Gehlaur, Bihar, British India
|Died||17 August 2007
New Delhi, India
|Cause of death||gall bladder cancer|
|Other names||The Mountain Man|
|Known for||carving a path through a mountain|
Dashrath Manjhi (c. 1934 – 17 August 2007), also known as "Mountain Man", was a poor labourer in Gehlaur village, near Gaya in Bihar, India, who carved a path through a 360 ft long, 30 ft wide and 25 ft high hillock using only a hammer and chisel. After 22 years of work, Dashrath shortened travel between the Atri and Wazirganj blocks of Gaya town from 55km to 15km.
Early life and work
Dashrath Manjhi ran away from his home at a young age and worked at Dhanbad's coal mines. He returned to his village and married Phalguni Devi. While crossing Gehlour hills to bring him lunch, she slipped and seriously injured herself that eventually led to her death. Manjhi was deeply disturbed and that very night decided to carve a path through the Gehlour hills so that his village could have easier access to medical attention.  He carved a path 360-foot-long (110 m), 25-foot-deep (7.6 m) in places and 30-foot-wide (9.1 m) to form a road through the rocks in Gehlour hill. He quoted that,
When I started hammering the hill, people called me a lunatic but that steeled my resolve.
He completed the work in 22 years (1960–1982). This road reduced the distance between the Atri and Wazirganj sectors of the Gaya district from 80 km to 10 km. Though mocked for his efforts, he has made life easier for people of Gehlour village. Although he had cut a protected mountain, which is an offence under Indian wildlife protection act, his exemplary determination remains an inspiration. Later, Manjhi said,
Manjhi died on 17 Aug 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.
For his feat, Manjhi became popularly known as the 'Mountain Man'. The Bihar government also proposed his name for the Padma Shree award in 2006 in social service sector. Nitish Kumar, the then Chief Minister of Bihar proposed to build a 3 km metalled road from Gahlaur named after Dashrath Manjhi and a hospital on his name in Gehlour village.
In popular culture
Films Division produced a documentary directed by Kumud Ranjan named The man who moved the mountain based on Manjhi's life in 2012. In July 2012, director Ketan Mehta announced a film Manjhi, based on the life of Dashrath Manjhi. While on his deathbed, Manjhi gave "exclusive rights" to make a film on his life. Nawazuddin Siddiqui played the role of Manjhi along with Radhika Apte as Phalguni Devi. The film released on 21 August 2015. Manjhi's deeds are referred to in the 2011 Kannada movie Olave Mandara directed by Jayatheertha. A supporting character in the 1998 Kannada movie Bhoomi Thayiya Chochchala Maga was based on Manjhi.
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. However, Basanti Devi died due to inability to afford medical care on April 1, 2014.
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- Location of cut-through:
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- — location of the passage carved by Dashrath Manjhi through the Gehlour Hills rock formation
- Google Maps link