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Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Man who moved a Mountain


"Courage easily finds its own eloquence." — Plautus, Roman comic dramatist (c. 254-184 B.C.

It’s difficult to give words to some experiences in life. There are times in our lives when words simply are not enough to express the vortex of emotions which is felt when one comes across something like this.

The courage and will of legendary Dasthrath Manjhi is one of those rare real life incidents which will continue to inspire mankind for ages to come. Our man from Gaya had the fortitude and conviction to move mountains and he made it happen by his sheer perseverance and faith is his efforts to move the mountain. He is an inspiration for all us and just when you feel chips are down and the road ahead seems insurmountable, put yourself in his shoes and imagine the courage it would take to move a mountain.

I have not seen Hanuman and Ram nor do I believe in living gods (read-modern guru’s) but Dashrath Manjhi comes close to be a god and he epitomizes god like virtues.

Today’s TOI also covered his great saga.Over four decades ago, a frail, landless farmer got hold of a chisel and a hammer and decided to change the face of his village nestled in the rocky hills of Gaya. Dashrath Manjhi tore open a 300-feet-high hill to create a one-km passage. Manjhi knew it would he easier to move a mountain than an apathetic government. He knew writing to the powers-that-be would only leave the hill tied in red tape. Instead, Manjhi, then in his early 20s, took up a chisel and hammered at the rocks for 22 years.
This feat, part of local folklore now, stemmed from Manjhi’s love for his wife. For, when she slipped off the rocks while getting food for him as he worked in a field beyond the hill and broke her ankle, it became a burning passion to tame the formidable hills that virtually cut his village off from civilisation. And he completed the Herculean task — creating a short-cut which reduced a long and arduous journey from his village Gahlor Ghati to Wazirganj to a walkable distance. Manjhi hasn’t forgotten the public ridicule when he began hammering at the hill. “They called me a pagal but that steeled my resolve,” he says.
Even his wife and parents were against this “adventure,” especially when he sold his goats to buy a chisel, a hammer and rope. But, by then, Manjhi was a man possessed. He shifted his hut close to the hill so he could work all day and night, chipping away, little by little. “I did not even bother to eat,” he says. With most of the cultivable land and shops across the hill, villagers had to cross it many times a day, braving dangers. It was after 10 years that people began to notice a change in the shape of the hill. Instead of a defiant rockface, the hill seemed to have a depression in the middle. Climbing it became a little easier. “All those who had called me mad began to quietly watch me work. Some even chipped in,” he recollects.
In 1982, twenty-two years after he had started out, Manjhi walked through a clear flat passage — about 16-feet wide — to the other side of the hill. But his victory was tinged with sadness. His wife, who inspired him to take on this task, was not by his side. “She died of illness. We could not take her to a hospital on time,” says Manjhi. But, the villagers were there. They got him sweets, fruits and all that they could afford. Says Ram Avatar Yadav of Bhitra village: “We grew up hearing stories of the man who wants to move a mountain. Today, it’s a reality and a boon for me.”

2 comments:

sanjay said...

ek ishk sahjha ke parelle the dasrathmanghi [superman]

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