Jadav ‘Molai’ Payeng (55), a native of the Mishing tribe of Jorhat district in Assam, is not an ordinary man. After the destruction caused by the 1979 floods near his birthplace in Assam, Jadav single-handedly transformed an entire patch of barren land into a thick forest.
It all started when Jadav, after completing his Class 10 exams from Baligaon Jagannath Baruah Arya Vidyalaya in Jorhat, returned to Aruna Sapori, a river island on the Brahmaputra. He was shocked to see over a hundred snakes being twisted lifelessly on the deserted sandbar.
I asked my elders what would they do if all of us die one day, like these snakes. They just laughed and smirked, but I knew I had to make the planet greener, he said, according to The Better India.
The floods had denuded the island and the young lad, when he was barely 16-years-old in April 1979, decided to create a new life on the tough terrain covered with sand and silt. Jadav turned to the villagers, who advised him to grow trees and offered 50 seeds and 25 bamboo plants. He sowed the seeds and shoots and now, 36-years later, he has reaped a forest.
The Molai forest, named after him, is located near Kokilamukh in Jorhat, and encompasses an area of about 1,360 acres. But creating it wasn’t easy. Jadav watered the plants morning and evening, and even collected red ants from his village and transported them to the sandbar all by himself. In the end, nature reciprocated and soon there was a variety of flora and fauna, including endangered animals like the one-horned Rhino and the Royal Bengal Tiger in the forest.
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I never thought my one initiative will make such a big difference one day, he said to the Weekend leader.