Dashrath Manjhi, the mountain man of India may not seem like the handsome prince or the valiant woodcutter from a fairy tale but he is a real life hero, one without a cape who restores our faith in the saying, ‘where there is a will there is a way’.
Some of the fondest memories one has is of the enchanting fairy tales that we hear as kids. Tales where all things fall in place in the end and evil is punished and valour and perseverance wins.
However as we grow up we realize that they were just stories and have nothing to do with reality unless somebody like Dashrath Manjhi comes along.
Yes, Dashrath Manjhi may not seem like the handsome prince or the valiant woodcutter from a fairy tale but he is a real life hero, one without a cape who restores our faith in the saying, “where there is a will there is a way” – well even if the way goes through a mountain. So read on to know about this unlikely hero from Bihar, India.
Dashrath Manjhi was a poor labourer who lived in a small village Gehlaur, near Gaya in Bihar. He lived a nondescript life of a poor villager till calamity struck him.
Manjhi’s wife met with an accident. As she could not receive adequate and timely medical care, she died. Villagers had to risk walking through a narrow and dangerous path that ran through a mountain if they wished to access anything beyond their village. This meant that accessing daily needs and medical care were literally an uphill and hazardous task for the villagers residing in Gehlaur.
Manjhi was obviously heartbroken after his wife’s death and blamed the lack of an accessible road for his wife’s death. Maybe if she could have reached the hospital on time she could have been saved!
Unlike most people who curse their fate and the government and accept the status quo, Dashrath Manjhi decided to do something so that nobody else faced a similar situation. He decided to build a road that connected his village to the outside world and make the life of villagers easier and safer.
Manjhi was a poor labourer who did not have the requisite financial or manpower support to fulfil his mission. All he had was a hammer, a chisel and his determination. Everybody around him, including his father thought that he was undertaking an impossible task. A lone man working with a hammer and chisel to cut through a mountain to build a road does not seem like a sane idea but other people’s disbelief did not dissuade Manjhi.
Dashrath Manjhi embarked on his mission to carve a road through the mountain and continued to do so with dedication for 22 years. In the ensuing years many problems arose, the village was struck by a drought; he was cheated of funds by corrupt officials but nothing deterred him. At some point some villagers did pitch in with their efforts but that cooperation did not last due to various factors.
Finally in the year 1982, 22 years after he started Dashrath Manjhi was successful in carving out a 360 feet long, 30 feet high and 300 feet wide passage through the mountain. This passage shortened the travel distance from 55 km to 15 km.
Manjhi died in the year 2007 but the road still remains, a silent yet powerful reminder of what perseverance and hard work can do.