Railways to reach Mountain Man’s home in Bihar

FOUR DECADES ago, Bihar’s “Mountain Man” Dashrath Manjhi is said to have walked along the railway line from Gaya to New Delhi because he could not afford a ticket to Delhi, where he would meet then prime minister Indira Gandhi and tell her of his dream to carve a road out of a hillock.

Thanks to that road, which Manjhi is credited with having carved out with a chisel and a crowbar in an effort that took 22 years, his village of Gehlore is today closer to its neighbouring towns and villages in Gaya. But the nearest railway station is still 8 km away, in Jethian.

The railways minister would now like to take the railways to Gehlore. Suresh Prabhu announced Tuesday he would explore if a line could be laid there and, sources said, he is also contemplating named after Manjhi.

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“I will get back to you in a day or two after discussing in the ministry whether a railway line can be brought there or what else,” Prabhu said at “Magadh Mahotsav” in Delhi, organised by Akshar Sansar Foundation. Sharing the stage with Gaya MP Hari Manjhi and Jehanabad MP Arun Kumar, Prabhu described himself as a “Bihari”and said he shares the sentiments of people in that state.

“What can be done so that the memory such a great person remains permanently in the minds of people, I will discuss it today and tomorrow,” Prabhu said. “What can be done through railway or central government, I will get a survey done. I will ask ministry officials formally…”

In 2005, two years before his death, Manjhi had told this correspondent at an interaction in Gehlore about his dream to see the area better connected. The key reason why he started his 22-year exercise was to help villagers get easier access to the nearby town and hospital after his wife had fallen from the hillock and injured herself.

The road is an effort that has made him the subject of various documentaries, including abroad, as well as Ketan Mehta’s feature film Manjhi — The Mountain

Comics of Dashrath Manjhi

Source: Anand Mishra, IndianExpress

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