Manjhi Phenomenon

Dashrath Manjhi has epitomized the indomitable spirit of man to do what seems unsurmountable, specially when established systems fail. Just to recall, he carved a path through the Gehlour hills so that his village in Bihar could have easier access to medical attention. The path was 360-foot-long  and 30-foot-wide cut by chisel and hammer through the rocky hills personally by him. It took him   22 years (1960–1982) to complete this work resulting in   reduction of  distance between the Atri and Wazirganj sectors of the Gaya district by approximately 70 kms.
Several other persons have established similar feats under trying conditions. Some examples are given below for the benefit of readers.
Rajaram Bhapkar
84-year-old Rajaram Bhapkar, a former teacher at Gundegaon village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, has cut through seven hills in  57 years to make 40-km roads and is a respected across the region for his feat.
Bhapkar  asked government authorities to build a road cutting across the 700 meter high Santosha hill. With no positive response, he embarked on a journey of grit and determination, which 57 years later  resulted in a network of  roads, altogether 40km long, linking his village to the adjoining villages. He completed the road in 1997.
The distance to Kolegaon via Deulgaon was 29km long which became just 10km after Bhapkar, through sheer grit, cut through the hill and made a road.
With no contribution from the government, Mr Bhapkar spent nearly half of his salary on this project ! He did this out of love for his village.
Taking inspiration from Dashrath Manjhi of Bihar, 300 villagers close to Karnaprayag of Uttarakhand made a road through mountains  connecting Bhatkwali with Bainoli village. They built this 3 km road in 10 days. This was done at height of 7000 feet above sea level.
Government authorities delayed construction citing fears of deforestation by cutting of trees. The villagers pulled of this feat without cutting a single tree !
Women too participated actively in this project.
All this was on voluntary basis – in the footsteps of Manjhi.
Madhya Pradesh
Mr Gyan Singh Neengwal, a farmer near Niwali in Madhya Pradesh made a 2.4 Km road over a hilltop to the nearest clinic and market. Earlier the distance use to be 15 Km.
Mr Neengwal, a farmer, achieved this with the help of his two wives and some villagers who pitched in. All this was achieved using only hand tools and took 3 years to complete. Being farmers, they had to work on their field in between to sustain.
The motivation was to ease their life.
Back to Bihar
Mr Ramchandra Yadav alias Sadhuji is making a path through a hill in Keoti village close to Gehlaur (village of Dashrath Manjhi). This is expected to shorten the distance between Tetua and Narawat villages by 5 Km.
50 year old Sadhuji started this in 1993 and the project is nearing completion. Sadhuji was inspired by Dashrath Manjhi.
All the above people have proved that even if the established system fail, individuals can rise and do wonders.
We need to ask ourselves- how is it that such talent is not captured by our existing administrative set up. Imagine the changes which can happen if such people are empowered.
“Manjhi’ phenomenon needs closer attention.

More By  :  Navin Chandra Mishra

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Comments on this Blog

Comment I would like to touch upon another aspect to what happened in the case of Dashrath Manjhi. Rabindranth Tagore wrote in Gitanjali that God is there, "where the tiller is tilling the hard ground and where the pathmaker is breaking stones." The love Manjhi has expressed single handedly in tilling the ground and breaking the path for everyone and the inspiration he provided to the nation and humanity is tantamount to the presence of God in his work. It is amazing to realize how the poet's words got illustrated.

P. Rao
23-Nov-2015 09:18 AM

Comment Such activity may appear to be unlawful, but it would be a simplistic view. Permissions are to be obtained from empowered authorities to make such projects lawful. However, beauraucratic apathy is a big hurdle for such clearances. Laws are meant to facilitate equity and fairness. In my view, Mr Rao, it is indeed debatable.

19-Nov-2015 20:17 PM

Comment This kind of activity is new to me and heart warming. I am glad these individuals did what they did. I have a question though. Is it lawful to go and burrow a tunnel through public property?

P. Rao
19-Nov-2015 18:39 PM

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