Dashrath Manjhi | The Man Who Broke A Mountain Alone


Dashrath Manjhi (1934 – August 17, 2007) was born into a poor laborer family in Gahlour village near Gaya in Bihar, India. He is also known as ‘Mountain Man’. Dashrath Manjhi’s wife, Falguni Devi, died due to lack of medical treatment because the nearest town with a doctor was 70 kilometers (43 mi) away from their village in Bihar, India.
Dashrath Manjhi did not want anyone else to suffer the same fate as his wife, so he carved a 360-foot-long (110 m) through-cut, 25-foot-deep (7.6 m) in places and 30-foot-wide (9.1 m) to form a road through a mountain in the Gehlour hills, working day and night for 22 years from 1960 to 1982. His feat reduced the distance between the Atri and Wazirganj blocks of the Gaya district from 75 km to 1 km.
He died on August 17, 2007.He was given a state funeral by the Government of Bihar.
Dashrath Manjh had single-handedly carved out a 360-foot and 30-foot wide passage by cutting through a hill near Gahlaur.
The hill stood between the Attari and Wazirgunj blocks in Gaya. Thanks to Dashrath Manjh, the blocks have been brought closer than ever before.
“It is a sad story. A state that spends millions of rupees for decoration of ministers’ houses failed to fulfil his dream of building a metalled road through the mountain,” said Arun Singh, a journalist who first discovered Manjhi in the 1990s.
“Dashrath Manjh died a frustrated man. His work was neither recognised nor awarded. But people will remember him and his story will inspire many,” Arun Singh, who knew Manjhi for over a decade, told.
Manjhi started off his extraordinary task in 1967 when his wife was injured and he had to go around the mountains to reach the nearest hospital.
He finished his epic project in 1988 and met the brass of the state administration with a request to construct a metaled road through the mountain.
Two months ago, the Nitish Kumar government cleared the decks for building a three-kilometre-long metalled road from Gahlaur to Amethi. But the project has remained only on paper.
Early this year, the foundation stone laying programme by Manjhi, as announced by Nitish Kumar, for construction of the road was postponed at the last minute.
Sources in the Gaya district administration said the forest department had cleared the proposal a few weeks ago. But the work is yet to start.
The Bihar government proposed Manjhi’s name for Padma Shree award in the social service sector.

 

Dashrath Manjhi passed away in 2007, but his friends continue his work to this day. They’re elderly, and some of them are ill, but they haven’t given up trying to make his vision of a better life for his community come true.

Their efforts might not be quite as ready-made for Hollywood. But they’re just as important.
And as Dashrath Manjhi wanted to uplift his community by building a road, his successors are trying to push even further forward by making sure the next generation has the tools they need to get better jobs, earn a good, independent living, and succeed in life. Particularly the ones who need it most.

It’s not a simple task, much like hammering a hole through a giant mountain. But every day, they make a little more progress.

In this way, Dashrath Manjhi is not gone.

 


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