THE ONE MAN ARMY
THE MAN WHO MOVED A MOUNTAIN
Late.Dashrath Manjhi: the man who moved a mountain, so his people could have access to amenities like hospital, schools and jobs in nearest town.
“All I want is a road, a school, and a hospital for our people. They work so hard. It will help the women and children in our village. ” – Dashrath Manjhi,
This is the story of a very poor man. He is not with us anymore.
He was among India’s poorest of poor.
He decided, if those in power would not help his people, he would.
This is a man who believed in the Do-It-Yourself spirit!
Without pausing for a thought, he went ahead and did just that with his bare hands.
LATE. DASHRATH MANJHI CARVED A ROAD SO HIS PEOPLE WOULD NO LONGER DIE TREKKING 70 KILOMETERS TO BASIC AMENITIES, HE CUT THROUGH THE MOUNTAIN WITH JUST A HAMMER, A CHISEL, AND CROWBARS AND BUILT A ROAD OF 30 FEET WIDE 360 FEET LONG.
It was 1960. Landless laborers, the Musahars lived amid rocky terrain in the remote Atri block of Gaya, Bihar, in northern India. In the hamlet of Gehlour, they were regarded the lowest of the low in a caste-ridden society, and denied the basics: water supply, electricity, a school, a medical center. A 300- foot tall mountain loomed between them and civilization.
Like all the Musahar men, Dashrath Manjhi, worked on the other side of the mountain. As they had no road, the trek took hours over the mountain. Dashrath tilled fields for a landlord on the other side. He would quarry stone. Dashrath sold his goats, and bought a hammer, chisel, and crowbar. He climbed to the top, and started chipping away at the mountain.
After 22 years, Dashrath Das Manjhi, the outcast landless laborer had conquered the mountain: he had carved out a road 360 feet long, 30 feet wide. Wazirganj, with its doctors, jobs, and school, was now only 5 kilometers away. People from 60 villages in Atri could use his road. Children had to walk only 3 kilometers to reach school. Grateful, they began to call him ‘Baba’, the revered man.
His community was regarded the lowest of the low in a caste-ridden society, and denied basics – water supply, electricity, a school, a medical center. A 300- foot tall mountain loomed between them and civilization.
But Dashrath did not stop there. He began knocking on doors, asking for the road to be tarred, connected to the main road.
He walked along the railway line all the way to New Delhi, the capital. He submitted a petition there, for his road, for a hospital for his people, a school, water.
The government rewarded his efforts with an award, But Manjhi returned, “I do not care for these awards, this fame, the money,” he said.
On August 17, 2007, Dashrath Manjhi, lost his battle with cancer.
All that he had done was for no personal gain.
“I started this work out of love for my wife, but continued it for my people. If I did not, no one would.” Manjhi’s words reflect the reality of our country.
Despite all these efforts by Manjhi, people in his village still continue to live in utter poverty with no access to a school – a hope that Manjhi was always stirving hard.
Manjhi’s legacy, his inspiration, should not die with him. It should live on among the millions of us who are facing challenges, fighting battles and witnessing problems.
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