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Rajasthan’s ‘mountain man’ who carved road through hill dies after prolonged illness

82-year-old Baba Bajrang Das had carved out a passage through a hill in Bundi bringing down the distance between Gendoli and Mandpur villages from more than 40km to just 3km

jaipur Updated: Oct 14, 2017 19:15 IST
Aabshar H Quazi
Aabshar H Quazi
Hindustan Times
Dashrath Manjhi,Baba Bajrang Das,Rajsthan's mountain man
Baba Bajrang Das who is popularly known as Rajasthan’s ‘mountain man’.(HT Photo)

Baba Bajrang Das, popularly known as Rajasthan’s “mountain man” for carving out a passage through a hill in Bundi to connect two villages, passed away after a prolonged illness.

The 82-year-old Hindu holy man’s health was deteriorating from some time and was on Friday flow in an air ambulance from Kota to Delhi for further treatment. He breathed his last on arrival at the Delhi airport.

His body was taken out in a procession through the streets of Bundi before the funeral at the Narsingh Aashram on Saturday.

Former Congress legislator Harimohan Sharma, district administrative officials and his disciples were present during his last rites.

More than a dozen villages around Gendoli and Mandpur have benefited from the 300m long, 20ft wide and 25 ft deep passage cut through the hill. (HT Photo)

While the love of his wife had prompted Dashrath Manjhi of Bihar to carve out a passage over the Gahlour hills near Gaya, it was for the benefit of the villagers that inspired Das take up the initiative to cut open a road through the Mandpur hill in Bundi.

People of Gendoli and Mandpur villages living on either side of the hill until a couple of decades back had to travel more than 40km but now they travel just 3km to reach each other’s villages across the hill, thanks to the efforts of Das.

Concerned about the villagers’ problem, Das started cutting the rocks on the hill in the 1980s using just hammers and chisels and was later joined by his disciples and local villagers in his efforts.

More than a dozen villages around Gendoli and Mandpur have benefited from the 300m long, 20ft wide and 25 ft deep passage cut through the hill.

Mahaveer Modi (55), a resident of Gendoli village, said the passage took shape on the hill in 1995 after more than 15 years of painstaking work of Das, his disciples and local villagers.

“Although the passage is still an unmetalled makeshift road even after two decades as the land belongs to the forest department, but still two-wheelers, pedestrians and cattle can pass through,” he said.

The carved out passage on hill is more than 1km and has been developed to connect Gendoli and Mandpur villages across the hill.

In 2015, HT published a story about the construction of the passage through the hill and Das’s initiative prompted villagers to name the hill after the Hindu holy man as “Bajrang Ghati”.

Das, who mostly wore a langot--a red loincloth-- and was popularly known as “lal langot waale baba”, spent the charity received from devotees on social welfare work.

Mukesh Wadhwani, a municipal corporator from Bundi said the demise of Baba Bajrang Das has left a void, which cannot be compensated as he not only curved out a passage on the hill but also did charity for social causes.

Gendoli sarpanch Madan Gurjar said the Baba did the major work of curving out a passage through the hill but now the government must lay a metalled road to make traveling easier as the existing passage becomes difficult to cross during the monsoon.

First Published: Oct 14, 2017 19:15 IST