Dasrath Manjhi, a landless farmer from India, made history after he spent over two decades chiseling away at a mountain with rudimentary tools, in order to create a road for his community, when the Government refused to.
If you’re looking for some motivation, stories don’t get much more inspirational than that of Dasrath Manjhi. 53 years ago, he set out to carve a 1mk-long path through a rocky hillside, all by himself, in order to make it easier for his fellow villagers to access schools, markets and neighboring villagers. “This hill had given us trouble and grief for centuries. The people had asked the government many times to make a proper road through the hill, but nobody paid any attention. So I just decided I would do it all by myself,” Manjhi told Indian newspaper Tehelka, in 2007, a shortly before succumbing to the cancer that was plaguing him. With just his chisel, hammer and shovel, this legendary man turned what was once a precarious one-foot-wide passage into a 360 ft-long, 30 ft-wide road accessible by bicycle and motorcycle. The hill kept the region’s villages in isolation, forcing people to trek through dangerous terrain for hours just to reach their lands or the nearest market town. Children had to walk eight kilometers to reach school, but thanks to Dasrath Manjhi’s handmade road, that distance has been reduced to three kilometers, and people from over 60 villages now use it every day.
But what empowered a single man to accomplish such a monumental task? For Dasrath it was the love for his wife. “My wife, Faguni Devi, was seriously injured while crossing the hill to bring me water; I worked then on a farm across the hills. That was the day I decided to carve out a proper road through this hill,” the farmer said. Sadly, his beloved wife didn’t get to see the fruits of his labor, as shortly after the accident she fell ill and died, because she couldn’t be taken to the hospital in time. The tragic loss only made the ambitious man more focused on his task, and fellow villagers remember seeing him “ hacking at the hill day and night as if he were possessed”. But with the passing years, his motivation changed. “My love for my wife was the initial spark that ignited in me the desire to carve out a road. But what kept me working without fear or worry all those years was the desire to see thousands of villagers crossing the hill with ease whenever they wanted,” Manjhi said in an interview.
He never received any recognition from the Indian Government for his accomplishment, just a state burial, after he passed away, in 2007.
This story shows you really can do anything you put your mind too, what an incredible man.