By RK Rishikesh Sinha
Few months back, accidently I read about Jadav Payeng. The story of him simply filled me with joy and amazement. The amazing story of the person who single handedly without any outward support created a forest doesn’t require anyone’s introduction, today.
The forest created by him is called today ‘Molai’ forest, named after his pet name. It is situated in Jorhat, Assam, India.
The whole day I spent reading and watching documentaries on Jadav Payeng. It began with a thought that got triggered with Delhi Government decision to follow even-and-odd formula for vehicular movement in the city. My thought on pollution led me to pour again extensively about Jadav Payeng.
Viewers can read about him here (that I found interesting): Jadav Payeng in Wikipedia, The Man who created a forest by Khaleej Times, Jadav Payeng website.
View documentaries and movies on him: Forest Man by William D McMaster
After reading about his achievement from different sources: blogs, news website, movies, documentaries. Something was not settling in me. It was: How to describe Payeng, the person?
In one of his interview, he says, “I don't live in flat, I live in forest. Five of my bench mates in school have become Engineers and one has become Sales Tax Superintendent. They have already made money and living in flats but forest is my flat. I am the happiest person on this earth.”
Here is Payeng who earns his livelihood by selling cow milk and sustaining his family. He lives in a hut near the forest. But he is happy and content leading a pleasant life. Looking around, I don’t find anyone who can remotely say, they are happy or living pleasantly. We have forgotten the ingredient called ‘happiness’ in our life. With all gadgets and comfort around us, the state of happiness is becoming a promise; the promise to be broken.
His achievement cannot be described in words, the more I think, the more meaning it brings forth. It is not merely planting trees for years after years. And one day it becomes a forest. No it is not like that. To grow a forest means to create an ecosystem and for this, inclusiveness is required with every component of flora and fauna. Beginning with trees, to microorganisms, to animals and birds to the creation of a nature’s ecosystem, everything must fall in place. And Jadav Payeng has done this single handedly. He is rightly termed as the ECO-SAVIOUR.
He gives me the impression more of a Karmic Yogi. He has been doing his work joyfully as if dancing through his work. He has always been involved himself in planting trees as if that is his LIFE. The description of him as the “Forest Man of India” doesn’t carry much essence to me but his involvement with his work is more meaningful. The mother Nature is not outward for Payeng. It is inclusive for him. He takes mother nature as an integral part of him. And this, he said in many interviews. In one interview, he said, ‘we are all animals; if there is any difference it is that we wear clothes’. His thoughts absorb me like teachings of a spiritual human being; who is teaching all of us to become ‘human’. As a Karmic Yogi, his activities are more in the process of liberation than entanglement.
Padma Shri Jadav Payeng must be honoured with the highest civilian award of the Republic of India, the Bharat Ratna. That would be my wish.
Google Maps view of Molai Forest.
Google Maps view of Molai Forest.