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Updated: July 31, 2012 02:35 IST

The power of one can move a mountain, literally

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Aamir Khan.
The Hindu Aamir Khan.

The future of our nation depends on whether we decide to be determined followers of dreams or cynical naysayers

What can I do alone? I am just one among 1.2 billion. Even if I change, what good will it do? What about the rest? Who will change everyone? First get everyone else to change then I too will change. These are some of the most negative thoughts I have heard all through my life. The story of Dashrath Manjhi is a fitting reply to all these statements. It tells us what one man can achieve. It tells us about the power of one. It tells us that man can indeed move mountains.

Gehlor, a small village in Bihar, was surrounded by rocky hills. The villagers had to travel more than 50 km to reach the nearest town, which was only five km away but the path blocked by a rocky hill. One of the villagers, Dashrath Manjhi, decided one day that he would cut a pass through the hill. He sold his goats, bought a hammer and a chisel, and started hammering away at the hill. Everyone laughed at him. They ridiculed him, dissuaded him, told him it was not possible. He refused to be swayed and kept at it. It took him 22 years to cut a road through the hill but he did it.

For a moment let us imagine what he must have gone through on day-one of his attempt. One man with a hammer and a chisel against a mountain! How many cubic inches of rock could he have broken on the first day? What did he feel while walking back home that evening? How far did he get at the end of week-one? What were his thoughts then? No doubt the task would have seemed even more impossible at the end of the first week. What did he feel when people made fun of him and discouraged him? What kept him going for 22 long years?

What you and I have to decide is, do we want to be like Dashrath Manjhi, or do we want to be like the villagers who tried to dissuade him? And there is a clear choice before us. What he was attempting to do was for everyone’s benefit. Still, instead of joining him, his fellow villagers made fun of him. So, should we be like those villagers or should we live our lives like Dashrath Manjhi, who, with single-minded determination, continued to do what he believed in? Each of us has to ask ourselves this question, and in our answers lie the reality of our future. In our answers lie the answer to the following questions as well: Do I want to contribute to nation building? Do I want to be a believer or do I want to be a critic? Do I want to follow my dreams relentlessly and without compromise, or do I want to be a cynical, discouraging naysayer?

I believe….

I believe in India. I believe in the people of India. I believe that each and every Indian loves his/her country. I believe that India is changing. I believe that India wants to change. I believe in the dream that our forefathers saw when they fought for Independence. A dream that they wrote down in the Preamble to our Constitution:

“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY, of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation; …

There are many who say that this dream is dead, but I don’t agree. While it is true that it has not been achieved, it is equally true that it is not entirely dead. Even today there are thousands of Indians who live by this dream. Many have spent their lives upholding this dream. Most of them are perhaps not even aware that in living their lives in the way that they are, they are upholding the Constitution of India, the dream that our forefathers saw.

I think somewhere along the way too many of us have become a little too clever, a little too practical, a little too cynical, a little too materialistic, a little too selfish. Maybe we need to let go a little. Allow a little space in our hearts for hope, for idealism, for belief, for faith, for trust, for innocence and… for a little madness. If one Dashrath Manjhi can move a mountain, imagine what 120 crore Dashrath Manjhis can do.

My journey of Satyamev Jayate is coming to an end. But I would like to believe that this is not the end, but is, in fact, a beginning. And in this hope-filled moment of a beginning, I would like to bow my head in a prayer that was first expressed by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action —

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Jaihind. Satyamev Jayate.

(Aamir Khan is an actor. This is the last of his weekly columns for The Hindu.)

More In: Comment | Opinion | Columns

Satyameva Jayate. Aamir Khan deserves all appreciation for his TV Show Satyameva
Jayate. His articles in The Hindu on the same issues reach the readers of this favorite
newspaper of many Indians within the country and abroad. A great show of real life of many
simple dedicated people who have not only seen others problems but appreciated and made
true genuine efforts to solve them and help the needy.The initiative and positive actions of
all these people deserve support from one and all. As other viewers and readers have
suggested they are the Real Heroes of our society and must be awarded rewarded with the
highest of Honours. Let Aamir Khan be one of them. Thanks Aamir for the Real Life Shows.
Please return soon with the Satyameva Jayate Shows and your Articles.
Thanks to Starplus and The Hindu. Please bring them back soon. Jai Hind and Satyameva
Jayate. Pratap Singh.

