect, that your eyes are suffering from double vision.
In this village of 2000 families, there are 230 twin siblings. For every 1000 births taking place in this village, some 45 are born as twins. This figure happens to be 6 folds more than the world average. The oldest twin pair from the village is 65 years old now. Rifa and Ritha, twin sisters born on 15 June 2009, are the youngest. There is a social organization for the twins, called ‘Kodinji Twins & Kins Association’(TAKA), in the village. According to this organization, 5 more women are likely to deliver twins in next few months.
In all over western world as well as in the Indian metros, the girls now tend to get married much later in their life, due to factors like their education and careers. Because of their advanced age, conceiving a child may sometimes become difficult. Such couples often tend to take help of fertility drugs or as a final resort may accept artificial insemination techniques. It has been found, that the girls undergoing such treatments, are likely to conceive twins. However, ‘Kodinji’ youth get married around age of 18 to 20 years and do not have to take any medical fertility help. Besides, their diet is also just normal. They do not consume excessive dairy products, which some people link to fertility. Another specialty of Kondiji twins is that there are very few identical twins here. Non-identical twins are conceived from different eggs at the same time. Identical twins are born, from division of an impregnated single egg. With Fertility drugs, induced twins are usually identical.
Kodinji village that way, is an isolated place. Its people are not likely to be affected with bad effects of harmful drugs, chemicals or insecticides. Therefore, the real reasons for occurrence of ‘Kodinji’ twins remain unknown. Some people do think that it is due to some special property of drinking water here. However, this cannot be proved on any scientific basis.
Meanwhile, such large number of twins in such a small community does create many misunderstandings. The names of the twins are similar and they tend to dress in a similar fashion. This creates confusions even amongst parents and they find it difficult sometimes to tell who is sleeping and who is playing. Teachers in the school also face such predicaments. Obviously, in spite of all this, the twins do have their own preferences. If one likes cricket, other may prefer football.
Ajmer, a boy aged 12, is however unhappy with something else. He feels that the twins in the village share all the lime light and no one cares for single kids like him.
11 August 2009