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Forest Man

The story of Jadav "Molai" Payeng
2013 | 16 min | Recommended min. age: 10 y

Patience and persistence are the greatest virtues that outweigh more merits and brains. Patience steals resolve to stay consistent in hostile circumstances and rig them in your favor, ultimately leading you to success.

Jadav “Molai” Payeng single-handedly transformed the 1,360-acre barren sandbar into a lush green forest with 30 long years of his remarkable persistence and patience. His incredible journey started in 1979 at the age 16 on an eventful day when a fierce flood drowned snakes and left their lifeless bodies on the bank. As the water receded, he witnessed several species of reptile lying dead across the sandbar. The scene was so heart-wrenching that he cried for a long time. He realized that if there had been plenty of trees where the snakes could have taken shelter, they would not have died so brutally. That event was a wake-up call that initiated him to dedicate his life for saving wild life from further gruesome destruction.

At first, he contacted the forest department and requested them to plant trees but he received the discouraging answer, “It’s a sandbar, nothing would grow there” and weary and consoling suggestion to try planting bamboo on his own. As it was a painful and considerably difficult task, nobody agreed to help him. Instead of wasting time on how he could make it possible, he got on with his plan and started planting trees. After 30 years of rigorous and consistent work, Payeng finally saw his creation, a lustrous green forest that embraces him with open arms every time he walks it through. He introduced ants to the increasingly blossoming ecosystem of forest to reinforce and nourish its natural synchronization. Today, it is the home of a variety of reptiles, birds, rhinos, deers, tigers and elephants. It was not until 2008 that forestry officials came to know about his creation of the new forest and recognized his noteworthy dedication.

He surmounted all the discouraging difficulties that consistently occurred from nowhere by the force of patience, determination and moral persuasion. The seeds of hope and compassion he sowed with remarkable passionate endeavor transformed a barren sandbar into a green blooming forest, the shelter of thousands of animals.

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