I have to thank one of my students for bringing the strange but (apparently) true story of Amar Bharti to my notice.

Amar was a senior ship­ping clerk and family man in New Delhi but was not happy with his lot. Above all, he was disillusioned with worldly vanity and wanted to do something to demonstrate his frustration and dedication to a higher cause.

In 1973 he decided to leave his home and work to devote the rest of his life to the Hindu God Shiva. As an outward sign of this calling he decided to  keep his right arm in a raised position. Having maintained this pose for four decades, the arm is now withered and useless;  he couldn’t put it down again even if he wanted to.

He looks like he always has a question to ask,in other words he lives as though in a permanent state of interrogation. You could say this was a metaphor for someone with a question that nobody can answer.

I fail to see what God would be impressed by this gesture, though and I wonder why self-harm is so often seen as a holy act.  Still, I suppose he’s just an extreme example of the false religious ideology that maintains we are put on this earth to suffer for the our sins.

Amar Bharti must be counting on getting his reward when he meets his maker but he’s going to look a bit daft wandering around heaven with his arm in the air.
Story of Amar Bharati on Oddity Central