Remembering Manohar Aich, The Pocket Hercules on his birth anniversary


On this day, March 17, 1912, a legend was born in Bengal’s Tipperah district (now part of present-day Comilla, Bangladesh). His name? Manohar Aich—a man who would defy conventions, rewrite history, and inspire generations.

Manohar Aich’s Journey from Humble Beginnings to Bodybuilding Greatness

Manohar Aich’s journey began with humble roots. As a child, he was drawn to strength-related sports like wrestling and weightlifting. But fate had other plans. At the tender age of 12, a sudden attack of black fever left him weak and bedridden. Yet, he refused to surrender. Through sheer determination and physical fitness exercises, he regained his strength.

Aich’s passion for bodybuilding blossomed. He embraced bodyweight exercises—push-ups, squats, pull-ups, and traditional sit-ups—with fervor. His dedication caught the eye of many, including the Ruplal Byayam Samiti in Dhaka, where he honed his skills Soon, he became a showman, performing feats like bending steel with his teeth and resting his belly on swords alongside magician P. C. Sorcar.

Manohar Aich, a man of many trades

In 1942, Aich joined the Royal Air Force (RAF), where he discovered weight training under British officer Reub Martin. Imprisoned for slapping a British officer who supported colonial oppression, Aich turned adversity into opportunity. He spent hours in physical exercises, and the jail authorities even arranged a special diet for him.

At 38, Aich won the Mr. Hercules contest. In 1951, he stood second in the Mr. Universe contest, and in 1952, he clinched the Pro-Short division of the NABBA Mr. Universe. His measurements—biceps, chest, forearm—were awe-inspiring. Standing at just 4 feet 11 inches, he was aptly nicknamed the “Pocket Hercules”.

Manohar Aich’s Legacy and Influence

Aich’s impact extended beyond the gym. He contested elections for the BJP in 1991, finishing third with over 163,000 votes. In 2015, the Government of West Bengal honored him with the Banga Bibhushan Award. His secret to good health? A simple diet and a stress-free life.

In March 2012, Aich celebrated his centenary. His legacy lives on—a beacon for those who believe that age is no barrier to greatness.

Today, as we remember Manohar Aich on his birth anniversary, we celebrate the indomitable spirit of the “Pocket Hercules