India’s First Mr Universe And Body Builder Dies At 104

Manohar Aich became the first Indian to win the Mr Universe title in 1952. He died on Sunday at Kolkata.

Manohar Aich is survived by his two sons and two daughters.

“He was on a liquid diet for the last 10-15 days. He succumbed to age-related complications.” – Manoj, Aich’s son.

Aich, who turned 104 on March 17 was a renowned body builder. He is noted to have said,

“Our body is a temple that we must worship. Exercise is the only way to stay healthy.”

Unfortunately the religious trainer suffered stroke 5 years ago and his health condition stopped him from going to the gym for his fitness routines. The media also recorded his joy as he flaunted his muscles for a picture.

Manohar Aich

Narrating his story during his 100th birthday, Manohar Aich recalled his journey which has memories in the military prison. The legendary body builder recalled his encounter with the law in his younger days.

“It was 1942 and the Quit India movement had gathered considerable momentum. I had been working as a physical instructor in the Royal Indian Air Force, when I protested against the British oppression at the camp. I slapped a British officer, who made an offensive remark against the Indians during the interrogation.”

The slap earned him a court martial and a place in jail. Luckily the jailer was kind enough to let him train. He was later transferred to another prison but was soon released as India won her independence in 1947.

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As he left the prison he settled in Kolkata and worked as a coconut vendor. In 1951, Manohar Aich organised private body building shows to enable him raise money for the Mr Universe contest in England. He ended up as a runner up for that year.

Manohar Aich

“I had a failed attempt in 1951 but decided to stay back in London, for I was determined to win it next term.”

And his determination paid off. He got a job as a rail worker in England. And in 1952, he contested again and become Mr Universe. The first Indian ever to win the title.

1952 was indeed a significant year because late Indian Jyoti Basu also made his first appearance in the West Bengal Assembly. Manohar Aich contested again in 1955 and 1960 with the 3rd and 4th positions respectively. Aich also contested in his 80’s.

Manohar Aich subsequently won other Asian Body Building Championships. His late wife has been noted to be an immense contributor to his successes. Later on he also had a fairly good experience in Indian politics.

Proving him to be a good teacher, his students include such personalities as Satya Paul, an 8-time national body building champion and Premchand Dogra, former Mr Universe.

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“He (Aich) was an inspiration to everyone, young and old. Death is inevitable but Manohar Aich will be remembered by all, across every sporting discipline.” – Chuni Goswami, Indian Veteran footballer.

Manohar Aich is a notable Indian inspiration who never drank alcohol or smoked, which is perhaps why he lived long and in great shape too. May he rest in peace.

Manohar Aich