The story of men who moved mountains, made rivers flow, made forests grow, and more

There are many remarkable people in India nobody notices or talks about. These unknown superheroes are the people that make up and fuel the Great Indian Dream. Common folk doing amazing things inspire other ordinary people to dream big and do more.

Common, usual, ordinary… not something or someone you would give much thought to. But perhaps you should, we should. The great, late artist, thinker, cartoonist, philosopher, intellectual, and common man RK Laxman devoted his entire life to the extraordinary strength of the Common Man of India.

Speaking of extraordinary, released last week, Manjhi the Mountain Man is one such film with outstanding performances by the two lead actors (Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte) you wouldn’t notice if you didn’t know them as actors.

There are many remarkable people in India nobody notices or talks about. These unknown superheroes are the people that make up and fuel the Great Indian Dream. Common folk doing amazing things inspire other ordinary people to dream big and do more.

When the guy next door sees the guy next door doing uncommon things, the guy next door finds it easier to believe in his own abilities to make something exceptional with his life.

At Engrave, a big part of our mission is to shine the light on the extraordinary abilities, creations, and achievements of creative people you may not otherwise notice. It’s one of the reasons we are so looking forward to the Manjhi the Mountain Man movie.

Dashrath Manjhi – The Mountain Man of India

Common men, uncommon deeds

Dashrath Manjhi, Mountain Man of India, was a pioneer and very ordinary man. So ordinary that Aamir Khan celebrated him on Satyameva Jayate. And he was given a state funeral by the Government of Bihar when he passed away on 17 August, 2003.

Little and little-known Dasrath Manjhi carved a path through a mighty 360 ft long, 30 ft wide and 25 ft high hillock using only a hammer and chisel. After 22 years of his hard work, sweat, blood, and toil, he showed the world how to shorten the distance-to-travel between the Atril and Wazirganj blocks of Gaya town from 55 km to 15 km.

Speaking of extraordinary work done using a hammer and sickle, here’s a closer look at some uncommon makers with hammer and sickle from Engrave.

Jadav Payeng – The Forest Man of India

For the love of tress

Jadav Payeng discovered you don’t need to be a superhero to do superhero-like things. And that’s how this nondescript man slowly but surely came to be known as Jadav ‘Molai’ Payeng, the Forest Man of India, for single-handedly planting the Molai forest (named after him and covering an area of about 1,360 acres/550 hectares) near Kokilamukh of Jorhat, Assam.

Speaking of green thumbs on a mission for a greener planet, here’s a closer look at what Engrave has in store for the Jadav ‘Molai’ Payeng in you.

Rajendra Singh – The Water Man of India

What a man

We’ve heard of Superman, Batman, Ant-man, Spider-man, X-Men…all men (and women, too) who can save the Planet… in our dreams. Time, then, to meet The Water Man of India, Rajendra Singh. The Guardian listed him as one of its “50 people who could save the planet.” Yes, dear netizens and citizens, this man, The Water Man of India is for real. This year, Rajendra Singh was awarded the Stockholm Water Prize… for changing lives through his pioneering work in community-based efforts in water harvesting and water management. His NGO, Tarun Bharat Singh, has helped villagers take charge of water management in their semi-arid area as it lies close to Thar Desert, through the use of johad, rainwater storage tanks, check dams and other time-tested as well as path-breaking techniques. Starting from a single village in 1985, over the years TBS has helped build over 8,600 johads and other water conservation structures to collect rainwater for the dry seasons, has brought water back to over 1,000 villages and revived five rivers in Rajasthan, Arvari, Ruparel, Sarsa, Bhagani and Jahajwali. Thank you, Water Man for your invaluable services to humankind. We owe you big time.

Speaking of thank yous, if you wish to thank someone, there’s no better place for the perfect thank yous than this part of Engrave.

Girish Bharadwaj – The Bridge Man of India

Bridging the gap

India is a vast country with an even vaster set of problems. The Government of India can only do so much to help. If the people of India don’t pitch in, nothing will be solved. It’s a challenge Girish Bharadwaj took upon himself to meet. Thus was born the Bridge Man of India, the man who builds bridges in places the mighty Government of India cannot reach. The Bridge Man of India does this only because his mission in life is to reach out to people and help them overcome the vagaries and furies of Mother Nature and get them to better places in their lives. He has built over 80 bridges with his self-acquired knowledge and determination. Truly we’d be lost without you, Bridge Man. Here’s to showing the way.

Speaking of showing the way, if you make something inspiring, you’ve got to showcase it on Engrave.

Haji Kaleemullah Khan – The Mango Man of India

Magic with mangoes

In Malihabad’s (near Lucknow, UP, India) mango country, the luscious fruit grows on virtually everything that resembles a tree. In this magical land of fine tastes, 57-year-old Kaleemullah Khan is King. Kaleemullah Khan is a mango-grower. He is also a scientist. He is also horticulturist. To some, he is a kindly sorcerer. To all he is the Mango King. His mind-blowing work defies all explanation.

Haji Kalimullah Khan lives in Malihabad (Lucknow, India) and was recently awarded the Padma Shri for his rare technique of growing more than 300 varieties of mangoes of different shapes, sizes and hues on one tree!

The tree may not be the sum total of his life’s work—there’s more to the short, stocky, bearded man than a ‘freak’ achievement—but it certainly is his chosen mission. “I want to live on through this tree after my death,” he says matter-of-factly. “It’s not a mere tree. It’s a full-blown orchard, a veritable laboratory that can be of immense use to researchers.” Here’s to Haji Kalimullah Khan – The Mango Man of India.

Speaking of the tree of creativity, we’ve got an orchard of pretty creative makers you might want to introduce yourself to.

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.

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