An unbelievable story of an vanavasi( tribal ) from Assam, the echo of whose work travelled thousands of kilometers from the waters of Brahmaputra to the President at Rastrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
It has been believed that our holy river Brahmaputra has invoked harm and misery for the north east of India. The reason being, the river Brahmaputra by the time it reaches Assam, carries long distance sand, soil, mountain rocks, huge debris along its course. As a result, the course widens till the time it reaches the banks of Assam, badly affecting the villages lining the banks. Every monsoon the flood waters, would wash away the plantations, trees and villages, altogether leaving the banks as a barren land.
In the year 1979, the young Jadhav Payeng after his 10th class exams, came back to his village and was strolling on the swiped out banks of the river Brahmaputra. He was taken aback to see more than 100 dead snakes lying on the banks.
Moving ahead, he realized that the entire bank seems to have been converted into a crematorium of dead reptiles and animals. He felt very sad and was deeply moved by this sight. This left him sleepless for several nights. His village elders told him that due to the decline in forest cover and deforestation, animals lost their homes. Young Payeng was absolutely convinced by their talks.
The very next day, the 16-year-old Jadhav, himself decided to plant few trees, and planted 50 seeds and 25 bamboo saplings. More than 35 years later, today the then washed away barren land host 1360 acres of lush green forest without any government aid or support.
The forest is now home to 5 Bengal tigers, more than 100 deers, wild boars, around 150 wild elephants, rhinoceros and many more wild animals. To widen the forest area, young Jadhav would travel early morning, 5 kms on a bicycle, crossing the river. He would plant more tree and saplings on the other side of the river and come back in the evening. Continue reading