World’s shortest man Chandra Bahadur Dangi’s body stranded in America

Chandra Bahadur Dangi
Much loved and celebrated in American Samoa. Photo courtesy: Samoa Observer

A family member of the world’s shortest man who died in America last Friday says he is stuck with his body in a foreign land simply because he does not have the necessary fund to either cremate there or bring him back to his native village in Nepal.

Chandra Bahadur Dangi, whose records as the planet’s shortest human being was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records on 26 February 2012, passed away on 4 September at a medical centre in Pago Pago, American Samoa. He was fulfilling his contract with Tupa’l Bruno’s Magic Circus.

Mr Dangi’s death filled the Facebook walls of Nepalese living across the globe. Media outlets far and wide, right from Nepal’s top publication house Kantipur to international giants like Times dedicated prime spaces to eulogize his rise to fame and the sudden demise. 

Wikipedia picture.

However, the massive international media attention has done little to help his nephew Dolakh Dangi to bring his uncle’s remains back to their native village of Purandhara in Dang district. Dolakh had accompanied the world record holder on 17 March as he left Nepal for Samoa to fulfill a contract under which he would be posing for pictures with circus-goers.

Dolakh told a vernacular daily in Kahmandu that neither the circus company that invited him to America nor the Nepalese government has come forward to help repatriate the body.

It is not clear whether or not the young man has officially approached the Nepalese government through the US embassy.

The prime minister of Nepal Sushil Koirala himself had issued a statement to mourn the death of the shortest man, clearly showing how much his life was celebrated while he was alive.

Dangi was born and brought up in a poverty-ridden family in western Nepal. The village is so remote that it took until last Monday for his family to receive news of his death which occurred on Friday.

I am trying (to bring his body home) sir, no one listens to me,” Dolakh told Nagarik Dainik.

It is understood Dangi’s body has not been released by the hospital because his family still owes approximately NRS 2 million (AUD$ 26,962) to the hospital.

The circus company had apparently promised approximately AUD 35,000 for the six month contract to the 76 year old who stood at just 21 inches of height. Dolakh also told the Nepalese daily that there was a verbal agreement for the circus company to bear his medical expenses but since his death the company has distanced itself from the situation.

It is noteworthy that on Sunday a parliamentarian from Mr Dangi’s native district had urged the Nepal government to take measures to facilitate the repatriation of his body. Member of the Constituent Assembly Dipak Giri told Nagarik that until now no one had shown any interest in that regard.

Mr Dangi was admitted at the hospital for suspected pneumonia. After receiving care for three days, he went into coma. The doctors declared him dead after he was in coma for further three days.

Apart from the financial uncertainty, Dolakh has a legal hurdle to overcome. He and his uncle apparently had no visas for the USA as they went through different countries before they reached American Samoa.

Now he fears that even if the US government decides to send the body home, he cannot return with it because he does not have a valid visa. It would take at least two weeks to process his visa even if he arranges the money for it. On the other hand, the hospital has already warned him that it could not keep the body for more than 21 days out of which six days have already passed.

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