Forest man of India: An extraordinary Assamese with high vision

Sivasagar, Prangan Duarah: A significant number of people on this earth is aware of the fact that 16% of Earth’s species at risk of extinction due to climate change and global warming. But hardly there are a few people who really broader about this extinction. The earth has lost more than half of her natural forest areas through deforestation which is a major cause of global warming as well as for extinction of species. But in this era of industrialization an extraordinary man from Jorhat, Assam is busy in making homes for several varieties of Birds over 100 deer, rabbits, one-horned rhino, bangle tiger, snakes, elephants etc. He converts an area of 1360 acres that had been washed away by the flood to a beautiful forest. The name of this extraordinary man with an amazing and extraordinary vision is Jadav Molai Payeng. At the age of 16, the incidents that disturbed him most were the gradually decreasing number of migratory bird to his place and disappearing of snakes in the wetland near his home. And these incidents give him courage which helps him to convert a wasteland to a beautiful forest without any support or subsidies, without fear or favor and without Forest Department or foreign hand.

Photo: The forest man of India
He proves the quote “Big things have small beginnings”. He planted around 20 bamboo seedlings on the sandbar after observing extinction incident. And today he claims, the island is covered by about 1,360 acres of dense forest. He started his passion as a career in 1979 on the forest when a scheme of tree plantation on 200 hectares at Aruna Chapori situated at a distance of 5 km from Kokilamukh in Jorhat district is launched by the social forestry division of Golaghat district. Molai was one of the laborers who worked on that project which was completed after five years. He chose to stay back after the completion of the project even after other workers left. He put his full effort to transform the area into a forest. To achieve his vision he worked very hard. He not only continued to plant more trees and looked after the plants, but also, he took several steps like transporting red ants from his village to his forest to change its soil’s property.

The government of Assam noticed his amazing work in 2008 when a herd of some 115 wild elephants strayed into it after a marauding spree in villages nearby. His efforts in energy conservation have been widely appreciated by the Assam government, academicians, and former president of India and eminent scientist, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. On 22 April 2012, he was honored at a public function arranged by the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University for his remarkable achievement. In 2015, he was awarded the one of the second highest civilian awards of India, Padma Shri. Today the world knows him as “the forest man of India”. He is the pride of Assam and nation. Through his extraordinary and unique approach to saving the environment, he made our country and state proud.