From reading this story, you can not help but think of the old English proverb “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”. The elderly gentleman, Jadav Payeng, may have not heard this old saying, but despite that, he achieved this.
Remarkably, for the last 30 years, this man had only one goal: to grow trees on a sandy stretch of land.
Some may think his project was incongruous and unreal to a certain extent, but still Payeng did not think so… and it’s very difficult to prove him wrong today.
Payeng states this project was very important for him and his family and a sense of necessity drove them to embark on this challenge. Without his persistant efforts, the island of Majuli in India, would be just a expanse of desert.
It all started back in 1979, at aged 16 he was shocked to encounter thousands of dead snakes lying on the ground near his home. They had died because of the heat, it was then that he decided to start his lifelong mission of planting trees.
This, imagined Payeng, would benefit not just himself and the people in his village, but also all the wildlife in the area. There were many species of plant and animals that, if nothing was done, were doomed to disappear.
The Ministry of Forests was not very helpful, but he continued on his mission to plant more and more trees, year after year. And bamboo after bamboo, a sandy desert became a forest.
Thus, at an age when others are chasing after girls, Jadav Payeng discovered his ecological fiber. With this first success, this young man went further and now he plants other types of big trees.
He also introduced red ants so that they would change the properties of the soil, thus making it more fertile. And over the years, the island of Majuli has become a haven for wildlife.
Gradually, migratory birds started arriving and engendered species such as the rhinoceros and the Bengal tiger made this forest their home. Recreating a true ecosystem, Jadav Payeng has revived the whole island. Without his efforts the heat would have claimed the land turning it into a dessert.
For many years, his work remained unknown to all. It was not until 2008 that the Ministry of Forests heard of this feat. The minister has visited the forest to see the damage caused by a herd of a hundred elephants, that rampaged through the forest created by Jadav. They had even destroyed the home of Jadav.
This man, who treats trees and animals as his own family, is humble to the core. Now he gets support from by the Ministry of Forestry, which has made him even more committed. His love and passion for nature grows day by day. He is free from the concerns of the modern world.