A Day with “The Forest Man of India” Jadav Payeng at Bajali College

28 October 2016
Posted by Upakul Mahanta
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Jadav Molai Payeng, initially a forestry worker from Jorhat, Assam of India turned into an environmental activist, planted and tended trees on a barren sandbar of the river Brahmaputra near Kokilamukh of Jorhat over a span of several decades since 1979 and almost single handedly created a forest reserve sprawling an area of about 1360 acres, which is now known as “Molai Forest” (Molai Kathoni) after him, housing varieties of trees, including vast expenses of bamboo grooves, and an astounding diversity of wildlife—including birds, deer, apes, one horned rhino, elephants and even Bengal tigers.

The Green Warrior “Molai” was honoured by Jawaharlal Nehru University on 22nd April 2012 in 2012 in recognition for his remarkable achievement towards environmental conservation and he was conferred the title “Forest man of India” for the first time. He was also honoured and conferred the “Dharitri Award” for his contributions towards the conservation of environment by former President of India Dr. A. P. J Abdul Kalam in Mumbai in July 2012. In 2015, he was honoured with Padmashree, the fourth highest civilian award in India. He was also honoured by Gauhati University, Guwahati by offering him Honourable Doctorate in 2015.

He was invited to the 7th Global Conference for Sustainable Development at Evian in France on 24th September, 2012. Being the pioneer of a single handedly created forest, “Molai” was frequently invited to attend a number of seminar and conferences both at national & international level to hear his views and ideas on conservation of our ecosystem protecting the biodiversity for sustainable development. Payeng has also been the subject of a number of documentaries in the recent years.

Keeping our commitment towards Environmental Conservation with the motto “Know Green Think Green”, Bajali College organized a one day Workshop on “Environmental Conservation and Green Audit” on 25th October, 2016 and on that auspicious day, Bajali College was blessed to have the footsteps of a man of such a stature. He started his day in our college with a Plantation Drive Programme in the park around the College pond. Then he delivered an inaugural lecture on the Workshop and shared his views and experiences in creating a forest out of nothing with the College fraternity. Before delivering his lecture, he was felicitated with a Citation, a “Cheleng Sadar” and a “Bota”(a memento of bell metal ). After that, he had an Interactive Session with the College students where he was also felicitated by “Jivakul”, an NGO formed by the students of Bajali College.

Payeng, educated upto Class 10, has sacrificed all the worldly pleasures to bring life back to a barren sandbar. The Earth needs more such superheroes who are trying to make the Earth a better place to live for one and all. The words from Jadav Payeng “……No more global warming, if everyone plants forest……. Man is responsible for the well-being of all animals and birds in this world……Every child should plant a tree and take care of it until they leave school…..” would always remain in our hearts inspiring us more towards our commitment to Green Environment.