The Man Who Built a Road through a Mountain

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. 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...

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