I came across two stories, one thanks to Yashasvi (thanks, you are a very smart cookie )
Dashrath Manjhi was given a State funeral last weekend. During his life, however, government indifference remained as much a challenge for him as the rocks of Gahlaur Ghati, says Anand ST Das
He was ridiculed in 1959 when he started hewing a way through the Gahlaur Ghati hills of Bihar’s Gaya district, some 150 km from Patna. It would take 22
FOR THE PEOPLE: Manjhi’s feat will long outlive him
years for Dashrath Manjhi to finish his 360ft-long, 30ft-wide road — little wonder, for he worked alone, his sole tools his chisel,hammer and shovel. What was once a precarious passage just a foot wide is now an avenue that can accommodate cyclists and motorcyclists and is used by the people of nearly 60 villages with great ease. The road has also reduced the distance between Gaya’s Atri and Vazirganj subdivisions from 50km to just 10km. Children from Manjhi’s own Gahlaur and other nearby villages no longer have to walk eight kilometres one way to attend school — they can now study at a school just three km away.
We met Manjhi a few weeks before the cancer that finally ended his life on August 17 forced him to take to his bed. The 73- year-old was frail, but his energy was undiminished as he relived his work on the road. “I knew if I did not do it myself, neither would the government do it nor would the villagers have the will and determination. 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.”
Before Manjhi’s road, the hill kept the villages of the region in isolation, forcing the villagers to make an arduous and dangerous trek just to reach the nearest market town, or even their own fields. In 1959, Manjhi recounted, this resulted in a family tragedy on the treacherous slope. “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,” he told us. The mission he had set himself meant that he had to drop his wage-earning daily work — his family suffered and he himself often went without food. But his wife was not to see the fruits of his labour — a short while later, she fell ill and died as Manjhi could not get her to the hospital in time. “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. “Though most villagers taunted me at first, there were quite a few who lent me support later by giving me food and helping me buy my tools.” Today, the villagers have nothing but gratitude for Gaya’s mountain man, known almost universally now as Sadhuji.
Dashrath Manjhi belonged to Bihar’s Musahar community, regarded as the lowest among the state’s Scheduled Castes. While other Dalits in Bihar had at least some land rights under the erstwhile zamindari system, the Musahars never enjoyed any such. Nearly 98 percent of the state’s 1.3 million Musahars are landless today. Not even one percent of them are literate, which makes them the community with the country’s lowest literacy rate. For many of them, the day’s main meal still comprises roots, snails or rats, from which the community’s name is derived.
UNDETERRED: Ridiculed at first, Manjhi later became a local hero
After Manjhi completed his road, he worked tirelessly for the betterment of his community. Among his other efforts, he managed to persuade nearly 50 Musahar families of his village to settle on government- granted land, although most of them were unwilling to leave their old homes. But when Manjhi started living on the allotted land, the rest followed suit. This new settlement is now known as Dashrath Nagar. Manjhi’s other efforts have been less successful. Despite his herculean feat, the Bihar government has given him only token appreciation and insincere help.
A weird love story has come out of China recently and managed to touch the world. It is a story of a man and an older woman who ran off to live and love each other in peace for over half century.
Over 50 years ago, Liu, was a 19 years-old boy, fell in love with a 29 year-old widowed mother named Xu. At the time, it was unacceptable and immoral for a young man to love an older woman.
To avoid the market gossips, the couple decided to elope and lived in a cave in Jiangjin County in Southern ChongQing area.
In the beginning, they had nothing, no electricity or even food. They had to eat grass and roots they found in the mountain, and Liu made a kerosene lamp that they used to lighten up their lives.
Starting the second year of living in the mountain, Liu began, and continue for over 50 years, to hand carve the steps so that his wife could get down the mountain easily.
A half century later in 2001, a group of adventures were exploring the forest, they surprisingly found the elderly couple and the over 6,000 stairs of hand carved ladder.
“My parents loved each other so much, they have lived in seclusion for over 50 years and never been apart a single day.” Liu MingSheng, one of their seven children said, “He hand carved more than 6,000 steps over the years for my mother’s convenience, although she doesn’t go down the mountain that much.”
The couple had lived in peace for over 50 years until last week. Liu, now 72 years-old, returned from his daily farm work and collapsed. Xu sat and prayed with her husband as he passed away in her arms.
So in love with Xu, was Liu, that no one was able to release the grip he had on his wife’s hand even after he had passed away.
“You promised me you’ll take care of me, you’ll always be with me until the day I died, now you left before me, how am I going to live without you?” … …
Xu spent days softly repeating this sentence and touching her husband’s black coffin with tears rolling down her cheeks.
The power of love can literally conquer mountains. Salutations and RESPECT!