Late Dashrath Manjhi or the ‘Mountain Man’, was a poor labourer from a small village in the state of Bihar in India. He awe-struck millions of people with a feat, which was to carve a path through a hill, only using a hammer and chisel.
What a man can do for his love? How inspiring can love be? To what extent could one go for his desire to help? If Dashrath Manjhi, a labourer, in the village of Gehlour, Bihar (a state in India) would not have died 8 years ago, he would have replied, “Sky is the Limit.” It’s always easier said than done, but he literally proved the phrase true by his actions.
Mr. Manjhi was married to Falguni Devi. Falguni (then pregnant), one day while crossing a hill to bring water and lunch for her husband who worked as a labour in a field, slipped and injured herself seriously due to falling off from the mountain, ultimately leading to her death. Disturbed by the loss of his love, Manjhi set himself a mission to carve out a proper road through the hill, so that travelling could be easier for the people, and consequently people could also have access to quicker medical facilities. The spark that ignited the day helped him work madly for 22 years, often without food, at times by eating leaves, and drinking dirty water, all to achieve his feat. His struggle led him to single handedly carve out a 360 feet long, 25 feet high, and 30 feet wide road from a mountain.
Though he had cut a protected mountain, which is an offence under Indian “Wildlife Protection Act,” yet his extraordinary feat made him a true inspiration. His name was referred for one of India’s highest civilian honour the “Padma Shree,” and he was given a stately funeral by the Government of Bihar. In 2011, the government officially named the road as the “Dashrath Manjhi Path.”
Manjhi is often even referred to as the “poor man’s Shah Jahan,” while he did not make a “wonder of the world” for his wife, his feat seems far greater, just for the pure grit, and determination, and it is certainly non-debatable unlike its counterpart. A Bollywood movie was released on 21 August, 2015 featuring his struggle, love and determination in life. The movie was titled “Manjhi: The Mountain Man.” It was said that he gave the exclusive rights to make a movie on him, while on his death-bed.
People called him “mad”, but as he said, maybe “God” was with him, and he did the unthinkable, making travelling easier for all the people in his village, and all nearby villages. He also brought the ‘mussahar’ community into light who with respect to living standards are still centuries behind than all of you reading this. More than 98% still die as illiterates, and are forced to work as labours for the higher sections of society in Bihar.
Like all good stories do, Dashrath Manjhi’s story had its fair share of setbacks, villainy, and help, but the poor labourer taught everyone that “impossible” is a word in a fool’s dictionary, and anyways poor Manjhi couldn’t have ever afford a dictionary, until he became the “Mountain Man.”
[Photo Credit: One India]