Mountain Man Dashrath Manjhi reborn in Odisha!

Phulbani: Whether cinema imitates life or life imitates cinema or life imitates life? Many didn’t even know that someone in flesh and blood could literally ‘move mountains’, until the movie ‘Manjhi: The Mountain Man’ hit the silver screens depicting the life of a poor labourer Dashrath Manjhi, who with the chisel of his perseverance and hammer of his will carved a path through a mountain in Bihar.

For those, who missed the flick, here’s another potent dose of reality that moves the limits of human perseverance and will power, let alone mountains.  Meet the mountain man of Kandhamal, Odisha, Jalandhar Nayak.

While there are some cases where the whole government machinery finds it difficult to build roads on land, Jalandhar is the one-man-machine which has already scraped two mountains to build 5-6 kms road for his family at Gumi village under Tudipaju Panchayat. Believe it or not, he has been using his crowbar, pickaxe and grub hoe plus tenacity and determination to succeed in his endeavour – carving a 15 km road through five mountains.

Driven by this need to build roads and equally stirred by the spectre of no government intervention, Jalandhar began his mission one and a half months back. He has already completed 5-6 kms road and seems undeterred till he reaches Sudrubali, which is 15-kms from his house.

“We have been staying here since long. But we don’t have water, road connectivity and other facilities. That is the reason why I want to build this road,” said Jalandhar.

Jalandhar’s family is the lone family of Gumi village as others have already relocated. Jalandhar’s three sons are studying in an ashram school while his wife and his father live with him.

“I am aiming to build the road till Sudrubali. Once I carve out a road till Sudrubali, my children will not face any difficulties and it will be easier for us to go to hospitals,” added Jalandhar.

“He wants to build this road to ensure that we don’t face any difficulties in accessing medical services. He wants to cut through five mountains,” Jalandhar’s wife, Subi Nayak said.

Even the district administration has been taken aback by the temerity and resoluteness of Jalandhar.

“He has already become an example for our society. Jalandhar’s family is living in the interior parts. It is difficult for the government to provide infrastructure for a single family. But we will do whatever we can to help him,” said Phulbani BDO, Subrat Jena.