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Dashrath Manjhi - Inspirational & Motivational Stories

The Mountain Man - Dashrath Manjhi

 Dashrath Manjhi, also known as the Mountain Man, was born in 1934 in a poor family in Gahlour village near Gaya in Bihar, India. His father was a labourer.

 His wife had to negotiate a treacherous path and spend half a day to fetch water from a distant river. One day a thirsty Manjhi was impatiently waiting for his wife to fetch him water from the other side of the mountain. She had taken longer to come back than usual. Then he saw his wife in the distance but she was coming back empty handed. When he asked his wife, "Why are you coming back empty handed and so late? she started crying. She told him that she slipped and fallen down. She also told him that the water pot had broken and that is why she had returned empty handed. She said that she tried but could she save the water pot. The grief and helplessness that she saw on his wife's face was unbearable for him. Moved by his wife's plight and love for her, he said, "I will create a road through the mountain."

 After saying, "I will do it," Dashrath Manjhi managed to build single-handedly a 360-foot-long (110 m), 25-foot-high (7.6 m) and 30-foot-wide (9.1 m) road by cutting a mountain of Gehlour hills with just a hammer, chisel and nails. He worked day and night for 22 years from 1960 to 1982. This road was a blessing for the people of the area as it reduced the distance between Atri and Wazirganj blocks of Gaya district from 75 km to just one km.

 Dashrath got hold of a chisel and a hammer and decided to change the suffering of his wife and fellow villagers. Instead of endlessly waiting for the government or God to do something, Manjhi decided to do the job himself. It became a burning passion to create a short-cut through the mountain to reduce the long and arduous journey from his village Gahlor Ghati to Wazirganj to a walkable distance. He wanted to tame the mountain. People called him mad. They ridiculed and laughed at him. To top it, even his wife and parents were against his unreasonable desire to build a road single handedly.

 But Dashrath Manjhi was a determined man. He even shifted his hut close to the hill so that he could work long hours. He worked day and night. He chipped away, little by little. Often, he went hungry as he forgot to eat. After 10 years of Dashrath's hard work, people started to notice a change in the shape of the hill. They could now see a depression in the middle. Climbing the hill became a little easier. All those who had called him mad and ridiculed him began to quietly admire him. Some even chipped in to help.

 Finally, in 1982, 22 years after Dashrath had started out on this impossible task, the day came when he walked on a clear road of about 16-feet wide to the other side of the hill. He started to walk to the point where he had started his chiselling. His happiness knew no bounds as he walked through the rocky path that he had created alone. He was victorious but sad because, his wife who was the inspiration behind his determination, courage and motivation was not by his side. She had died of illness as he could not take her to the hospital on time.

 The villagers of the area were jubilant and were there to celebrate with him. They distributed sweets. The young generation in the area who had grown up hearing stories of the man who wanted to move a mountain were actually amazed that such a unbelievable task was finally completed successfully. We are sure that they would have been motivated. Their dream had become a reality.

 Building a road was not the only evidence of the steely resolve of Dashrath Manjhi. He once decided that he had to visit Delhi and meet the President of India. He did not have enough money to buy a train ticket. So what did he do? He decided to walk all the way to Delhi, a distance of over one thousand kilometers, along the railway tracks. He did reach Delhi but could not meet the President.

 Dashrath Manjhi died on 17 August 2007 at AIIMS hospital in Delhi. He was suffering from cancer of gall bladder. To honor Dashrath Manjhi, the Bihar government had announced to name the road built by the Mountain Man as Dashrath Manjhi Road and that hospital in Atri village in Gaya (which is yet to be built), to be named after him. It is unfortunate that Dashrath will not be there to lay the foundation stone when that road is fully developed, but we are sure that his story of determination and courage will continue to be the source of inspiration for many of us in India and abroad. When Manjhi had met Nitish Kumar at a Janata Durbar in in Patna, Nitish Kumar had stood up in reverence to the Mountain Man and even made him sit on the Chief Minister's chair.

 The Bihar government proposed Manjhi's name for the Padma Shri award for social service. But Manjhi did not get the award.

 The sheer will power of this man was just amazing. He completed the task in 22 years. It requires tremendous amount of positive attitude to try to achieve one's objective over such a long time. Most of us are willing to give up within a year and quite a few of us are looking for instant success.

 The courage to not only build but to even to think of doing such a Herculean task was just extraordinary and unbelievable. There is no doubt that the determination, courage and can-do attitude of this man will inspire all future generations for a long time.

 This simple, poor uneducated man from Gaya had the fortitude and conviction to literally move mountains. He did what he did by saying "I will do it." He did it by focusing on what he had and not on what he didn't have. In one of interviews he told the reporter that he didn't even ask for help from God because he said that if God, Devtas and Devis  wanted to help him they would have done so. He said that he had to help himself and he certainly did.

 He will serve as an inspiration for all of us who at times feel discouraged when the chips are down and the task ahead seems insurmountable. When you will think of the success of Dashrath Manjhi is such adverse circumstances, you will feel that the job at hand is after all not so difficult and you will get the courage to fight against all odds to achieve your objective.

 You will be surprised as to what you can accomplish once you decide to do so and say, "I will do it." You also be amazed as to what you can achieve when you focus on what you have rather than on what you don't have.

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