||This article reads more like a story than an encyclopedia entry. (April 2014)|
|Born||Gehlaur, Bihar, India|
|Died||17 August 2007
Cause of death
|Cancer of gall bladder|
|Other names||Mountain Man|
Dashrath Manjhi (c. 1934 – 17 August 2007) was born into a poor labourer family in Gehlaur village, near Gaya in Bihar, India. He is known as "Mountain Man" for carving a path through a mountain in the Gehlour hills so that his village could have easier access to medical attention after his wife died from a lack thereof.
Being illiterate, there seemed little option left for him but to spend his life working in the fields. He started working in the fields near a hill which rose on one side of his village. To cross the mountain, one had to traverse a narrow and treacherous pass. In 1967, Dashrath Majhi's wife, Falguni Devi was injured and needed immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, the nearest town with a doctor was located 70 km away, as he had to travel around the Gehlour mountain hills; as a result, his wife died from the lack of timely medical treatment. Dashrath was taken aback with the loss of his wife. He realized that his village was situated in the lap of rocky hills and so the villagers would often face lot of trouble crossing the small distance between Atri and Wazirganj blocks of Gaya town. Given this to consider, Dashrath then committed himself to manually producing a shorter route. This was done in hopes of potentially limiting or preventing the outcome he and his wife suffered.
Dashrath Manjhi carved a path 360-foot-long (110 m) through-cut, 25-foot-deep (7.6 m) in places and 30-foot-wide (9.1 m) to form a road through a mountain in the Gehlour hills, working day and night for 22 years from 1960 to 1982. His feat reduced the distance between the Atri and Wazirganj blocks of the Gaya district from 80 km to 13 km, bringing him national acclaim. Though initially mocked for his efforts, this only served to strengthen his resolve; ” When I started hammering the hill, people called me a lunatic but that steeled my resolve“. but as time went by, the unfazed farmer continued to split the troublesome hill in half, he started getting some help. "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," he remembered. Now all the people of Gaya district have nothing but gratitude of the "Mountain Man" who made their lives so much easier.
For his glorious feat, this Bihari old man became popularly known as the 'Mountain Man'. He died on 17 August 2007 at the age of 73, while suffering from gall bladder cancer in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. He was given a state funeral by the Government of Bihar. Later, Nitish Kumar, the then Chief Minister of Bihar proposed to build a 3 km metalled road from Gahlaur to Amethi, naming the project as Dashrath Manjhi Road. A hospital in his name is also proposed for serving the villagers. Noted filmmaker Ketan Mehta portrayed him as the poor man's Shah Jahan (Taj Mahal). The Bihar government also proposed his name for the Padma Shree award in 2006 in social service sector.
In popular culture
On July 2012, director Manish Jha announced a film, Manjhi, based on the life of Dashrath Manjhi. While on his deathbed, in ICU, he had put his thumb impression on an agreement, giving away "exclusive rights" to make a film on his life. The film is produced by Sanjay Singh, who previously produced Udaan (2010). Nawazuddin Siddiqui has been cast in the lead role in the film 'Mountain Man', which is based on Manjhi's life. In Olave Mandara, a Kannada film by Jayatheertha, Manjhi's deeds are referred to in the story, which inspires the young hero's love. The First Episode of Season 2 of Aamir Khan hosted TV Show Satyamev Jayate, aired in March 2014, was dedicated to Dashrath Manjhi. Aamir Khan, who visited Gehlaur in Gaya district on Tuesday to pay homage to Dashrath Manjhi (also known as the Mountain Man) said he was truly inspired and moved by Manjhi's achievement. "I am trying to be like him (Dashrath Manjhi). He has shown that nothing is impossible. His story is one of conviction and courage. I draw immense inspiration from him."
He also met Bhagirath Manjhi and Basanti Devi, son and daughter-in-law of a man who single-handedly carved a mountain were in deep poverty. Aamir Khan and Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, former MP came forward to provide financial help to Bhagirath and Basanti. Pappu Yadav provided Rs.100,000(1 lakh) in cash to them and also promised to provide Rs.10,000 every month. He said monthly financial help would be provided to Bhagirath and Basanti by Maa Maati, the voluntary organisation of his wife Ranjita Ranjan, also a former MP. However, despite all these promises of help Basanti Devi died due to lack of medical care in April 1 2014 
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