The Molai Forest, a 1360 acre forest in Kokilamukh, Jorhat district, Assam, India. The forest was once a washed out piece of land where nothing grew and the lack of a habitat had started effecting the wildlife. That is, until Jadav Molai Payeng, its creator came along.
Like a Godsend, this man worked tirelessly for 30 years to make this happen. The province of Assam was hit by heavy floods when he was 16 and he observed that the local wildlife such as the migratory birds, the snakes and also the wetlands were disappearing afterwards. This alarmed him and he reached out for help.
His elders told him that due to the flood’s destruction, the animals had lost the vegetation they craved. The trees that were a welcoming sight to them had been destroyed. When he asked the forestry department for help, they told him to plant the trees himself and so he did. He went to the banks of the River Brahmaputra every day for over 30 years and kept planting saplings.
For irrigation he put up a bamboo platform and placed some pots with holes in them to water the saplings below. Within the week the water would finish and he would return to refill the pots.
In 1980 he began working with the social forestry department of the Golaghat district on a 200 hectare plantation in the area of Aruna Chapori situated 5 kilometers from his home town.
He participated in the 5 year project and stayed after all the other workers had left to take care of the plants and plant more.
Molai lives in a small hut with his wife and three kids and sells cattle and buffalo milk for his bread and butter. All his friends have gone on to become successful engineers but he chose to stay behind and build a forest.
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