The road of love


Just like the title suggests, this article is dedicated to a tragic love story between Dashrath Manjhi and his wife Falguni (or Phaguni) Devi. There more to this story than just love. This is an inspiring story of a man who moved mountains for his wife, literally. Dashrath Manjhi is also popularly known as “Mountain man” who proved that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. His life is one of the prime examples of a man from a small village with no power or money achieving everything he desired. Manjhi’s love, determination and persistence to carve the huge mountain gives the message that every hurdle can be crossed if one put this mind to it.

Dashrath Manjhi was born on 14th January 1929 in Gehlaur village, near Gaya in Bihar. Young Manjhi was married off in his childhood, but he ran away from his home at a young age and worked in the coal mines at Dhanbad. He returned to his village as a fine young man and fell head over heels in love with a village girl, who turned out to be his childhood bride. After a few difficulties with both sides of the family, Manjhi and Falguni Devi decided to elope and lived a happily married couple. When Falguni was heavily pregnant with their second child, her foot slipped and she fell down from the mountain. She was taken to hospital which was 70 km away, by then she was no longer alive.  

Gahlaur is a remote and backward village where ‘Development’ word seems alien. Poor villagers had to travel through a narrow and treacherous pass to cross the huge mountain, located between Attari and Wazirgunj blocks in Gaya district, for their daily needs and for transportation connectivity. Manjhi had noticed this problem long back when his wife’s water pot was broken on this mountain, but his wife’s death cornered him to do something about the 300 feet mountain that was in everyone’s way.

 The heartbroken Manji decided to tear down the mountain which was the reason for his beloved wife’s death. With love for his wife and determination, he took and hammer and Chisel and started his journey to break a mountain. Manjhi was ridiculed by villager even his own family, but he was firm on his decision to carve a path so that no other person suffers like his wife. He spent 22 years (1960–1982) on his selfless journey to make a road for his village. He got no help from any government officials, even from his village leader whom he approached many times in the hope of getting some assistance. In this journey, he got help from fellow villagers who sometimes paid for his equipment and food and also from journalists who were covering this incredible story.  

After decades of hard work, Manjhi finally carved a path that was 110 m long (360 ft), 9.1 m (30 ft) wide and 7.7 m (25 ft) deep through a ridge of hills. This might be one of a kind road where a single man built it by himself. Manjhi’s story has been the subject of quite a few documentaries and movies. In August 2015, a Hindi movie Manjhi – The Mountain Man was released in which Nawazuddin Siddiqui played the role of Manjhi along with Radhika Apte as Falguni Devi. In 2006, his name was proposed for Padma Shri award in the social sector. His story is an inspiration and an example that everything can be achieved with the power of love.