Dashrath Manjhi so loved his wife that he was willing to move mountains for her.
The Indian man, who has come to be known as Mountain Man, lost his wife due to lack of medical treatment. The nearest town with a doctor was forty-three miles away from their home in the Gahlour village near Bihar, India, and after she became ill the distance was too far to travel through the mountains.
Manjhi was determined to create a more direct travel route to medical care so no one else would die due to lack of treatment. In 1960, he set out to carve away at the mountain that was blocking the path of so many. He left his wage-earning job, and using only a hammer or chisel, Manjhi worked day and night for 22 years breaking down the mountain. By 1982 he had carved out a 360 foot long through-cut to form a road. The cut was 25 feet deep in places and 30 feet wide through the Gahlour hills.
Initially inspired by love for his wife, and further inspired by the will to give his fellow villagers an easier road to travel, Manjhi singlehandedly moved 270,000 cubic feet of earth. Through his dedication and commitment over the course of 22 years, he was able to reduce the distance between the Atri and the Wazirganj blocks of the Gaya district from 43 miles to about 0.6 miles. Before Manjhi’s road, his village was isolated and travel was difficult. Thanks to Manjhi, villagers can travel through the mountains with ease.
Manjhi received national acclaim for his achievement. Before his death, the state government allotted him five acres of land. In turn, he donated the land to be used for the location of a hospital, despite the fact that his own family was living in poverty. The government recently announced that the hospital would be named after Manjhi. Manjhi died in 2007.
We face barriers in our lives every day. Maybe we won’t physically break down mountains, but through our commitment to our promises we can create change a little bit every day.