Patna, April 19: Left to battle abject poverty despite promises, Basanti Devi, the daughter-in-law of Bihar’s “mountain man” Dasrath Manjhi who single-handedly cut through a hill to make a road, died Saturday due to lack of medical care, an official said.
Nearly two months after Bollywood actor Aamir Khan promised to help Basanti during his visit to Gahlaur village in Gaya district in connection with his TV show “Satyamev Jayate”, she died due to lack of proper medical treatment.
“Basanti died as she was not provided proper medical care. She was suffering from a heart-related ailment for some time,” a local district official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
She is survived by her husband Bhagirath Manjhi.
Her death sent shockwaves through the village as it happened despite assurances of help from Aamir.
“Moved by the real story of Bhagirath and Basanti living a life full of misery, Aamir told them he would help but nothing happened. Basanti finally lost her battle for life,” said villager Suresh Prasad.
Both Bhagirath and Basanti used to work in the village primary school as cooks for preparing the mid-day meal for children. Both of them were paid Rs.1,000 a month.
Working day and night, Dasrath Manjhi had single-handedly carved out a 360 feet long, 30 feet high and 30 feet wide passage through a hill near Gahlaur with a hammer and chisel. He died in 2007 after battling cancer.
The hill was between Attari and Wazirgunj blocks in Gaya district. Manjhi began his uphill task when his wife was injured and he had to take a detour around the mountains to reach the nearest hospital.