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Cool Bihari: Heroes of our Times

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Heroes of our Times

Thanks to Madhukar I came across these two amazing real life Heroes of our times who displayed exemplary human courage and determination to break the shibboleths and strive to create a difference around.

It took Kamleshwari Singh all of seven years to dig one in his village, 80 km from Patna. Being too weak and too old to use a spade, he used a trowel.People dismissed him as “demented” and children laughed and called him talabi baba.

But now that the 62-year-old has actually dug the pond single-handed, people are streaming into the village to take a look at his handiwork.An impressed sub-divisional magistrate of Barh, Vandana Preyasi, said: “We will soon felicitate him and recommend his name for a state government award.”

Public health and engineering minister Prem Kumar said: “I will write to the Patna district magistrate to extend all possible help.”

Dashrath Manjhi's whose claim to fame has been the herculean task of single-handedly carving a 360-ft long, 25-ft high and 30-ft wide road by cutting a mountain for 22 years. But, today for this native of gehlor (near Gaya in Bihar), there is a more daunting task at hand as he strives to get for his community, the Musahars, a respectable place in the society.
Considered as social outcasts, Musahars are traditionally associated with various social stigmas such as eating rats and the belief that they are very liberal with drinking liquor. They are identified as people who survive on grains gathered from hideouts of field rats.
With a slender frame of a man in his late seventies, diminutive and dressed in simple white kurta and dhoti, Dashrath Manjhi hardly fits the stereotyped image of a superhuman. Agonized at the suffering of his wife, who broke her earthen pot and hurt herself while crossing the narrow pathway round the mountain, Manjhi started working on the road that reduced the distance between Atri and Vazirganj subdivisions from 50 kms to 10 kms.He is today considered as a living legend by his community.
But for Dashrath Manjhi it was more than a daredevil action or an act of eccentricity. Ashe initiates another struggle to emancipate his people, Manjhi derives strength from his long, solitary life of 22 years that he spent in making the road.

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