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Kodhini: The Twin’s Town

Posted on January 29, 2010 in Society, Specials

Avnish Gaurav:

Walking into the village is almost like having walked into a replicator. This place on earth has left doctors baffled and researchers scratching their heads. Lush green patches of land, pitter-patter rains, and tea shops buzzing with activity… its business as usual in Kodhini, a tiny hamlet in Kerala, until the long-winding roads take you to the government school. Here Lisa looks like Louisa, Sam looks like Samuel and Alfred like Anthony.

An unofficial figure puts the number of twins in Kodinhi at 230 pairs, in a population of less than 15,000. Give but not take another five or 10, say the villagers. Of the 306 births in Kodinhi last year, 14 were twins. This abode of mystery is situated around 35 kilometers (22 mi) south of Calicut and 30 kilometres (19 mi) west of Malappuram, the district headquarters. The village is surrounded by backwaters on all sides but one, which connects it to the town of Tirurangadi. A majority of the residents are Sunni Muslims, and follow the Shafi school of thought.

The mammoth birth rate of twins in the village still remains a mystery, coupled with curiosity. Recently, a national team of geneticists from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad visited the village for studies. Such high birth-rates of twins have not been reported anywhere in the world, except certain places in Nigeria and Spain. The National Geographical Channel, the international news agency, Reuters and Khaleej Times of Saudi Arabia have also visited Kodinhi to record the interesting paradox found here. The exact reason behind this peculiar phenomenon is yet to be arrived at.

Even the women married off from Kodinhi and also married to the youth in Kodinhi have been giving birth to twins.

* There are 250 sets of twins born to just 2,000 families.
* The number of twins born here is almost six times the global average.
* In the last five years alone, up to 60 pairs of twins have been born, with the rate of twins increasing year-on-year.

Research world wide has shown that twinning is generally caused by:-

1. Artificial Insemination.
2. Air and Water pollution.
3. Local eating habits.
4. Late marriage.
5. Extensive use of fertility drugs.

Surprisingly, none of the above factors relate to Kondinhi. The twins born are healthy in most cases. There is no artificial insemination. Normal marriage age in this village is 18-20 years. If the actual reason is deciphered, the magic element could turn into the future (miracle) treatment for infertile couples.

A ‘Twins and Kins Association’ (TAKA) has been formed to register and provide support to the twins of Kodinhi and their families.

The writer is a correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz.