We are aware of the stupendous super human efforts of late Dashrath Manjhi from Gaya in Bihar who tore open a 300-feet-high hill to create a one-km passage.Now we have another legend from Bihar who has achieved something which is again an unique achievement in itself.
Kamaleshwari Singh, a semi-literate farmer of Manikpur village in Barh block of Patna district, surprised everyone who came to know of his feat. Over seven years, this man has dug a 60-ft-by-60-ft pond that is 25 ft deep, all by himself, using only a trowel and a bucket. He had to use a trowel, he says, because he could not manage to lift a spade.Manikpur village had no pond before Kamaleshwari decided to get one dug, thereby making a permanent source of water available to the residents of Manikpur.What makes Kamaleshwari’s achievement more significant is that his initial inspiration for the job and his continued determination to keep digging for seven years came from his frustration with what he calls “nasty village politics”. He was not a participant in village politics.
A simple farmer who owned 12 bighas of land 15 years ago and now has only five bighas, he got entangled in the regular tide of crime in his village and surrounding villages. His elder son, who kept fighting pitched battles for supremacy with gangsters in the nearby villages, was killed. Kamaleshwari had to sell seven bighas of his land to fight court cases. Thoroughly disgusted, he once decided not to fight any court cases and to rather concentrate on “something constructive”.
“I always wanted my village Manikpur to have a pond of its own. For years, when I was young, I tried to persuade villagers and even local politicians to help set up a pond in the village. But nobody paid attention to what I said. As I kept witnessing the people of my village finding it difficult to take proper baths and irrigate their farms close to their homes, something kept burning inside me as I was unable to do anything myself. I found myself getting falsely implicated in cases like violent crimes and even a murder in all those years. After losing my 26-year-old elder son, Siyaram, to gang war, I decided to forget all bitterness and start doing something constructive,” Kamaleshwari.
Even as stories about the pond and the old man’s feat keep being proudly narrated in various meetings of politicians and officials in Patna, local officials and elected leaders have hardly visited the pond. Neither the sarpanch nor the mukhiya have come calling, let alone the MLAs and ministers. There was some talk about recommending his name for felicitation by the government, but nothing has happened so far. “I want some development in this village. We need wires on the electricity poles, good roads and fish in this pond. I want to meet the chief minister at his Janata Ka Durbar in Patna soon,” said Kamaleshwari.
Kudos to the effort of this Hero who dared to think the impossible and break the shakles of conventional wisdom.