Jadav “Molai” Payeng is one of the biggest unsung heroes of our time. An environmental activist and forestry worker from Jorhat, Assam, India, Mr. Payeng has single-handedly created a forest that encompasses an area of about 1,360 acres — larger than New York’s Central Park.
Mr. Payeng has planted the trees on a sandbar of the river Brahmaputra, which also happens to be the largest river island on our planet and a home to about 150,000 people. The island is now a forest reserve. The forest itself is called Molai, after its creator.
The incredible story began in 1979 when the then-15-year-old Mr. Payeng came across a large number of reptiles which had died after floods had washed them onto the denuded sandbar.
He started planting his forest in 1980 when the social forestry division of the Golaghat district launched a scheme of tree plantation on 200 hectares in the Jorhat district.
When forest department officials went to the area of Mr. Payeng’s forest in 2008 in search of a herd of 115 elephants, they were surprised to discover such a large and dense forest and since then the department has regularly visited the site.
Filmmaker William Douglas McMaster┬áhas produce this short documentary, titled┬áForest Man, to give us the the perspective of one of Mr. Payeng’s friends — photographer Jitu Kalita. The project has been funded in part last year through Kickstarter. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Jadav Payeng — the Forest Man.
2. Mr. Payeng plants in his forest.
3. Sunset on Majuli Island.
4. Mr. Payeng has planted a forest that encompasses an area of about 1,360 acres — larger than New York’s Central Park.
5. Mr. Payeng started planting his forest in 1980.
6. The forest is located on the largest river island on our planet and a home to about 150,000 people.
7. Mr. Payeng is seen inspecting his forest.
8. Today, much of the riverbank is nothing but barren sandbars, and the island is at risk of disappearing.
And here is the video:
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