Miscellaneous & Offbeat

A man who broke a mountain alone


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Today I watched a Hindi movie: Manjhi — the Mountain Man. It’s a great movie on the life of Dashrath Manjhi, a landless farmer from Gehlaur village, in the Gaya district of Indian state of Bihar. Both Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte gave superb performance in this biopic.

Manjhi made history after he spent over two decades chiseling away at a mountain with rudimentary tools, in order to create a road for his community, when the Government refused to.

One day, when his wife, Phaguni Devi, was crossing the path over the hills to bring him his lunch, she slipped and seriously injured herself that eventually led to her death. He was then working in the fields on the other side of the hills.

manjhi-real-1
Dashrath Manjhi Image Credit: thewire.com

Manjhi was deeply disturbed and that very night he decided to carve a path through the Gehlaur hills so that his village could have easier access to medical attention. He carved a path through a 360 ft long, 30 ft wide and 25 ft high hillock using only a hammer and chisel. He completed the work in 22 years (1960–1982). This road reduced the distance between the Atri and Wazirganj sectors of the Gaya district from 80 km to 10 km.

Manjhi’s firm determination to carve the huge mountain gives out a strong message that every hurdle can be crossed, if one has kept a firm eye on his goal. But what empowered a single man to accomplish such a monumental task? For Dashrath, it was the love for his wife. The famous Taj Mahal looks fade against his handmade road.

Manjhi died on August 17, 2007 at the age of 73. If you’re looking for some motivation, stories don’t get much more inspirational than that of Dashrath Manjhi.

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