The Mountain Men

Dashrath Manjhi, also known as Mountain Man,was a laborer in Gehlaur village, near Gaya in Bihar, India. He decided to carve a path of 110 m long (360 ft), 9.1 m (30 ft) wide and 7.7 m (25 ft) deep through a ridge of hills using only a hammer and chisel after his wife’s death due to an injury caused by falling from a mountain. He carved the path continuously for 22 years.After 22 years of work, Dashrath shortened travel between the Atri and Wazirganj blocks of Gaya  town from 55 km to 15 km.

Manjhi’s wife Falguni Devi was badly injured and died because she fell from the mountain and the nearest town with a doctor was 55 km away. As a result of this experience Manjhi resolved to cut a roadway across the ridge to make his village more accessible. Manjhi felt the need to do something for society and decided to carve a path through the ridge so that his village could have easier access to medical care.

Manjhi’s work has made life easier for people of the Gehlaur village. Manjhi 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.” For his efforts, Manjhi became popularly known as the ‘Mountain Man’. The Bihar government also proposed his name for the Padma Shree award in 2006 in the social service sector. A stamp featuring Dashrath Manjhi was released by India Post in the “Personalities of Bihar” series on 26 December 2016. Official roads between his village and Wazirganj and Atri and Gaya were only built where his path was after his death in 2007.

Dashrath Manjhi was died on 17 August 2007 due to gallbladder cancer. He was given a state funeral by the Government of Bihar.

In 2011, director Kumud Ranjan working for the state-owned Films Division of India produced a documentary based on Manjhi’s life titled The Man Who Moved the Mountain. In August 2015, a Hindi movie Manjhi – The Mountain Man was released and well received. The movie was directed by Ketan Mehta. Nawazuddin Siddiqui played the role of Manjhi along with Radhika Apte as Falguni Devi. The first episode of Season 2 of the Aamir Khan hosted TV Show Satyamev Jayate, aired in March 2014, was dedicated to Dashrath Manjjhi. Aamir Khan and Rajesh Ranjan also met Bhagirath Manjhi and Basanti Devi, son and daughter-in-law of Manjhi and promised to provide financial help. Manjhi’s story also had a minor role in a later Kannada film, 2011’s Olave Mandara directed by Jayatheertha.

Now, we have another mountain man and that too from same district of Bihar. Let us know about Laungi Bhuiyan.

Laungi Bhuiyan is a farmer from Kothilawa in Lahthua area of Gaya, Bihar, India. He carved a 3Km long canal by digging hills surrounding their village. These hills stop the water reaching their fields. So, he carved those hills and made a 3Km long canal that would bring the fields of their canals some water. He used to feed cattle in a jungle, and subsequently carved out a canal that reportedly took him thirty years to complete the work.

These two men also gave us the meaning of dedication and love toward to solve one’s problems. Salute to these men.

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