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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Satyamev Jayate hero Dasrath Manjhi's family still impoverished

Rai Atul Krishna , Hindustan Times  Patna, February 23, 2014
First Published: 10:10 IST(23/2/2014) | Last Updated: 10:56 IST(23/2/2014)

The media buzz over Bihar 'mountain man' Dasrath Manjhi's inspiring saga being featured in season-2 opener of Aamir Khan’s tele-series Satyamev Jayate on March 2, has brought little succour to his impoverished family.

The episode seeks to capture the indomitable spirit of Manjhi, a Dalit labourer, who wielded a chisel and hammer for 22 years in order to carve out a road through the Gehlaur hills in the Muhra block of Gaya, Bihar — a mountain that was denying his village access to better facilities.

By the time he was done, in 1982, Manjhi had created a 360 feet long and 30-feet wide road.

Yet, seven years after Manjhi's death (from cancer in 2007), conditions in the Dalit 'tola' his son Bhagirath lives in with his wife Basanti remain so challenging that there are doubts as to whether the family will even get to watch the episode. "Even if we all assemble in front of the lone TV set in Dasrathnagar, nobody can say whether the power supply to the tola will be available when the episode is telecast," Bhagirath’s son in law Mithun Manjhi told HT on Saturday.

Read: Satyamev Jayate 2 goes on air from March 2

"The family has unspoken expectations from Aamir, whose office has announced his intent to visit Dasrathnagar to dedicate the Manjhi episode to his family and the people of the tola," said Rajkumar Raju, a local social worker and journalist.

But the family, he said, continued to subsist on Rs. 1,000 each that Bhagirath and his wife draw per month from their midday meal job at the local primary school.


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