Jadav Payeng aka Molai Payeng , born in 1963 in the state of Assam in India. He lives on the island of Majuli, on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, in the far northeast of India , he is an environmental activist and Indian forestry worker from the Mishings tribe.
This Indian is a hero! he acted alone for many years before being recognized.
Since 1979, he has planted with his own hands a forest of 550 hectares on his own , and recreated life on his island. This river island, one of the largest in the world, is threatened with extinction due to erosion and flooding: its area has halved in a century.
This initiative began over 30 years ago, when Jadav Payeng had the shock of his lifewhen he discovered hundreds of thousands ofdead snake bodies lying on the ground: “The snakes had died from the heat, there were no trees to protect them. I sat down and cried over their lifeless bodies. It was carnage. I alerted the Ministry of Forests and asked them if they could plant trees. They replied that nothing would grow here and told me to try planting bamboo. "
These last words did not leave him indifferent. Faced with the inaction of the authorities, Jadav Payeng rolled up his sleeves when most of us would undoubtedly have given up. The young man, then barely 16 years old, has indeed taken on the task that will become the work of a lifetime. In his religion, Hinduism, we give a preponderant place to animals since we believe in reincarnation. When an animal dies, a human soul disappears. An argument strong enough to motivate Jadav.
“Nature has created a food chain: why don't we stick to it? Who will protect these animals if we higher beings start hunting them? "
He began to plant bamboo, one by one. After a few years of working alone, the sandbank has become a small bamboo forest .
Seeing these results, he said to himself: “So I decided to grow real trees. I picked them up and planted them. I also brought red ants from my village: red ants change the properties of the soil. I have been stung several times”.
Today this island has become a real refuge for fauna and flora . Thanks to him, several endangered animals have been able to find refuge. Jadav Payeng to recreate a real ecosystem : other plants began to grow, migratory birds arrived as well as endangered species such as the rhinoceros or the Bengal tiger , elephants, attracted by the game that had come in droves. Today, the forest is over 550 hectares, more than New York's Central Park.
This oasis remained unknown to the authorities for 30 years.The Ministry of Forests only got wind of this place in 2008, when a herd of a hundred elephantsfound refuge there, after having destroyed villages, and even Payeng's hut, in its path.
Local authorities, including Assistant Forest Curator Gunin Saika, were surprised to find such dense forest on this sandbar. The locals whose house had been destroyed by the pachyderms wanted to cut down this wood, but Payeng told them it should be killed first. He treats trees and animals as if they were his children. When they saw this, they decided to contribute to the project. Gunin Saika claims Jadav Payeng is amazing. He's been on this for thirty years. In any other country he would be a hero!
Today, the so-called “Forest Man” has won numerous awards thanks to his initiative. He is now supported by a foundation, Plant for Planet and Peace ,which promotes his initiative. William D. McMaster decided to make a film to pay homage to him "Forest Man".
This incredible story shows that, even alone, by dint of time, will and courage, you can change things and recreate biodiversity around you. An initiative that asks only to be multiplied!