For decades, the Kharwar tribal population of some 3,000 had waited for the state to build a road through the hills to twin hamlets of Barwan Kalan and Barwan Khurd, located 300 km south-west of Patna on the Kaimur plateau on the borders with Uttar Pradesh.
It included 130 bachelors -- the highest number of unmarried males in any village of Bihar.
There was a huge reason for the bachelors to feel let down. Nobody would give the hand of their daughters to the village youth, cut off from the rest of the world, with no water, power, irrigation or telecommunication.
Last week, people of the two hamlets – and especially the bachelors -- celebrated the commissioning of a road, built by the villagers themselves after repeated pleas to the government did not work.
Government agencies had expressed helplessness in cutting the road which passes through a designated wildlife sanctuary area where construction or economic activity is banned under a Supreme Court order.
It was then that the bachelors took to the task with traditional tools to make the road through two hills, working day and night for over two years.
They created a road space that would help motorcycles and tractors to get through.
For the tribals, the trauma of eking out a living had been great. Scaling two hills and braving rough jungle terrain for over four hours to reach the closest town, just 5kms on foot, had always been the norm.
“This road has brought some hope to the people. The bachelors are the more enthused. People can now visit us on motorcycles and baraats (wedding guests) can leave on tractors too,” said Santosh Kharwar, 26 of Barwan Kala.
The effort of the villagers echoed the feat of another Bihar villager Dashrath Manjhi who single-handed cut a road through a mountain in Gaya district, a 22-year-long job which had made him a hero for the poor and downtrodden of the country.