By Arré Bench Sep. 14, 2020
A man from Bihar, in a remote village nearly 80 kilometres from Gaya district, carved out a 3 km canal to redirect rainwater coming down nearby hills to fields in his village. It took Laungi Bhuiyan 30 years to do this. His story reflects the narrative of Manjhi the “mountain man”, who was also from the state.
John F Kennedy famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” In India, it takes a whole new meaning since no one expects anything from the governments they elect, and everyone’s left on their own. Against such stupefying odds, some people manage to do miraculous things. That was exactly the case with a man from Bihar who carved out a three-kilometre-long canal to redirect rainwater coming down nearby hills to fields in his village. It took him 30 years to do this.
Bihar: A man has carved out a 3-km-long canal to take rainwater coming down from nearby hills to fields of his village, Kothilawa in Lahthua area of Gaya. Laungi Bhuiyan says, "It took me 30 years to dig this canal which takes the water to a pond in the village." (12.09.2020) pic.twitter.com/gFKffXOd8Y
— ANI (@ANI) September 12, 2020
Kothilawa village in Lahthua area is marked as a refuge for Maoists and is surrounded by dense forests and mountains. It is nearly 80 kilometres from Gaya district. The main means of livelihood for the people of Gaya are farming and animal husbandry. But while villagers have started to move to the cities for work, Laungi Bhuiyan stayed back. “For the last 30 years, I would go to the nearby jungle to tend my cattle and dig out the canal. No one joined me in this endeavour… Villagers are going to cities to earn a livelihood but I decided to stay back,” he told ANI.
For the last 30 years, I would go to the nearby jungle to tend my cattle & dig out the canal. No one joined me in this endeavour… Villagers are going to cities to earn a livelihood but I decided to stay back: Laungi Bhuiyan who has dug out a canal single-handedly in Gaya(12.09) https://t.co/pfaJxa00G5
— ANI (@ANI) September 12, 2020
During the rainy season, the water falling from the mountains used to flow into the river, which bothered Bhuiyan and he thought of carving out a canal. “He has been carving out the canal for the last 30 years that too single-handedly. This will benefit a large number of animals and to irrigate the fields as well. He is not doing it for his own benefit but for the entire area,” said Patti Manjhi, a local. “A lot of people will benefit here. People are now getting to know him because of his work,” he added.
— NDTV (@ndtv) September 13, 2020
Laungi Bhuiyan’s perseverance was not only praised by villagers who had benefited from the canal, but it was also cheered by users on social media.
Where there's a will ,there's a way , Hats off to his determination and persistence 👏👏👏👏👏
— Nila Madhab PANDA ନୀଳମାଧବ ପଣ୍ଡା (@nilamadhabpanda) September 13, 2020
First there was Manjhi the mountain man, and there’s now Laungi the river man.
First it was mountain man and now its river man
It happens only in India. Shows with dedication, what all you can achieve even single handedly
— Yogi (@yogendrapal72) September 13, 2020
At the same time, there was scathing criticism of the administration in Bihar and why they had not helped him for 30 years. With government help, it could have been done much faster, and the benefits borne by people long ago. Is every man for himself in this country?
This man was doing it all alone for 30 years and no govt or a neta or babu thought it was necessary to do it as part of govt development work ? So it means Bihar hasn’t progressed even an inch for last 30 years ? What a shame 🤦🏽♂️
— Dr.P.S.VishnuVardhan (@drpsvvardhan) September 13, 2020
As one user said, it’s a story of personal triumph and collective failure.
Could have been done by Govt with machines in few weeks. It's not achievement of the poor man but the inability of the man to get help from his
Village panchayat, VDO, collector, town level administrators , district administration before reaching the CM office.@CMBiharOffice
— RWY (@bodhipar) September 12, 2020
Don't tell the administration. They will arrest the man for illegal construction and close the canal. They will promise water to village in the next election manifesto
— subaganesh🇮🇳 (@subaganesh) September 13, 2020
This is not the atmanirbhar we wanted.
People are becoming self sufficient like dashrath manjhi because no hope from chor Government and chor leaders of Bihar
— Ved | وید پرکاش (@AAPVed) September 13, 2020
If people are doing the job of the government, what is the government doing?
Shame on government, its there job , and common people are doing it,
What happened to this country,
Politician are beating army officers,
No one is taking about increased corona patients.
Did we do ryt to elect this government?
— Avi_Wankhede (@avi_wankhede) September 12, 2020
There are demands to recognise his work post-facto and provide him with compensation under appropriate schemes. It is the least the government could do, after having failed already to help him in all these years.
A man believing in himself, never gave up. Sweating out for 30 years to dig canal, he might have been taken as a mad, insane person. None came to join in fulfilling his dream. @NitishKumar ji pl recognise & compensate him under MNREGA
Convert it into proper canal.@narendramodi
— 🇮🇳 BN Sharma, IG (Retd) (@BholaNath_BSF) September 13, 2020
Cheers to Laungi Bhuiyan.