The story of Dashrath Manjhi: The man that moved a mountain
Dashrath Manjhi also known as The Mountain Man was an Indian laborer who lived in a small Indian village of Gehlaur in Bihar, India.
Born in 1934, Dashrath spent most of his early life working as a laborer to take care of and provide for his family.
In 1959, he was struck by a tragedy that would change his life forever. His pregnant wife, Falguni, was on her way to find gather water and food for her family when she fell off the cliff of a mountain.
The village had no direct path to the river. The villagers had to go through a stressful climb on a mountain to get water. This was a dangerous task.
Dashrath and his neighbors rushed the wounded pregnant wife to the hospital. It was too late to get there because they had to climb mountains and pass-through rough terrain. Unfortunately, Dashrath’s wife, Falguni lost her life; however, the unborn daughter was saved alive.
Dashrath was so bitter about what happened to his wife and the tragedy his family had gone through. He had no one to hold responsible, hence, decided to defeat the mountain. What came to his mind was for him to remove the mountain and create a road for his people to pass but that did not sound possible. He knew he needed to take action to avoid future tragedy for his people and to reduce the suffering his people went through.
One day, Dashrath went to the market to buy hammers and chisels. He concluded to spend the whole of his life working to create a way through the mountain for his people to pass through and be free from the bondage they found themselves.
According to him “I heard a voice from the sky telling me to break down the mountain”. Initially, people in his village ridicule him because they thought he was doing the impossible. Some even thought he was an idiot or mad.
He never missed a day without going to the mountain to carve it down from the top. Even when there was drought and famine in his village, many moved away to survive elsewhere but Dashrath refused to relocate to avoid missing his task.
It was an impossible task but he felt it was more necessary than being impossible, and sought a solution for his people’s misery. He spent over 22 years cutting down the mountain.
During the time of cutting down part of the mountain, the local authority in India arrested him for cutting down the mountain without approval from the authority. This arrest led to a great protest in India that led to his release. When he arrived home, he realized that his people were helping him to cut the rocky mountain throughout the period he was in detention.
Dashrath did not allow the intimidation from the local authority to lame his dream. He finally succeeded in creating a wide path that became the only entrance to the remote village. His sacrifice became a great story and inspiration to many. He successfully carved across 360ft (110m) long and 25ft(7.7m) high mountains, creating a part wide enough for both humans and vehicles.
Before Dashrath's sacrificial act, it took the people of the village 70km to travel to the next town, but with the new road created by him, his people could now reach the nearby village in just 10km.
It was no more difficult for the village to access water from the river or to move to the nearby hospital for healthcare. Dashrath’s dream and sacrifice saved his people from suffering and pain.
Dashrath received an award from the Indian government for his work in 2016 and was featured in a post stamp by the Indian Post.
He is fondly called "the mountain man" by many, but we call him Dashrath Manjhi, the man that moved a mountain. Although he did not literally move the mountain, his ability to cut across the mountain is similar to shifting mountain away from its position.
Dashrath passed on in 2005 at the age of 73 but his story lives on in his village and around the world as an inspiration to many who feel they cannot beat the possibilities.