Jadav Molai Payeng (1963) was born to Lakhiram and Aphuli Payeng a Mishing tribe in Jorhat. he was 3rd among the 13 siblings. 1965 deluge forced his family to relocate while jadav, 5 yrs old stayed with his Guardian who was a court-master at the District Judge Court in Jorhat, who looked after his schooling.
After grade 10 he was forced to look after the livestock left by his parents.
Majuli or Majoli is a large river island in the Brahmaputra River, which covered an area of about 1250 square kilometres. 1979 floods washed many snakes ashore. A few days later, the snakes died due to the absence of tree cover. The dead snakes offshore shook Jadav mentally who was then 16 years old.
He sought the help of the forest department but it was of no use. So he visited the nearby village for seeking counsel, who advised him to grow trees for saving the reptiles and birds. The villagers gave him 50 seeds and 25 bamboo plants which he planted on the eroded soil though it was a tiresome process. He started living in the sandbar leaving his family, education.
He located a riverine island, on the banks of River Brahmaputra, and began to plant the saplings. Payeng visited the island and planted a few saplings every day for three decades.
Watering the growing area of plants posed a problem. He could not draw water from the river and water all the growing plants, as the area proved to be vast for one man. He built a bamboo platform on the top of each sapling and placed earthen pots with small holes in them. The water would gradually drip on the plants below and water them through the week until the pots were drained of water.
A year later, in 1980, the Assam Forestry Division initiated a plan to reforest two hundred hectares of land in one of the sandbars of the Brahmaputra called as Aruna Chapori distance of 5 km from Kokilamukh in Jorhat district. Jadav enrolled for the job and started planting trees for the project for 5 years.
He chose to stay back after the completion of the project even after other workers left. He looked after the plants and continued to plant more trees on his own, in an effort to transform the area into a forest.
Payeng transplanted ants from his village to his ecosystem to support its natural harmony. After a few years, the sandbar was transformed into a bamboo thicket. after which he decided to grow proper plants which he collected from various places.
The forest that Payeng grew, houses five Royal Bengal tigers, over a hundred deer, wild boar, more than a hundred vultures, several species of birds, including pelicans, three or four greater one-horned rhinoceroses and the snakes, who were at the genesis of this extraordinary story.
Also there are several thousand trees including Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), Pride-of-India (Lagerstroemia speciosa), Royal poinciana (Delonix regia), Red siris (Albizia procera), Kachlora (Archidendron bigeminum), and Indian bombax (Bombax ceiba).
|1||22 April 2012||Forest Man of India||Jawaharlal Nehru University||Delhi|
|2||17 July 2012||Diamond Award||Shanmukanandha Sangeeta Sabha||Mumbai|
|3||24-26 September 2012||Sapling Plantation||Global Conference on Sustainable Development||Paris|
|4||22 November 2012||Wildlife Society of India||Khaziranga|
|5||29 November 2012||Wildlife Service Award||Sancturay Asia||Mumbai|
|6||16 October 2013||Indian Institute of Forest Management||Bhopal|
|7||16 November 2013||RBS award||Royal Bank of Scotland|
|8||April 2014||Documentary||William D McMaster||Canada|
|9||2014||Karmayogi Award||Lions Club|
|10||8 April 2015||Padma Shree Award||Government of India|
|11||30 March 2015||Honorable Doctorate||Guwahati University||Guwahati|
|12||2015||Uday Singh Award||Uday Singh Foundation||Rajastan|
|2015||Certificate of Appreciation||Minister, MoEF & Cc|
|14||13 February 2016||Will of Steel||JSW Steels||Mumbai|
Jadav lives with his wife Binita and 3 children in a small hut. He has cattle and buffalo farm and he makes his living by selling milk which is his only source of income.
When the world wouldn’t hesitate to cut down the trees for luxuries, jadav sacrificed his worldly pleasures for the sake of the ecosystem and environment. jadav will power is amazing and he won the battle single handedly to reap a 55o hectare dense forest.
Jadav Payeng – an inspiration for the idle world, an environmentalist, a planter, a father and a husband – the forest maker of India!!