Jadav Peyang from Jorhat district in Assam was given the title of “The Forest Man” in Delhi by government of Indian on World Earth Day in 2010 for turning a barren land of 550 acres into a forest all by himself. It took him nearly 30 years to accomplish the task. It is officially called as Molai Forest. The locals call it “Molai” as a tribute to Jadav who used to be a fair child with pink cheeks, thus resembling a Mola(raddish in local language). At the age of 16, Jadav Payeng had experienced that a large number of snakes died due to excessive heat after floods washed them onto the sandbar. He then planted around 20 bamboo seedlings on the sandbar of the Brahmaputra river.
He started working in the forest from 1979 when the Social Forestry division of Assam’s Golaghat district had launched a scheme of tree plantation on 200 hectares of land at Aruna Chapori, situated about five kilometres from Kokilamukh in Jorhat district. He was one of the labourers of the project which was completed after five years.
Jadav has a simple solution to the global problem of depleting forest cover: teach our children to love Nature. “The rest will happen on its own,” he feels. According to wildlife experts, the forest atrracts around world’s 80% migratory birds.Jadav’s story also inspired a children’s book, Jadav and the Tree Place, that tells his story of how he made a forest that is now home to wild animals. He has been the subject of award-winning documentaries and now people travel across the globe to see the Molai forest. His inspirational story is also being taught in ecology classes at schools across the United States.