from:  T Pratap Singh
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 23:25 IST

Thank you Amir for awakening Indians and I salute you for a never before initiative taken up by a celebrity.....Although I agree that it is difficult to change everything which is wrong but any small effort you do in this direction will definately positively impact someones life. So we should not take escape by saying that my efforts are fruitless and will not do anything good.

from:  Rajesh Kansal
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 17:25 IST

Hats off to Aamir for bringing up such an inspiring show. Each an every episode broadcasted in itself was very moving.
Good Job Aamir and his etire team!! We look forward to see you again with Satyamev Jayate!

from:  Anjali
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 15:23 IST


Tremendous determination, grit, perseverance and a massive achievement. Thank you Mr. Dashrath Manjhi.

from:  Dr. Cajetan Coelho
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 15:17 IST

Amir deserves appreciation for his noble thoughts. But we have to do a lot of field work to stimulate masses with the 'power of one' if we wish to make a better India. Film industry personalities can do wonders, better than political crooks if there is a will to do good as they enjoy tremendous following. We must first of all make Mumbai trash-free to set example for the whole nation followed by potable water supply to all. Govts. & Municipalities may utterly fail but committed people cannot. We all must make 'Bharat Mahan'.

from:  Vyas K Susarla
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 12:56 IST

Dear Amir:

Thanks for this inspirational article, after a grand success of "Satyamev Jayate".You gave us perfect example belonging to the poem of Ravindra Nath Tagore.We aspect to continue of satyamev Jayate for next season, so that we Indians can understand the real social problem facing by small villagers and poor peoples, rather to enjoy a fashionable life.

Jai Hind....

from:  Mithlesh Swami
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 23:02 IST

Dashrath Manjhi is a great Human being, he beats hollow the legendary
Robert Bruce!!.He is the person children should learn about in the
school text books.Thanks AAmir for bringing this person to every bodies
knowledge

from:  Premnath.t.murkoth
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 15:42 IST

Inspiring words ! Much needed advice for today's youngsters.

It would be great if the Khans of the Mumbai Film Industry join
together to spearhead a movement to transform Dharavi Slum into a
worthy living place for the poorer sections of the society.

I am not suggesting that they donate all their money, just to initiate
a movement, with all their influence and persuasion, it may get the
right attention and some traction...

from:  JohnDoe
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 06:12 IST

Can't believe the govt never gave Dashrath Manjhi an award. Never in my
life have i heard of a more inspirational true story from India or
abroad of grit and single minded determination than this story of a Lion
among men, Dashrath Manjhi. We tend to lose hope with minor issues in
our lives. When i'm feeling down and defeated i will remind myself of
this great man. Thanks to Satyamev Jayate team for bringing this great
story to light.

from:  Rohan
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 02:58 IST

Dashrath Manhji's single minded work shows what one determinded person can do. Aamir Khan has done well to dig it and relate to the readers. Tagore's great poem will remain a beacon to thinking people all over the world. It is difficult to read it without getting a lump in one's throat. Tagore wished Indians to be guided by the highest aspirations of human existence on this planet. It should be read frequently by us all.

from:  virendra gupta
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 01:12 IST

sataymeve jayate, great thought, great mind.....thanks a lot...jai hind...urgain from
LADAKH.

from:  urgain tsewang
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 23:22 IST

really wanted very positive writing, thanks Amir

Jai Hind!!

from:  Rakesh Aity
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 22:00 IST

Hats off Amir, I m very much glad to see your down to earth view.
You are among the person who can emerge Sleeping India because
public blindly follow their hero....in their fashion, in their
activities.....Good show sir, Jai Hind

from:  vinod
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 19:57 IST

He wants to give a hope to a country which is sitting on a volacano going to erupt sooner or later stopping all developmental work and taking this country to chaos.First and foremost this country needs a uniform civil code for all the citizens irrespecive of cast, creed, occupation and social status.That will be honouring the basic essence of constitution. Our policy makers sabotaged the constitution for vote bank during the last few decades.Some patriot will rise like
Dashrath Manjhi to change this country and put it back on noble social values so dear in the historical past of the golden period of India.

