Also known as the “Forest man of India”, Jadav Molai Payeng started following his intuition at the early age of 16, when he saw large number of snakes were dying because of less vegetation in his area. It was then he planted some bamboo saplings in a hope to bring some change, now after 30 years the place has converted into a thick dense forest with the tireless effort of Jadav Payeng. This forest has been named after him as Molai Forest (Molai is a nick name of Jadav Payeng), by Assam government as an honour for his invaluable selfless service to nature and the nation.
This forest have trees like Gulmohur, Arjun, Teak and other valuable and invaluable trees which is now home for Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, over 100 deer and rabbits besides apes and several varieties of birds, including a large number of vultures. There are also several thousand other trees. Especially bamboo trees covers an area of over 300 hectares. A herd of around 100 elephants regularly visits the forest every year and generally stays for around six months.
How it all began?
In year 1979 when flood striked his state, he a large number of snakes starving to death, animals migrating to other places and lesser number of birds in his area. All it was the result of deforestation. At the tender age of 16 Jadav Payeng showed a very mature understanding and decided to bring back the greenry in his area, where he lived.
One Sapling a Day
Payeng started with growing bamboo trees which he got from the elders of his village. He planted 20 bamboo trees first and then again continued to plant more and more sapling daily.
Payeng says, the major problem for him in the beginning was to water the plants as it was not easy to bring water from the river. Sooner he also found a solution for it by making a bamboo frame in which he tied a earthen pot with small hole at the bottom of the pot. This pot provided the plant necessary water and moisture at least for one week.
Jadav Payeng belongs to the Mishing tribe of Assam, and lives in his own forest with his wife and 3 children, who helps him in his work. He own cows and buffaloes and sell their milk to the villages, which is his only source of income.
Jadav has been awarded by Padma Shri in year 2013, the fourth highest civilian award in India.
“The education system should be like this, every kid should be asked to plant two trees,” Payeng says.
Today Jadav Payeng is known all over the world as a Forest Man of India. Lot of documentary films have been made on the life of this man, which has gained much popularity world wide.
Someone has truly said that “If you will you can do it.”