Manohar Aich, The doyen of Indian Bodybuilding

Manohar Aich, The doyen of Indian Bodybuilding

Manohar Aich, Mr. Universe, 1952
Manohar Aich, Mr. Universe, 1952

Bodybuilding, the sport that is long ignored and misunderstood in India. Manohar Aich, The second Mr. Universe from India who won it in the year 1952 is no more (The first being Monotosh Roy in 1951). He passed away on Jun.05, 2016 at the ripe old age of 104. He had been the inspiration behind number of promising Bodybuilders from India, who have gone ahead and reached great heights in Bodybuilding. Notable among them are PremChand Dogra, Satya Pal and countless others. I am one of the privileged few who met this legend and learnt the intricacies and fine techniques of Bodybuilding.

It was the year 1993-94 when the Senior Nationals was held at Nashik, Ojhar Township. We were at the gateway to Bodybuilding, getting ready for our first District and State Championship and we had this opportunity to look up at our idols. The legend “Manohar Aich” was invited as the Chief Guest to this competition. He was 83 then. Those were the days of Prakash Koyande, 9 times Mr. India, Madhukar Thorat. As youngsters to follow in the footsteps of our beloved idols, we adored these Champions. I remember every moment when Manohar Aich was invited on the stage for the Body show, an exhibition to showcase the wonders of Bodybuilding. All hush fell on the stage. He slowly made his way to the dias and the slow music of George Michael filled the air with the soulful renditions. The song was “Careless Whispers”, one of the greatest hits of George Michael. All eyes were focussed on the stage as the legend “Manohar Aich” unleashed his body, his physique and the beauty of Bodybuilding came alive, when he controlled and moved his muscles to every beat and groove of the equally legendary song.

Manohar Aich, 1993-94
Manohar Aich, 1993-94

Nobody whispered except George Michael and Manohar Aich re-enacted. His mesmerising control of his muscles and the fluid movements held us spellbound. No words were exchanged with anybody until the show culminated in a deafening applause and that is when Nashik and India woke up to BODYBUILDING. Nothing beats Bodybuilding. Nobody beats Manohar Aich. He will stay forever in our minds as the man who inspired INDIA to a glorious run at the Mr. Universe, Mr. Asia and Mr. India competitions. Thank you, Manohar Aich for this wonderful inspiration to countless youngsters in India. You made us proud, you inspired us. His advice to us that day “Bachhe log, Aap ka Shareer aapka Mandir hai. Sambhalke rakhna.”. It translates to “My Children, Your body is your temple. Take care of it.”. Beautiful inspiring words to the youngsters who flocked around him and me being one of them. We went ahead and spend a few months with him at his coaching center, which made us professional fitness freaks of the future. Today, I look forward to a new chapter in my Bodybuilding career after my life-threatening accident in the year 1999 and envisioning a participation in the above 50 Seniors Bodybuilding championship in Kerala.

May his soul rest in peace. We worship legends like him, the legendary Pocket Hercules “Manohar Aich”.

A little poem as a mark of respect to the Indian legend “Manohar Aich”.

Manohar Aich, Front Double Biceps pose
Manohar Aich, Front Double Biceps pose

“Manohar Aich, India’s Legendary Bodybuilder”

When me, in the lanes of the gym
looking forward to a sport, toiling in the gym,
learning from mistakes and pains,
and a long road to gain;

Days and nights, we worked out
To make our physique, and freaked out,
with the weights and repetitions
and getting ready for competitions;

When sometimes, in the dumps we feel
with pains and cramps, after the workout, we feel,
following our idols and role-models
To chisel ourselves into a model;

A day, when soared, my motivation
Looking at a legendary inspiration,
before my eyes, a poetry, unfolding
and mesmerising me and us, as magic unfolding;

Every move, fluid and strong
straight to our senses, it rendered, strong,
with our mind, soul and heart, bowed
to this great legend, we behold;

Manohar Aich, a person, a legend,
counted amongst India’s greatest Legends,
will remain in our hearts, forever
and in his steps, will follow, forever.

May his soul rest in peace.


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