Aamir Khan, who visited Gehlaur in Gaya district on Tuesday to pay homage to Dashrath Manjhi (also known as the Mountain Man) said he was truly inspired and moved by Manjhi's achievement. "I am trying to be like him (Dashrath Manjhi). He has shown that nothing is impossible. His story is one of conviction and courage. I draw immense inspiration from him."
Manjhi carved a road through a mountain in the Gehlour hills, working day and night for 22 years from 1960 to 1982.
The 48-year-old actor said he was overwhelmed by the presence of nearly 25,000 people at the venue. "I did not expect these many (people). Maximum I estimated the crowd to be 500," he said.
The actor's visit was part of the next season of his TV show, Satyamev Jayate, which goes on air on March 2. "I wanted to come secretly to Gaya, talk to Dashrath Manjhi's relatives and shoot for the first series of Satyamev Jayate (Manjhi's exploits were shown in the first series itself), but the media got a whiff of it and I had to cancel my programme just a day before I was to leave," he said. He, however, refused to divulge the contents of the show.
Aamir met Manjhi's son Bhagirath Manjhi, daughter-in-law Basanti Devi, grand daughter Lakshmi Devi and offered them sweets and clothes, and as a mark of respect, even drank water from the hands of Basanti Devi.
About Manjhi's family, Aamir said, "I will soon send my team again to assess what they want and I will do whatever is possible for them from my side."
Aamir Khan made the most of his visit when he displayed an insatiable hunger to know about the place he visited for the first time.
He asked about the social issues confronting the people of the town, besides crime against women, honour killings and the law and order situation. Moved by the public response, Aamir vowed he would visit Gaya again, albeit incognito, the next time.