“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges,” Joseph Fort Newton.
But Girish Bharadwaj, a mechanical engineer from Aramboor in Karnataka, didn’t just build a bridge across a rather powerful river but also gave this village and its villagers a chance to seek better education and even healthcare access.
For years, the villagers languished during the monsoon season when the flow and level of the water in the river increased drastically. Those who were not economically well-off often found themselves stranded on the side because they just could not pay for that boat ride to ferry them across.
While they knew that building a bridge would help them they also knew how expensive an idea this was. The only person whom they felt could pull it off was their local village engineer — Girish. While he was doing all he could to help the farmers, building a bridge, even to him, sounded like a tall order.
He refused when the idea was mooted but none of the villagers gave up on him. The villagers placed immense faith in Girish and that pushed him to gather all his courage and expertise to come up with a plan.
He started his own research and reached out to other engineers as well. Soon he had a design that seemed achievable and all that was left was to ‘get the ball rolling’. In a stellar example of what can be achieved if a community comes together, they managed to build a suspension bridge in 1989 in Aramboor. Thus India’s first 97-meter long hanging bridge was built in just three months with Rs 1 lakh.
That was just the beginning of what this ingenious engineer has achieved. He went on to build 147 more such bridges and is fondly referred to as the ‘Bridgeman in India’.
Watch the amazing video of how the bridge was built right here.