Dashrath Manjhi, the Man who Moved a Mountain

“When I started hammering the hill, people called me a lunatic but that steeled my resolve.” ~Dashrath Manjhi”

Dashrath Manjhi

Almost five decade ago, a landless farmer Dashrath Manjhi from Gahlor Ghati, of Gaya (a district of Bihar) resolved to end the difficulties of his villagers by shouldering a near impossible task of slitting a 300-feet-high hill apart to create a one-km passage.
His village would nestle in the lap of rocky hills for which villagers would often face gigantic troubles for crossing small distance between Atri and Wazirganj, the outskirts of Gaya town. He started hammering the hill in early 1959 in the memory of his wife, who could not be taken to the nearest health care center on time for the immediate treatment as the nearest road that connected them to the city was 50km long.

He knew his voice will not create any reaction in the deaf ear of the government; therefore, Dashrath chose to accomplish this Herculean task alone. He sold his goats to purchase chisel, rope and a hammer. People would call him mad and eccentric spirited with no idea of his plans. Unfazed by his critics’ discouraging remarks, Dashrath hammered consistently for 22 long years to shorten the distance from 50km to 10km between Atri and Wazirganj. The day came when he stepped through a flat passage — about one-km long and 16-feet wide — to his dream, ‘the other side of the hill’.

After this impossible accomplishment, Dashrath Manjhi became popular as the ‘mountain man’. On August 18, 2007, he breathed his last after fighting cancer at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He got state burial on the following Saturday evening.

Some invaluable lessons to learn from this Legend


1. He never got panicked by measuring the whole task at once; instead, he started keeping his tiny steps one by one, faced difficulties on its encountering and progressed while solving them one by one. There is no point thinking much about the task that looks seemingly unconquerable and impossible; nobody completes them in one step. What matters the most is your small steps through which you reach there. So focus on your task and accomplish them with great care.

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” ― Molière”

2. Patience is the greatest virtue that leads us to success. Dashrath Manjhi cut through the hill for long 22 years. His patience give him the courage to overcome extreme pain, frustration, disappointments and personal loss.

“Patience. A minor form of despair disguised as a virtue.” Ambrose Bierce”

3. Dream the impossible! Dashrath Manjhi dreamt of making a walkway through two arrogant and treacherous rocky hills. He planned accordingly, accomplished the task and walked his dream. He was a legend who taught us to dare to dream the impossible. If you keep working on, the near-impossible task will seem a lot easier tomorrow.

“Whether an idea becomes a reality or not, does not depend so much on whether it is possible — but on how great the desire for it is.” ― Edmond Danken Sailer

4. Attitude matters! Don’t ever blame difficulties if you crumble if front of them; it is not the difficulties but the attitude that lets you down. If Dashrath Manjhi could triumph over difficulties, it was his attitude that kept him stay focused and going.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” ― Winston Churchill”

5. Stay positive! Your positive thoughts and words initiate you to reach your destiny along with your own values.

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

6. Don’t lose heart if people call you mad and crazy for you unique thoughts. The same people appreciate you, promote you and example your tale for encouragement on successfully completion of your plans. When Dashrath Manjhi began working on his plan, people called him mad and discouraged him with impossibilities, but these same people appreciated him and used the way that he created.

“Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.” Richard M. Nixon

Recommended for you: Govind Jaiswal: An Impossible Journey of a Rickshaw-Puller’s Son who Rose Against the Odds to Become an IAS Officer

  • Pravin

    Great article; thanks for sharing this!

    • He really was the ‘Mountain Man’. We salute his spirit 🙂

      • Mushtaq

        Awesome, Proud to be indian, am inspired by him seriously

        • thanks very much for sharing…..really great article

          • Amit

            Hi I am happy that such a great personality was born in India but also unhappy with the vilageres and goverment who did not support him for the cause.

  • The mountain main left us with great lessons.
    1.If government won’t help in cleaing the put then we need to push ourselves and clearn it.
    2. He’d chosen a wise way like breaking down the massive task into very tiny goals, After accomplishing those tiny goals we feel the victory , so its a kind of positive thought.

    In this story also same thing happened,
    people are remembered when they are missed.

    Thanks for sharing the article!

  • Mayukh

    Salute to the Great Indian on the eve of Independence Day!!! Thanks for showing us the way.

  • Dhanashree

    Great story!!!! Great man!!!! We really salute him!!!

  • Meenakshi Malhotra

    Wow! impressive. We never get to know about such unsung heroes. Thanks for sharing!

