After His Wife Died from Lack of Medical Care, One Man Spent 22 Years Cutting Down a Mountain…So the Villagers Can Easily Reach the Hospital
Living 70 kilometers from the nearest hospital, Dashrath Manjhi’s wife Falguni Devi died in 1959 from lack of medical care. Those 70 kilometers were comprised of paths around the mountains or through a treacherous pass beneath the hills.
Promising that no one else in the village of Gahlour near Gaya in Bihar, India, will die because the hospital is too far away, Manjhi began a unique quest that had the villagers laughing at him at first: He decided to cut down the mountain to make a shortcut.
Everyone thought he had gone mad because of his wife’s death; so, they laughed at him and thought it was foolish to carve the mountain yet Manjhi persevered. It did not matter that he was alone in his cause – he dedicated his entire life to creating the shortcut with nothing but his hands and some crude tools.
As his work progressed, there were some who soon realized he was right. They would lend a hand or bring him some food yet most of the work he did by himself. It took him 22 years (from 1960 to 1982) to finally but through the mountain, creating a path that is 360-foot-long (110 m), 30-foot-wide (9.1 m), and 25-foot-deep (7.6 m) in places, reports the Wikipedia.
Because of his hard work, the treacherous 70-kilometer road from his village to the hospital was cut down to just a little over a kilometer!
…and to think the people called him a lunatic!
Thankfully, Manjhi’s actions did not go unnoticed. Dubbed as the “Mountain Man”, he was given due recognition by the government. When he died of gall bladder cancer at age 73 on August 17, 2007, he was given a state funeral by the Government of Bihar.
The government also set up a hospital in his village, naming it after Manjhi. A 3-kilometer metal road from his village will also be named after him.