||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 his village could have easier access to medical attention after his wife died from the 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. Dashrath Manjhi was born in to a poor labourer family of Gahlour village near Gaya, Bihar. In 1967, Dashrath Majhi's wife, Falguni Devi was injured and needed immediate medical attention. But unfortunately, the nearest town with a doctor was located 70 km away, as he had to travel around the Gehlour mountain hills; and as a result, his wife died due to lack of timely medical treatment. Dashrath was taken aback with the loss of his wife in this way. He realized that his village was situated in the lap of rocky hills and because of this the villagers would often face lot of trouble crossing the small distance between Atri and Wazirganj blocks of Gaya town. Dashrath Manjhi did not want anyone else to suffer the fate of his wife, so the old man started something no one could think of.
Dashrath Majhi 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 70 km to 15 km, bringing him national acclaim. Although, one would expect people to jump in and help someone working for the entire community, but it wasn't the case for Dasrath Manjhi. At first, people ridiculed him and called him mad for taking such a herculean task, but as time went by, the unfazed farmer continued to split the troublesome hill in half, he started getting some help. "Thought 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 single-handedly made their lives so much easier. .
For his glorious feat, this Bihari old man became popularly known as the 'Mountain Man', but unfortunately, he died on 17 August 2007 at the age of 80, while suffering from gall bladder cancer in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. The mountain man was given a state funeral by the Government of Bihar. Later, Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar proposed to build a three-kilometre-long metalled road from Gahlaur to Amethi, naming the project as Dasrath Manjhi Road. A hospital in his name is also proposed, for serving the villagers. Noted filmmaker Ketan Mehta portrayed this mountain man Dashrath Manjhi as the poor man's Shah Jahan (Taj Mahal). The Bihar government also proposed Dashrath Manjhi's name for the Padma Shree award in 2006 in social service sector.
In popular culture
In July 2010, director Manish Jha announced a film, Manjhi, based on the life of Dashrath Manjhi. Dashrath Manjhi while on his death bed, in ICU, 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.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.
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