Laungi Bhuyian, who is profoundly known as 'canal man' of Bihar, had never even dreamt of owning a tractor, but thanks to businessman Anand Mahindra who recognized his self-less service to the society.
Bhuyian spent 30 years carving out a three-kilometer-long canal to take rainwater coming down from nearby hills to parched fields of his village Kothilawa in Lahthua area of Gaya district.
Kothilwa, the village of Bhuyian, is surrounded by dense forest and mountains, about 80 km away from Gaya district headquarters. This village is marked as a refuge for Maoists.
Responding to a Twitter user yesterday, Anand Mahindra announced that he would provide a tractor to the man, who has been touted as 'second Dashrath Majhi', the subject of hit Bollywood film 'Manjhi: The Mountain Man'. Within hours, the local dealer in Lahthua area of Gaya called Bhuyian and handed him over a brand new Mahindra tractor.
The 'canal man' of Bihar
"I am very happy. I never dreamt of getting a tractor in my whole life," a beaming Bhuyian said, thanking Mahindra for the kindness.
Bhuiyan, a Dalit, would often go to the nearby forest to tend goats and it was during one of his visits to the jungle that he noticed rainwater coming down from the hills in streams and going to waste. Determined to solve the problem of irrigation in his village, the man decided to bring this water to his village. He shared the idea with locals in hope of help but instead of helping, people laughed at him called him mad.
Not just the villagers, when his wife came to know about his plans, she first tried to persuade him stop the 'madness'. Undeterred, the man would go the jungle in the name of tending goats and dig the canal. Concerned about his health, his wife once refused to give him food to make him give up his plan, Bhuyian says, chuckling.
Not just the canal, he also dug a pond in his village to store the water brought by the canal.
30 years after, now a famed man, Bhuyian says he never thought of getting this kind of fame and recognition. "All I thought was that I would collect some food grains from the villagers once his plan is successful," he says.
"No one joined me in this endeavor...Villagers are going to cities to earn a livelihood but I decided to stay back," he says.