Manohar Aich

Manohar Aich, was better known in his native India by his nickname, “Pocket Hercules.” At 4 feet 11 inches, Aich was an unlikely bodybuilder, but as his incredible life story attests, he was a man who could seemingly overcome any obstacle.

In undivided Bengal, he began to show off his body at village fairs. He reportedly would bend iron bars with his teeth and neck and balance the sharp edge of a sword on his belly.At some point, he caught the eye of the British, who still ruled India, and was hired as a physical trainer for the Royal Indian Air Force.

In 1942, the “Quit India” movement had gathered considerable momentum. He protested against the British oppression at the camp while serving for the Royal Indian Air Force. It is believed that he even slapped a British officer, who made an offensive remark against the Indians during the interrogation. He was imprisoned for this act of his but later it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he had no restrictions on training by himself. Then, he was shifted to the Alipore Presidency Jail but release followed as India won her freedom. He died of natural causes at age 104 at his home in Kolkata, 64 years after he was crowned Mr. Universe.

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