16 June, 2021

In Pics | Village Of Twins In Uttar Pradesh

Entwined identically at birth, the many pairs of twins reared on the fecund soil of UP’s Umri typify one of nature’s inscrutable ways

In Pics | Village Of Twins In Uttar Pradesh

The same piercing eyes, the same toothy smile. The same fringe of hair falling on the same forehead. The old shopkeeper stood no chance. Seven-year-old Far­hat bought a few toffees from his village shop, promising to pay later. The old man agreed, little knowing what was to come. Farhat had an ide­­ntical twin, Nighat, and every time he’d spot either of the two and ask for money, they’d say it was the other sister: “It was her, not me.” At last, the thoroughly haras­sed man approached their mother. That was in 2003, in Allahabad’s Umri village.

Umri, with a population of fewer than 900, stands out for a unique biological phenomenon: it has had, by local acc­ounts, 35-40 pairs of identical twins in the past few decades. The village’s collective memory fails to remember the first noteworthy occurrence, but of the oldest pair, only one is alive, with 94 years behind him. Outlook visited the village the year of Farhat’s prank; nearly 16 years on, the two girls are separated. Nighat is married, has...

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