Imagine living in a remote village, nestled between towering mountains, with no access to basic amenities like healthcare, education, and transportation. This was the reality for Dashrath Manjhi, a poor laborer from the Gehlaur village in the Bihar region of India. But it was his love for his wife, Falguni Devi, that would transform his life and inspire him to undertake an almost impossible task – to break through a massive mountain that had long isolated his community from the rest of the world.
Dashrath was born in 1934 to a family of farmers. From a young age, he worked tirelessly to help his family make ends meet. His childhood was marked by poverty, hunger, and a constant struggle for survival. But Dashrath was determined to rise above his circumstances and make something of his life.
He belonged to a poor family and had to start working at a young age to support them. In his early twenties, he moved to the Dhanbad district in Jharkhand to work in the coal mines.
As a young man, Dashrath fell in love with Falguni Devi, a beautiful girl from his village. They got married and started a happy family.
In 1959, Manjhi’s wife Falguni Devi was badly injured and died because she fell from the mountain and the nearest hospital was located in Wazirganj, on the other side of a towering mountain range. Dashrath tried to carry his wife across the mountain, but it was a treacherous journey, and he was unable to get her to the hospital in time. She passed away, leaving him heartbroken and devastated.
1960: A tale of revenge begins
The heart-broken Manjhi, who loved his wife more than anything else in the world, began cursing the huge mountain and vowed to bring it down to break its ego.
In the memory of his beloved wife and Determined to prevent others from suffering the same fate, Dashrath set out on a seemingly impossible mission – to break through the mountain that had robbed him of his beloved wife. Armed with only a hammer, chisel, and crowbar, he started chipping away at the mountain, one rock at a time. It was a backbreaking task, and many people in his village thought he was crazy for even trying.
But Dashrath was undeterred. He worked tirelessly, day and night, through scorching heat and bitter cold. He had no formal education or training, but he learned as he went along, using trial and error to figure out the best way to break the rocks. He would often go without food for days on end, so focused was he on his goal.
As the days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, Dashrath’s determination began to pay off. He started making progress, and the people in his village began to take notice. They started helping him, providing him with food and water, and encouraging him to keep going.
Years went by, and Dashrath’s work on the mountain became the stuff of legend. He completed the work in 22 years (1960–1982).He had single-handedly cut a 360-foot-long, 30-foot-wide, and 25-foot-high road through the mountain, reducing the distance between his village (Atri) and the nearest town (Wazirganj), of Gaya District from 55 kilometers to just 15 kilometers. What had once been a treacherous journey through the mountains was now a smooth ride on a well-constructed road.
Dashrath’s achievement earned him the nickname “Mountain Man” and brought him international recognition. He was invited to meet with the President of India and was hailed as a hero by people all over the world. But for Dashrath, the most important thing was that his community could now access medical care, education, and other basic necessities without having to risk their lives crossing the mountain.
Dashrath Manjhi passed away in 2007 at the age of 73, but his legacy lives on. His dedication, hard work, and unwavering spirit in the face of overwhelming obstacles continue to inspire people all over the world. His story is a testament to the power of love, determination, and human will. He proved that anything is possible if we believe in ourselves and are willing to work hard for our dreams, inspiring generations to come with his unwavering dedication and unrelenting perseverance.
Dashrath’s achievement was recognized by the Indian government, and he received several awards for his contribution to the development of the region. In 2006, he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian honors in India.
A stamp featuring Dashrath Manjhi was released by India Post in the “Personalities of Bihar” series on 26 December 2016.
Documentaries & Movies
There have been several documentaries and movies made about Dashrath Manjhi, celebrating his incredible life and achievements. Here are a few examples:
- “Manjhi: The Mountain Man” (2015): This Bollywood movie, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, tells the story of Dashrath Manjhi’s life and his determination to carve a path through a mountain to connect his village with the outside world. The movie was well-received and brought Dashrath’s story to a wider audience.
- “The Mountain Man: The Legend of Dashrath Manjhi” (2012): This documentary, directed by Vibhu Puri, explores Dashrath’s life and his remarkable feat of carving a road through a mountain. The documentary features interviews with people who knew Dashrath and showcases the challenges he faced in his quest to break through the mountain.
- “Dashrath Manjhi: The Mountain Man” (2013): This short documentary, directed by Rohit Jain, tells the story of Dashrath Manjhi and his incredible journey. The documentary includes interviews with people from Dashrath’s village and features stunning visuals of the mountain that he carved through.
- “The Mountain Man: Cutting Through Fear” (2015): This documentary, directed by Ridhima Mehra, tells the story of Dashrath Manjhi and his determination to break through a mountain to connect his village with the outside world. The documentary features interviews with Dashrath’s family members and fellow villagers and explores the impact of his achievement on the community.
These documentaries and movies serve as a testament to the incredible life and achievements of Dashrath Manjhi, inspiring people all over the world to pursue their dreams and never give up, no matter how difficult the challenge.