Moving mountains

Moving mountains
-- Rajaram Anand Rao Bhabkar is a man of few worldly possessions. A retired school master he lives in the Gundegaon village of Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra. But Bhabkar Guruji, as he is popularly known is no ordinary man. He is a human bulldozer -- a man who has, on his own, built a 17 km road through a mountain range. Unbelievable, but true.

Bhabkar has built a road from Gundegaon to Kolgaon village through the Santesh range. Bhabkar was ill when he retired but he had a dream -- to build a road that would connect his village with the rest of the world. "Our village is a poor, isolated, drought-prone village without any hospital. Before the road was built, most of us who fell ill either died or barely managed to survive after being carried all the way to the nearest hospital," says Bhabkar.

"I ran from pillar to post but the state government never showed any interest in constructing a road," he laments.

Therefore, with whatever little he had saved during his lifetime, he started building the road. People called him mad and laughed when they saw him whacking away at the mountain. But Bhabkar carried on undaunted. "Almost Rs 25 lakh have been spent to build this road. The only thing I wish the government would now do is metal it so that a bus can ply." Bhabkar is hopeful that the government will consider his proposal soon.

- amit shanker
Down To Earth