Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way

This is one proverb that shall always hold good. Wherever human will power shall exist, human ingenuity shall find a way out to get the work done. It is the sheer will power and ingenuity of human mankind that has made human species the most formidable of species on this planet inspite of their lack of physical prowess. No work, no goal, no aim too lofty or too impossible for human will power to surmount and surpass.

This reminds of the tale of Dashrath Manjjhi, a simple, ordinary man from the interior of Bihar in a small place near Gaya. Today the world knows him as the ‘Mountain Man’ but at one point of time he was an ordinary laborer in the coal mines of Dhanbad. Married in childhood, he fell in love with a woman, whom he later found out was his wife but since he had quit working in the coal mines, by then, her father refused to send off his daughter with a way farer.

 But determined as they were, they were soon united and their first baby boy was born. In 1960, she again became pregnant but life was extremely tough in this caste-ridden village. The lower caste people were meted out harsh treatment and had to traverse through a narrow and treacherous path to cross a huge mountain between Attari and Wazirganj block in Gaya district for their daily needs.

His wife succumbed to this treacherous trail in her advances stage of pregnancy while taking food for him. A baby girl was the last gift she left behind for this man. Manjhhi was distraught and avowed to avenge his wife’s death by carving out an easier route between the mountains using nothing but a hammer and a chisel, which was all he had. His own family and the other villagershim ridiculed for his foolhardiness but nothing could now daunt Manjhhi from his focused determination. A lone journalist noticed his herculean effort and documented his story.

The village was wrecked apart by a massive drought in the intervening years and most of the villagers left the place to seek employment in the neighboring cities. Dashrath was accosted time and again to indulge in some gainful employment for the sake of his two children but Dashrath was unmoved. He subsisted on dirty water and dry leaves for days.

During a political rally, Dashrath caught the attention of Mrs. Indira Gandhi when he shouldered the burden of a fallen podium to let her continue her speech. The political aid however never reached him on account of greedy middlemen. Delhi too failed him as the power lobby refused to acknowledge his brief acquaintance with the political leader as a ruse to provide him any sort of aid.

He returned to attack the mountains with renewed ferocity inspite of age catching up with him and finally managed to single -headedly carve a 360 feet long, 30 feet high and 30 feet wide passage through the mountain, thus shortening the 55 km distance into 15 kms. In 1982, the government finally lent credence to his efforts by sanctioning the road on the path carved by him. His indomitable spirit earned him the Padma Shri Award in the Social service sector in 2006.

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