from:  Shiva Prakash
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 19:31 IST

Thanks for a an inspiring and memorable culminating piece.
On the 'Power of One', which you and your team has nicely shown through your endeavors in 'Satyameva Jayte' sojourns, I would like to quote Ayan Rand.
"A man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress".
Dashrath Manjhi's case is one fitting example of same.
Thanks and hope to see you back soon.


from:  Maverick Saint
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 18:07 IST

I would miss these articles of Satyamev Jayate, These would usually take away my Monday morning blues every week.
Mr.Khan.Respect!

from:  dheerajmaken
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 17:55 IST

So, we all saw his shows and read his columns, got inspired, now what!!? The general mind
set of most Indians are,stick to the mundane duties and chores and resign to the fate! If India
has to come out of the quagmire, people have to become activists and act against what they
see as injustice and corruption. Everyone is a Dashrath if one combines the passion with
action. Or, stay as an armchair philosopher!! Congratulation Amir-at least you raised the
awareness of the people in the country and sowed seeds that there is power within
everyone,even to move the mountain!

from:  Saratchandran
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 17:12 IST

Very Impressive and Inspiring program I had ever seen recently. Every show would have kicked up few people to change something n them.

Congrats to you and your entire team Amir.

from:  Sendil Muthu
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 16:40 IST

Thanks Aamir khan..Hats off..

from:  litu
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 16:22 IST

Hello my icon Amir
you are angel to Indian society and your grass root upholding is
commendable and tons of appraise in your and your team's name for
marvelous work you have been done so far.I love my nation and every
citizen of my nation as brother and sister but sometimes some question
really exhaust me. my question are:
1.Is a still a SC IAS officer's officer kids need more benefits of
reservation and same is applicable for other posts.
2.why we discriminating more and more day and day by politically when
we want to see nation as one(of-course vote bank...hmmm but who will
stop this ).

still million questions are floating in my mind. Anyways thank to Amir
khan and his fabulous team for awakening the slumbering India.
i wish great lucks and healths in Amir's life.
hope for next series soon on positive discrimination, plantation,
govt. institutions and more topics.


jai hind!!!

from:  vipesh
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 16:07 IST

I know that T.V anchors don't won't have time to read this article.They must be busy in preparing their content for the next daily BIG BANG.But i hope and hope very strongly that some day a common man's anchor will have time to read and understand the common man's feelings.we are done with Godhra,ayodhya,batla.....Please have some discussions which will be helpful in shaping the future india.Discussions which can light a hope in the young heart of indian's.Please discuss about role of CBI,need for independent investigating agency.

from:  Pushkar Kumar
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 16:01 IST

Very much glad about a legend in bollywood take a step to ahead the success of INDIA......... HATS OFF to you sir,i do my best to do this like Dashrath Manjhi.... JAI HIND!!!!!!

from:  karthikeyan
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 15:39 IST

We love you Amir.You are REAL hero not just a Reel hero.

There are many more Reel heroes who do not deserve so much as to be revered as Gods but when the time comes to give back to society, even if it is a matter of a few words they go into hiding.I hope fans will open their eyes and think for themselves like their Hero-Gods.

from:  Neeladri
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 15:16 IST

Yes..This kinda stories or shows are really inspiring...

One good methods that can push indian crowds : Every channel and newspaper must air or publish the success stories of every indian who is responsible for good outcome for India...

Well we all know Indians are lethargic when comes to serving for nation..
(Above were symptoms of common man)...