    • Meenakshi,
      According to our analysis, he’s already a hero in the United States. This article has been viewed for over 150,000 times on Success Stories. If I sum up the shares on Reddit and Nairaland, I guess over half a million people read him over the past two months 🙂

  • aliasgarmukhtiar mukhtiar

    Thanks for sharing

  • Vishal Rathod

    Once again Lovely Mousami.

  • Deepak Amembal


  • Suraj

    Inspiring, educative and amazing

  • wow.. unbelievable , Really hats off!!!!

  • Abdul Qadir

    Dasrath Manjhi: a fake icon?
    Abdul Qadir

    Did Dasrath Manjhi, a loving husband being portrayed as the
    poor man’s Shah Jahan single handedly flatten 360 ft long, 30 ft wide
    and 25 ft high hillock just to facilitate the smooth passage of wife
    Fauni Devi to fetch food and water to the man ploughing someone else
    fields and doing sundry other job on the other side of the Gehlor
    This and a couple of other
    unanswered questions revisit following the dispute between two film
    makers (Ketan Mehta who has already completed the shooting part of the
    film and Dhananjay Kapoor who claims to have got copy right over
    Manjhi’s life story). As of now a Patna court has stayed exhibition of
    the now controversial film till the final decision in the ongoing title
    suit no. 814/2012 in the Court of the Sub Judge X.
    Engineering experts are of the unanimous view that it was simply not
    possible for a single person working part time on the demolition mission
    to complete the job even in several life times (Manjhi claimed to have
    achieved the feat working during his leisure hours spread over a span of
    more than two decades) to fell that much of hillock.
    No less
    interesting is the fact that nobody including the govt, Manjhi fans and
    the film makers have given a thought to the scientific examination of
    the claim. Film maker Ketan Mehta virtually admitted that he too did not
    believe in the story when he said that “for me, it was enough if Manjhi
    only thought about it without actually doing it”(TOI 9 November’2012).

    Perhaps for that reason neither the Limca book of records nor the
    Guinness Book of records did ever take cognizance of Manjhi’s claim.

    Activist SB Bhaskar’s repeated demand for the constitution of an
    expert committee to certify the claim on the basis of scientific
    evidence has not been conceded. Manjhi’s claim need to be tested before
    bestowing him with an iconoic stature feels the activists who spent
    major part of his life working with the Mahadalits.
    The other
    unanswered question pertains to the use of the nearly 3000 tractor loads
    of stone chips (created by the hillock demolition) worth about 1.5
    crores, enough to construct about 6000 Indira Awas units.
    aspect of Dasrath Manjhi’s claim that has consistently been ignored by
    his supporters pertains to the legality of his action. As per records,
    the hillock claimed to have been individually flattened by Manjhi forms
    part of the protected forest area and by all accounts Manjhi should have
    been booked for illegal quarrying on forest land. A criminal case was
    instituted against former Irrigation Minister Jagadanand Singh, former
    Chief Secretary GS Kang and several other officials for violating forest
    law in the much publicized Durgawati project case.
    On account of
    these controversies, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, at the eleventh hour
    cancelled his 18 January’2007 programme to lay the foundation of a road
    on the area flattened by Manjhi.


  • Sethi

    Inspirational . Thank you

  • Andrew Asare Mensah

    i pray for such patience, humility and love….. i believe he is being cuddled by his long awaited wife she will be proud of him…..R.I.P Dashrath Manjhi

  • Louie Klein

    My Hat’s Off for this Wonderful Man. I admire his way of life.

  • Sangeeta Talwar Suneja

    Great writing Mousumi, keep inspiring, you add value and hope to every reader’s life,

    • Thank you so very much for leaving motivating words in the comment box, Sangeeta. Great to know about your book launch and widespread national and international media coverage. Keep Shining 🙂

  • raghunath


  • ravi sah

    this story inspired me a lot..

  • Natalius

    It’s men like this that need to go down in the history books. Simple as that. Thank you for sharing his story Mousumi!

  • Whothehell Cares

    I feel so humbled by the heroic effort of Dashrath Manjhi. I hope his village never forgets him.

  • Scientific Louisville

    Whatever a man conceives and believes, he can achieve. If I can conceive it and believe it, I can achieve it. It’s not my
    aptitude but my attitude that will determine my
    altitude—with a little intestinal fortitude!

    Napoleon Hill and Jesse Jackson

  • Puja

    That is truly inspirational! What a man! Truly we all need to learn from such legends!

  • Kalyanam Raja Gopal

    It is the visible man that made the difference to this world. He can do any thing. If there is God, certainly the man will catch him one day

  • Uma Maheswar Nakka

    Deserves ‘Bharat Ratna’.
    My salute to him, padabhivandan.

  • Muhammad Asif

    Make someone do something great is as if you have done it yourself. Doing something yourself is easy, getting it done is really hard.