Dashrath Manjhi, who was popularly known as the Mountain Man, was one of the most inspirational persons India has even seen. A landless farmer from the country, Dashrath Manjhi created history after spending more than two decades chiseling away at a mountain with the help of rudimentary tools having the perseverance to create a road for his community, which the Government refused to do.
Dashrath was born into an underprivileged laborer family in the village of Gehlaur, which is nearby Gaya in Bihar. Growing up in the deprived family where there were no resources for education, Dashrath had too limited options right from his childhood and thus, spent his entire life working in the fields.
Working in the fields near a hill that rose on one side of his own village, he realized that people had to a narrow and perfidious path in order to cross the mountain. In the year 1967, his wife, Falguni Devi got injured and thus, required immediate medical attention.
Unluckily, the nearest town that he could reach in order to see a doctor was located 70 km away, since he had to pass through the Gehlaur mountain hills. Due to which, his wife died for not being able to get timely medical treatment.
Dashrath was completely taken aback after losing his beloved wife and thus, he realized that the people of his village would repeatedly face troubles crossing the minute distance between Atri and Wazirganj block of the Gaya town, because his village was located amid several rocky hills.
After having pondered on the possible agonies of other villages, Dashrath decided to embark on a voyage of producing a shorter route manually.
The Evolution of the Mountain Man
Working on the pure humanitarian grounds for providing comfort to his people, Dashrath devoted himself fully in carving paths through a mountain in Gehlaur hills. He worked tirelessly day-in and day-out for 22 years from 1960 to 1982 to accomplish his goal.
Nonetheless, the ride of his pure hard work and tenacity was not at all an easy one. At first, the people of his own village ridiculed him, rather than helping him in the task that he was doing for the entire community. Also, they called him a maniac for having taken on such a colossal task.
But, as they say, true hard work never goes vain. Dashrath, the unfazed farmer continued splitting the niggling hill in half to the point that he even began getting some help from the people. A few of them gave him food and helped him buy tools for the task. At present, all the people of the Gaya district have profound reverence for the “Mountain Man” who single-handedly presented them with better lives.
For his accomplishment, the mountain man was given a state burial by the Government of Bihar, after he passed away on 17th August, 2007. Later, the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar proposed to construct a 3 km metalled road between Gehlaur and Amethi, titling the project as Dashrath Manjhi Road. In addition, a hospital is also planned in his name to serve the villagers.
Contributions and Role in Popular Culture
In July 2012, prominent film director Manish Jha proclaimed a movie, Manjhi, to be made on the life of Dashrath Manjhi. The Mountain Man gave his nod and put his thumb impression on an agreement, while being on his deathbed in ICU, for making the movie. Furthermore, renowned film actor, Aamir Khan dedicated the first episode of season 2 of his TV show Satyamev Jayate to Dashrath Manjhi.
Watch that episode in this video:
Movie trailer: Manjhi – The Mountain Man [Releasing 21st August 2015]
The actor in fact visited the Mountain Man in the Gaya district to pay him homage for his invaluable contribution to the people of Gaya. The actor stated that he was utterly moved and inspired by Manjhi’s conviction and courage.
Surely, our country has produced legends who have won Nobel Prizes, Padma bhushan, and Padma Shree awards. But, it won’t out of the way to say that Dashrath Manjhi was probably the greatest of the great – just like the last one.
We salute the sheer passion, courage, diligence, and humanity of the Mountain Man. May god bless his soul 🙂 🙂