Make somethings compulsory. NNeed to be done by Govt.

from:  varanasi anup
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 15:08 IST

Amir Khan deserves all praise for his thought -provoking series of Articles under
the heading "Satyameva Jayate" This should serve as a shining example for
everyone to realise that he is just not an ordinary mortal but an extra-ordinary
person like Dashrath Manjhi possessed of that indomitable spirit of selfless
service , courage and conviction. Every individual has come to this world with a
mission to serve and save mankind from falling victims to the clutches of the
selfish few occupying seats of power. This calls for collective wisdom, collective
thinking and collective action which alone should pave the way for lasting peace
and happiness to everyone which is one's birthright. Satyameva Jayate.

from:  TSSREENIVASAN
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 14:52 IST

Thank you sir for this inspiring and motivational article. I know the
episode "Satyamev Jayate" will end after 29th July. It is my earnest
request that you keep on writing articles in The Hindu. Thanks once
again!!!

from:  Amit Kumar
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 14:49 IST

In a country of 1.2 billion people, there is no need for every citizen
to be a Dashrat Manjhi. Even if everyone contribute his/her bit by
obeying the law, helping others and acting human then we will see the
India that our predecessors dreamt of. It is these small contributions
that any responsible citizen in any society should make. We have
already witnessed what happens when a handful decide to act! All we
need is awareness and efforts like Satyameva Jayate which bring about
the sense of urgency in the hearts of the people who have been in
slumber for a long time. A big hearty congratulation to the entire
team. Jai Hind.

from:  Shantanu Chauhan
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 13:40 IST

very inspiring shows satyameva jayte of Mr. amir khan.But people of india will forget all this episods once it is stopped like the anti corruption movement of team anna.Anti corruption movement stopped for year & the indian people forget this movement & less support.Even this show give meaningful change to indian people,indian corrupt & goondagiri political system will not allow you to achive this goal.so this show should continue so that people to change their mind in this path.So need this type of shows continue emphasising these social points like corruption deeprouted in the minds of people of india that you cannot achieve without bribing the authority.HOPE Mr.Amir khan"s efforts will not go waste.SATYAMEVA JAYTE.JAI HIND.

from:  KOUSALYANANDAN
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 13:34 IST

The story of Dashrath Manjhi make us realize that how the mountain can
be shifted i.e. impossible is possible. This column of Mr. khan really
address the issues which is very relevent today. These question always
come to those people's mind who think about some radical reforms in
Indian's society. This column really awaken everyone's conscience.

from:  uttam kumar
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 13:29 IST

Hi sir..
I too also convey my congratulations to you. You simply perform your social work through this Satyamevjayate. I inspired too much by this Dashrath Manjhi's story. I want to do something for our society.

so I want to give a very pleasant thanks to Amir sir......

from:  santoshi
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 13:11 IST

Never knew that it was the last episode of this TV show which simply exposed many Incredible and not so incredible faces of this Incredible India! Aamir, what a personality...This show definitely is a direct opposite to the glitz and glamor filled bollywood. How I wish Aamir will be remembered as the presenter of Satyamev Jayathe, a milestone TV show rather than a bollywood star. And the story of Dashrath Manjhi reminded me of one of the best movies ever made, Shawshank Redemption.
Determination and hardwork are the watchwords and yeah "the salvation lies within" !!... Jai Hind.

from:  Dheeraj
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 12:54 IST

I salute those individuals with the 'CAN DO' attitude on the face of ridicule and hardship. I am ashmed that I could not even move a small stone or close a running tap or save a person getting beaten up by hooligans; always have been under the comfort - 'not my problem'. Dasarath, Sunithi, the Desai couple, the 9 year old school teacher, Mashima from Bengal hold the torch for the future. Well done Aamir. You made me realize how small my beliefs and contributions have been to nation building.

from:  mani sandilya
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 12:37 IST

Vah kya baat hai!, Amirbhai, Hats off to you. You really light a
beacon of hope and possibilities in today's India where an atmosphere of
negativity and doom is created by some self-proclaimed crusaders who are
out to demolish the very foundation of our Constitution and Democracy.
An atmosphere is created by these handful of few along with the great
Indian TV Media that nothing in India is right!, they should read this
article and remember Dashrath Manjhi who is our real Hero, and stop
spreading anarchism in India.

from:  Shankar A. Travadan
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 12:27 IST

Hi Amair

My only request to you is that plsease continue writing this type of articles which will inspire lot of youngester like me.

This article open up my dream towards my country.

My respectable solute to you Sir.

