The road less travelled
Man may be able to move mountains, but there’s one man with a will, a hammer and a chisel who has moved a hill. Dasrath Manjhi dug a passage through a 25-feet high land mass that blocked his village, Gahlaur in Bihar, from civilisation. While others may have continued to whine about governmental inaction in the face of all that talk about connecting the nation through roads, Mr Manjhi decided not to wait. After his wife was injured and he was forced to take her to the nearest hospital by going around the hill, he decided to hack a passage by his own — finishing his project in 1988, and reducing a six-hour journey to one.
In the early Nineties, our hero had met the then Chief Minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, urging the administration to construct a proper road in his village. Mr Yadav had immediately told his officials to start work, but in the Samuel Beckett-country that is Bihar, nothing happened. The same routine was repeated during Rabri Devi’s tenure as CM.
Earlier this month, the 60-year-old wanted to meet Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the same purpose. After being told that the CM was too busy, he finally met Mr Kumar this week. One has learnt that the CM stood up and offered his chair to the legend. He has also reportedly given the green signal to the road construction in Gahlaur. One hopes that this time round, the project does take off. Because Mr Manjhi, for all his grit, might be too old this time to take up a job that is really the duty of a government.