An Indian woman claims to be the world’s oldest dwarf – at 113 years old.
Zeenat Bi, a resident of Bhopal, India, has Government pension records stating she is 101 – but the feisty pensioner claims she is twelve years older.
The current record holder, according to Guinness World Records, is American dwarf Lowell Deforest Mason, who was 74 years old as of February this year.
And Zeenat, who stands at three feet tall, has now earmarked a wish list of things she wants to do before she dies – including meeting Bollywood star Salman Khan and taking part in the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
She remembers when the British still ruled India and Nawabs (Indian Princes) still held a major influence over daily life. Zeenat said: “I am so old that I have seen this city grow up with me. I remember during the British times, this entire city was almost a jungle. There were trees as far as the eye could see.
“I even remember when the British introduced English bread in the city for the first time. It was such a sensation, like nothing people had eaten before.”
Zeenat has survived all of her family and never married.
Despite suffering from cataracts and a calcium deficiency, she manages to survive on her only source of income, a government pension of 275 rupees ($3.19) per month.
She said: “I have been living alone for almost 50 years now. I never married and never had kids.
“All I have got is a small bed that was gifted to me by the former Chief Minister of the state, Uma Bharti. She used to send me 2500 rupees ($30) every month. But no one remembers me now.”
Her guardian, Abrar Muhammad Khan, said: “No one in the Government even cares for her. All people use her for is exhibition purposes, but no one really cares for her.”
Even though her hair is still black, Zeenat Bi has undergone a cataract operation for her eyes and suffers from severe calcium deficiency.
“I only have three teeth left now in my mouth. Once I used to have a beautiful set,” she adds wistfully.
Zeenat has been living rent-free with local doctor Abrar Khan and his family for 20 years.
He said: “She is like my mother and a part of my family. We don’t let her do any work around the house.”
Zeenat Bi says her one love in life is eating “Paan”, a preparation of Betel leaf with Areca nut and tobacco. “I can live without food, but not without my Paan,” she says.