The Man Who Built a Road through a Mountain


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The late Dashrath Manjhi (1934-2007) is now fondly called Dashrath baba by the villagers of a small hamlet called Gehlor in the Gaya district of Bihar. But this was not the case earlier. There was a time when he was ridiculed, taunted, and discouraged, even by the members of his own family. Why? Because he decided to carve a road through the mountain that separated his village from the nearest town.

But the reason he decided such an impossible feat is a story in itself. They say love can move mountains, they were not wrong. Being a daily labourer all his life, he would have to cross the mountain to the other side to work in a land owner’s field. His wife, again crossing the mountain, would bring him his midday food and water.

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One day, she was late, and his hunger, and anger, grew intense. Seeing her limping a while later, he scolded her for her delay, but asked her what was wrong. She had tripped, broken her clay water pot and spilled his lunch, she whimpered.

That day Dashrath looked at the mountain and quietly resolved to “break” the mountain, just as the mountain “broke” his water pot and bruised his wife’s foot.

Every day for the next 22 years, he used his hammer and chisel to break off smaller stones from bigger rock. Today, a journey to the nearest town 70 kilometres away, is now a mere 7 kilometres away.

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, collecting signatures of station masters in a book. He submitted a petition there, for his road, for a hospital for his people, a school, and water. In July 2006, ‘Baba’ went to the then Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s ‘Junta Durbar’. The minister, overwhelmed, got up and offered Baba his chair, his minister’s seat; a rare honour for a man of Manjhi’s background.

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The government rewarded his efforts with a plot of land; Manjhi donated the land back for a hospital. They also nominated him for the ‘Padma Shree’, but forest ministry officials fought the nomination, calling his work illegal. “I do not care for these awards, this fame, the money,” he said. “All I want is a road, a school, and a hospital for our people. They toil so hard. It will help their women and children.” It would take them 30 years to tar his road.

See his amazing story, in the television series Satyamev Jayte, hosted by Aamir Khan:

On August 17, 2007, Dashrath Manjhi, the man who moved a mountain 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. Now that he is gone, his people are still poor. There are electricity poles, but no electricity; a tube well, but no water; no real hospital, no real livelihoods, little education. Manjhi’s son lost his own wife recently to an illness. After all these years, their fate was sealed by another mountain: poverty, the inability to pay for a doctor, for all the necessary treatment on time.

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12 comments on "The Man Who Built a Road through a Mountain"

  1. Dr. r.s.r. anjaneyulu says:

    This is the man who deserves the noble prize, mr world, gyanpeeth award, all international award i.e. mother tereasa, to be give this man who made alone road for villagers.

  2. Dr. r.s.r. anjaneyulu says:

    This is the man who deserves the noble prize, mr world, gyanpeeth award, all international award i.e. mother tereasa, to be give this man who made alone road for villagers.

    Where there is will, there is a way.”

    Man ethicks makes many things, i.e. dedication, determination, contunity process.
    (Dr. r.s.r. anajneyulu)

  3. great man says:

    Great man with full 36 inch glorious chest.. kudos to Dashrath baba and his life and work..

  4. GK says:

    Amazing live. Determination speaks high. This man has the highest thinking any human can ever posses. Hats off to him for his achievement.

  5. Nagaraj Paturi says:

    I completely agree with Dr. r.s.r. anjaneyuluji.

    A real Baba !

    An example for who gets called a ‘Baba’ in India. A clue to understand India.

  6. Vijay Malick says:

    Kudos to Dasrath Baba ji,
    A glaring example of selfless service to humanity and society ( which rarely bothers to recognize the efforts of the real philanthropist).
    Hope a few more souls wake up for salvation of the nation like Dasrath baba ji
    Salute !!!!

  7. Ragini says:

    What an inspiring story ! He reminds me of Siewdass Sadhu of Trinidad who built a temple in the sea.

  8. Chetan P jain says:

    Wonderful !! Most inspiring. Now atleast the state govt. should provide these facilities in the village . What the MLA of this area is doing. PM Modi should give Dasharath Baba Padma Shri rejecting all official objections.

  9. Suresh says:

    Great man..

  10. venugopal says:

    Hats off to Dasrath baba ji, amazed to know that he had spend his 22 years of precious life in formation of Road.

  11. nihar says:

    Speech less. Salute you Baba.

  12. S. Chatterjee says:

    Amazing story.. Very inspiring

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