This is the story of Dashrath Manjhi — a poor laborer in India, who eventually went on be be called the ‘Mountain Man’. Hailing from a nondescript village of Gehlaur in the state of Bihar, Manjhi was just another landless farmer until 1960. But then came a set of events that have changed forever, the story of Manjhi, into one of such inspirational stories where a lone soldier endures a fight against impossible odds.
Gehlaur village — Manjhi’s hometown is bordered with a mountain range spanning for several kilometers and these mountains separated the living colonies and agricultural fields of that village. Manjhi, an agricultural laborer was working on the other side of mountain, far from his house. People of Gehlaur had to travel through a treacherous and dangerously narrow pass across the mountain range as a shortcut to access the other side. Otherwise, they will have to travel for more than 60 kilometers on road to reach the other side. On a sunny afternoon, Manjhi’s pregnant wife — Falguni Devi was passing through this shortcut to carry lunch and water for her husband, working in the fields. Unfortunately, she tripped over a rock, and had injured herself severely. Before Manjhi could carry her to the nearest hospital, on the other side of the mountain, Falguni succumbed to death. On that very night, Manjhi decided to see the end of the mountain, which caused the death of her wife, and wanted to make the living for people of his village easier.
“This hill had given us trouble and grief for centuries. The people had asked the government many times to make a proper road through the hill, but nobody paid any attention. So I just decided I would do it all by myself,” Manjhi later told an Indian newspaper.
On the next day, with a strong resolve, he started to break the mountain, stone after stone. He was alone, and yet, was never quivered by the behemoth self-imposed task. He started working with simple tools of a hammer and a chisel, and the hammering never stopped until he broke the huge mountain. And let me tell you this, he did all of this, ALONE. We he started chiseling, he was ridiculed by the fellow residents.
He was later quoted saying: “When I started hammering the hill, people called me a lunatic but that steeled my resolve.”
However, the people of Gehlaur, for whom Manjhi was working, recognized his efforts after a few years.
Manjhi later said “Though most villagers taunted me at first, there were quite a few who lent me support later by giving me food and helping me buy my tools”
Regardless of searing heat or sweeping rains, Manjhi worked everyday, for 23 years (1960–1983) until he broke the behemoth. He carved a path 360-feet-long (110 m), 25-feet-deep (7.6 m) in places and 30-feet-wide (9.1 m) to form a road through the rocky mountain range. This road can now be accessed by bicycles and two-wheelers.
This self-imposed task had given him recognition as a Mountain Man, and his work for 22 years, had granted his name with eternal mortality. This story later turned into a bollywood movie called ‘Manjhi — The Mountain Man’ which was critically acclaimed by moviegoers. This story of Dashrath Manjhi. There were several other mentions of this inspiring story in the mainstream media, encouraging people to passionately take up the impossible tasks. The next time you use the metaphor of ‘moving the mountains’, I wish you’ll remember the enduring tale of a lone farmer braking through mountains, and I wish it will inspire you to achieve your goals.
Here’s a short video (in Hindi) detailing the story of Manjhi:
More about Manjhi can be read here: http://www.odditycentral.com/news/dashrath-manjhi-the-man-who-moved-a-mountain.html