Regars,
Appan

from:  Esakkiappan S
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 12:25 IST

After the start of the show there were those who cheered for the ray of
hope it gave and there were those well meaning cynics who said, "Are
these any new problems, what made you wake up suddenly".
I hope that with this last show you have achieved significant converts
to religion of Hope.

from:  Manvendra Singh Rathore
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 11:35 IST

Very inspiring - glad that Amir mentioned Dashrath Manjhi's story. Most of our newspapers and magazines had ignored the guy. The only media story I saw on this person was from Tehelka.

from:  mahesh
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 11:26 IST

Thanks a lot for activating many a people's mind and thoughts which were in passive state.
Is this your lost column to Hindu ?

from:  Mamatha
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 10:40 IST

Hats off to the team of Satyamev Jayate....An excellent episode by the team to awaken the country riddled with communalism,corruption,
.....Now i pray to god that please dont give birth to one more critic for this episode and article......Jai Hind......

from:  Rajesh Biradar
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 09:51 IST

Hello,
Every Indian has to change in positive way. Everyone attitude change from 'I' to 'we' without selfishness. I hoping if every Indian reading Amir sir article at least they try to change.Every person like a Dashrath Manjhi. Amir sir contribute most of his life to "SATYAMEV JAYATE'. I am big fan of Amir sir in this way.

from:  krishnaveni
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 09:38 IST

Sir i am feeling somewhat sad because this was the last episode.....because there are so many issues to raise....you did a great job for a little change to our country....hats off to you sir and hats off to your "Satyamev Jayate" team.You are a real hero for all indians.

from:  Sruthi.G
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 09:36 IST

Hello sir,
Congratulations for such an effort. You and your team have done a
commendable job. The efforts made through "SATYAMEV JAYATE" to resilient
the economical,social,political situation will surely some big stride
for our society.

from:  rini
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 09:21 IST

The efforts of SMJ team is truely appreciable.The best thing is that they have shown in episodes the true reality.No biasing nor they have tried to give a judgement of good or bad.No moral policing have been propagated.What is supposed to be idealistic have been presented in a more pragmatic way in all the episodes.The best part of the episodes have been their enthralling music which was actually very touching(starting from o re chidiya to the last day).I agree that this is a very small effort towards aspiring to a new India,but as pointed by Aamir,if a single dashrath Majhi can take 22 years and still fulfil his dream,why cannot We?We require the fire within us to be always alive and most importantly only criticising wont help.We need to come together and find a political solution of a problem.Since its a democracy, a democratic approach can only make things better.We need to continue this effort of Aamir and we must bring some change in us and the India before season2 starts.JAIHIND

from:  vivek kumar
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 09:14 IST

Hats off to Amirkhan.U are great,Last episode was superb.
'Satyameva jayate' is rocking..!!
wish u all the best!

from:  Prashanth Reddy L
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 08:36 IST

Amir, you are a fantastic Indian, among the best of us. I pray we see millions more like you spring from the new generation. you inspire the youth of this country. great work, my heartfelt thanks.

from:  naveen
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 08:06 IST

This is what exactly needed. Bring out the best examples of individual efforts or village efforts that changed the life of people. These incidents should be brought through medias, and that will defenitely lift the spirit of people and boost them. Rather than showing the negative things and projecting them, let us look at the many positive things happened around us and learn from them. I am going to do that. Manytimes, we said ashamed to be an Indian. But these good incidents where unknown to many. Why ? let us promote these, I am proud to be an Indian, with all these differences and issues !!

from:  JC
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 07:43 IST

Hello Aamir,
I convey my heartiest congratulations to you for being a beacon of
inspiration for the Indian society in these turbulent times, via
'Satyamev Jayate'.From the earliest, you've been actively involved in social work, apart
from your professional commitments, which is highly commendable, and I
wish that we as a society imbibe at-least a part of your programme
into our daily lives.
Hats off to you sir and wish you all the best in your life.

from:  Harsh Pandey
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 06:45 IST

This real story is very fruitful for awaking of silly Indians. I belong to Bihar and the location (Gahlor village near GAYA city)is very near to my resident. Late Dashrath Manjhi was a very great person and his well determination does encourage us.
I want to give very very Thanks to Amir Sir for his ground looking view. you are my real hero I like you too much.

from:  raju
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 04:02 IST

Hats off to Amir and his team for their effort...the last episode is a masterpiece

from:  chandni
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 01:14 IST
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