Forest Man of India

"The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms. It was carnage. I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said nothing would grow there. Instead, they asked me to try growing bamboo. It was painful, but I did it. Nature has made a food chain; why can't we stick to it? Who would protect these animals if we, as superior beings, start hunting them?" - Jadav Molai Payeng

Years ago, a young boy began to plant small seeds along the barren land of North India's Assam region. Thirty years later, Payeng has single handedly created a 1,360 acre forest that is now called Molai Reserve after his nickname. Dedicating himself to creating a lush forest for the wildlife, he has re-boosted the eco-system, providing a safe haven for elephants, birds, rhinos, tigers and deer.

Molai, his wife Binita and their three children live in a small hut in the forest. They sell milk from their cattle and buffalo for their income but he spends most of his time in the forest with his two sons and daughter. On 22nd April 2012, Jadav Molai Payeng was named 'Forest Man of India' at a public event organised by the School of Environment Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

This man is truly great and deserves to be honoured. He is a true soul and I have great admiration for him. He shows us the power of one and what we can achieve as individuals.

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