This is a true story, dates back to the British rule in India.
The Pamban Bridge is situated in Tamil Nadu, India. At the entrance of the bridge you can see a picture of a weeping man holding some human body parts close to his chest.
This bridge was built during the British rule in India and it was constructed in such a way that the center portion of the bridge could be lifted with the help of huge wheels, so that ships could easily pass under the bridge. On the bridge, roads and rail tracks are laid for trains and other vehicles to pass...
A middle aged man was appointed to roll the wheels up and down when ships arrive. Once he saw a train slowly approaching, while he was pulling back the bridge after a ship quietly passed beneath. He had to pull back quickly or else there would be a fatal accident and thousands would have died. Read more..
Hoax or Fact:
The sad, but thoughtful story in question is dated back to the British rule in India, on the Pamban Bridge situated in Tamil Nadu state. It purports to describe the story behind a statue/picture of a weeping man holding some human body parts close to his chest, which is supposedly placed at the entrance of the Pamban Bridge. Let us analyze whether the said claims are really facts or not.
About the Pamban Bridge
The Pamban Bridge is a 6,776-foot railway bridge built on the Palk Strait that connects the Rameshwaram town on Pamban Island to mainland India. Built during British rule in India and opened for traffic in 1914, the Pamban Bridge was India's first sea bridge, and what makes it special are the two spans in the mid portion of the bridge that open like a pair of scissors for ships and vessels to pass through the channel. When ships have to pass underneath the bridge, workers manually rotate levers (wheels) to open up the two huge spans.
The Story in Question
According to the story in question, which is scattered all around the internet, during the British rule in India, a middle aged man was appointed to roll the wheels of Pamban Bridge up and down when ships arrive. One day, the man saw an unreported train approaching the bridge while he was pulling back the center spans after a ship passed its beneath. So he started moving the wheels vigorously so that the wide open spans will come back in place on bridge quickly and the incoming train shall pass through without any mishap. When the man was struggling with wheels, the story says, his 9 year old son who came with the lunch box, started helping him to roll the wheels, but unfortunately, his son's finger got caught inside the wheel and he started crying out. In spite of seeing his son in pain, the man seems to have carried on rolling the wheels, and gradually, his son's whole body got inside to crush in the wheels. The weeping man supposedly wanted to save thousands of people traveling in the train, even at the cost of his own son's life. Although the story sounds sad and disheartening, it is not a fact.
Facts about the Weeping Man Story
The Pamban Bridge is a huge one, with each of the two 'leaves' weighing around 200 tonnes, and according to dailyexcelsior.com, it requires twelve workers, six on either side, to manually operate its moving sections (levers/wheels). Moreover, there is no such mention of weeping man statue or picture at the entrance of bridge in any official records, and the story as such is not even known to locals. The story mostly appears on internet, with its earliest version that appeared in 2008 as Christian propaganda (christiantoday.co.in). It compares the father's alleged sacrifice of his son to the sacrifice of the Christian God in sending his son Jesus down to Earth. And notably, the story itself was based on an award-winning short film of Jan 2003 called "Most," which is Czech for "The Bridge."
So to conclude, the 'undying' story of weeping man sacrificing his son's life to save thousands of passengers in a train passing through Pamban Bridge in India is certainly disheartening, but it is a hoax.