One of the Greatest Achievements of the Human Race – Jadav Payeng

Jayadev Payeng - The forest man

I started this blog a couple of years back with the sole intention of venting out my feelings when I get bogged down. Over a period of time, it has become a positive experience for me and this blog has helped me to get some good friends all around the world. A couple of days back the number of subscribers to my blog crossed the 1000 mark. I never expected that to happen as I am not a regular blogger and I blog only when time permits. Since there are good number of people who regularly read my blog, there is now a responsibility on my part to churn out some good posts for the readers.  I decided on writing something about achievement, and thought of writing about several people like Loa Tzu (Laozi), Rishabhnath and many others who were influential in changing and shaping the world in a positive way unlike Timur, Alexander or a Genghis Khan. However that idea did not impress me as several great authors have done that before, anything I write will be worthless when compared to those works.

Another important reason is we have the habit of recognizing the great deeds of men only after their death, we tend to ignore the contemporaries and celebrate the greats of the past, while it is important to celebrate the great achievements of the past, it is also equally important to recognize and reward the great deeds that are happening in the present. I started shortlisting great achievements of men over the past two decades; as many great men are continuously changing the world. However they do so for their personal benefit; their personal welfare and the motivation to achieve great success and recognition are the driving force of their achievements. However I was stunned when I came across the achievement of this great man. A selfless individual, named Jadav Payeng, popularly called as Mulai has achieved something, which I often dream of and talk about. This man has created a forest covering 550 hectare over sand deposits. He single handedly changed the forest cover of Assam.

It all began with the Brahmaputra floods of 1979. The floods brought a huge number of snakes on the banks and the sandbars near the banks. Jadav Payeng was a 16 year old teenage boy back then, he found those snakes and all of them were dead.

“The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms,” Payeng

“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. There was nobody to help me,” he told in an interview recently.

However now the same area is a dense forest sprawling 1,360 acre. The forest boast of rich flora and fauna; it has some rare trees and many animals like rhino, elephants and tigers. He created this forest out of a barren land with his sheer hard work and focus. He has dedicated 30 years of his life (he still continues) to the upkeep of the forest. He is 47 now and lives in a hut in the midst of forest with his wife Binita and three children. He has a dairy farm next to his hut with cows and buffaloes and sell the milk for a livelihood. He had lost nearly 100 buffaloes and cows to tigers of the forest. Wild elephants have also damaged his house several times. However, Jadav Payeng is not feeling bad for it and says that the people who carry out large scale encroachment and destruction of forests are the root cause of the plight of wild animals, leading to the loss of their habitat and making them to prey on domestic animals.

His forest is aptly called as “Molai Forest” as people address him as Molai. It is now the world’s biggest forest in the middle of a river. He is now getting some awards and recognition, however the need of the hour is to educate youngsters and kids about this man and what he has done for the country and for the world without getting any help from anyone. We all (including me) crib about how the system and society is so bad that we cannot do any good to the world. We complain about the authorities, the politicians, the bureaucracy and everything around for our inability to achieve something worthwhile. We can all take inspiration from what Jadav has done.

In my opinion this is the single biggest achievement of man in the modern world. I remember reading a book (a translated one) written by a French author “The Man Who Planted Trees” during the 1950s. It was a fictional story(however it has stark resemblance to the story of Jadav) and it inspired many people around the world to plant trees. If a fictional story has the ability to change so many minds all around the world, a real happening in front of our eyes can change the world for the good. It is important to take inspiration from this man, but it is more important in spreading the word and making the world know about this man. One drop of inspiration to everyone can change the world.

I get immense pleasure and a sense of achievement when I see the saplings that I planted grow, I wonder how much happiness Jadav would have had over his life. Living happily and making the world a better place to live in.

Is there a better boon for a man? I hope not.

I salute this man for this great achievement. Where books around the world glorifies murders like Alexander who killed millions as Alexander the Great, let us salute the man who truly deserves the title ‘great’.