Have you ever thought of turning the desert into a big forest? You might think it is a lost cause. Well, this man has proven us wrong. Jadav Payeng, a milk seller, dared to turn Majuli, the world’s largest river island that has always been a dry, and almost barren land lost in Northern India into a whole forest all by himself.
In this article, we are glad to share his accomplishments, so prepare to get to know the story of the man who turned a desert into a giant forest in forty years.
At the age of 16, Jadav Payeng witnessed a sad scene: There were numerous dead snakes that spread along the edges of Majuli Island, an island on the Brahmaputra River. The floods had dragged the creatures to the island where they died due to the heat and lack of shade.
Jadav was deeply moved by the incident and decided to do something for those poor creatures. So he made a resolution: To commit his life to revive the sandy island by planting a tree every day. At first, it started as a promise in 1979, and then a dream came true as the Mulay Forest 40 years later. The land seems to be bigger than Central Park and more than 12 times the size of Vatican City.
The forest has helped to preserve the local ecosystem and native wildlife. Now, it is a shelter to Bengal tigers, deer, rhinos, vultures, elephants, and of course, snakes.
Thanks to Jadav, the afforestation quest has also made Majuli safer due to the trees anchoring the island to the mainland and protecting the area.
The achievement of Jadav and his gift to nature would still be a secret if it wasn’t discovered by an Indian photojournalist Jitu Kalita who found the unknown forest while on a trip to photograph birds in 2007, when he made a documentary about Jadav’s life and his achievements in Forest Man.
The happy news is that Jadav’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed and his work has even been recognized by the former President of India who gave him the title: “Forest Man of India.”