We all know about Dashrath Manjhi — the Mountain Man of India, but very few are aware of Ramchandra Das, who is another mountain man from Bihar. He carved out a tunneled road single-handedly after working for 12 long years, reports BiharPrabha
Ramchandra Das, 67, lives in Kewati village in Atari block of Gaya district, Bihar. After authorities refused to construct a road to connect his village to the outside world, he took it upon himself to build it.
Because of his efforts and determination, the route to Gaya from his village has been cut by 25 kilometres. Earlier villagers used to drive for 20 kilometres to cross this area but now it takes just 15 minutes.
A self-proclaimed disciple of Manjhi, Das took up this task in 1993 with spade and hammer as his only company. For 12 long years, he ignored his family and worked like a man possessed to build a road through the mountain. Das said:
“I pleaded with Manjhi to cut the hill that isolated my village. He chastised me and told me to be a man and cut the mountain. I followed his order.”
As it happens, he was called ‘mad’ by villagers, who often laughed at him. But as the road began to surface, the village started rallying behind him. By 2005, a 14 ft wide and 30 ft long tunnel was ready across the mountain.
Though he earned goodwill from his fellow and neighbouring villagers, he did not get any support from them during the whole 12 years he spent in constructing the road.
Instead of lending a helping hand, his village headman Baleswar Yadav asked him to level the road so that his son’s Tata Safari could run on it.
“My road was fit for tractors and bullock carts. Headman’s words offended me. I picked up the hammer again and levelled the road.”
What is even more disappointing is that the roads built by Manjhi and Das do not feature in the State Road Map.
Though in 2008, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar pledged to fulfill Dasrath Manjhi’s request for a pucca (concrete)road through the hill, the government has since built everything in his memory, from a hospital to a community hall except the pucca road.