Dashrath Manjhi – The Mountain Man

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Dashrath Manjhi (1934 – 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 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.

People laughed and made fun of him but he just continued with his work for 22 years. This was Dashrath Manjhi, famously known as the Mountain Man who single-handedly carved a path through a mountain. He gave 22 years of his life to his village and made a difference in the lives of the people of this small village in the state of Bihar.

Using only a hammer and chisel, Dashrath Manjhi, a landless farmer, carved a path through a mountain in the Gehlour Hills, Bihar just so that his village could have easier access to medical facilities. Directed by Ketan Mehta, Manjhi – The Mountain Man, is an upcoming documentary on the life of this man.

Let’s inspire ourselves to do the impossible and read some facts about the Mountain Man:

  • The villagers had to travel 70 kilometres to reach to the nearest town to get medical attention
  • In the year 1959, Dashrath Manjhi’s wife Falguni Devi died from lack of medical care
  • In the memory of his wife, he carved the path in the Gehlour hills so that his village could have easier access to medical attention
  • He worked day and night for 22 years and broke down the hill
  • The path is 360 foot long and 25 foot deep.
  • He shortened the distance from 70 kilometres to just one kilometre
  • He worked from 1960 to 1982
  • For his achievement, Manjhi became popularly known as the ‘Mountain Man’
  • He died on August 17, 2007 at the age of 73, while suffering from gall bladder cancer
  • To honour his achievements, a hospital in his name is also proposed for serving the villagers
  • He was called the poor man’s Shah Jahan by filmmaker Ketan Mehta who has also made a documentary on his life
  • His name was also proposed by the Bihar government for the Padma Shri award in 2006
  • When a movie on his life was announced, Manjhi was on his deathbed. He put his thumb impression on an agreement and gave away “exclusive rights” to make a film on his life
  • The mountain man was given a state funeral by the Government of Bihar.

 

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