Story of the “Forest Man of India,” Padma Shri Jadav Payeng Included in US School Curriculum

Forest Man of India
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Padma Shri Jadav Payeng from Assam has now become a part of the school syllabus of a leading school in the United States. A chapter dedicated to Payeng has been included in the school curriculum of class VI of Greene Hills School in Bristol Connecticut. The main objective behind including this lesson is to set an example before the future generations of the country about how a single person can make a huge positive impact if he or she has the right attitude and determination towards a given cause. A teacher at Greene Hills School in Bristol Connecticut shared that the students are now studying about Padma Shri Jadav Payeng as a part of their ecology lesson.

“The students are studying about Padma Shri Jadav Payeng as a part of their ecology lesson. The primary reason was to inspire and encourage future generations of the country on how a single person can make a huge positive impact in the world if he or she has the right attitude and determination,” Navami Sharma, a teacher of the school. Sharma also said students in the school also watched two documentaries on Payeng as part of their curriculum. “It was an extremely proud moment for me too as I see Payeng’s contributions being recognised globally,” some other schools in Bristol also taught Payeng’s story, she said.

“His (Payeng) story is so powerful because he was inspired by an ecological problem at a young age and took action to help fix it,” said Dawn Killiany, who also teaches at Green Hills School. “He single-handedly grew an entire forest where many animals have returned to live. Jadav inspires our students to learn about and protect the environment. If every person does a small act, there can be a big impact on the environment.”

Padma Shri Jadav ‘Molai’ Payeng is an environment activist and forest worker from Jorhat, Assam. Over the course of past several years, he planted and tended trees on a sandbar of the river Brahmaputra turning it into a forest reserve. He is also known as the ‘Forest Man of India’.

Although Payeng said that he was unaware of the development, he is happy to know that students in the US will be studying his work. On Saturday, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal including many others congratulated Payeng on twitter, hailing his exemplary and tireless contribution to the green mission.

Earlier, Payeng was featured in viral footage by popular video blogger Nas Daily in social media.
Payeng has dedicated nearly 42 years of his life taking care of the Molai woods – a forested area spread over 550 hectares of land. It is located along a barren sandbar of Majuli, the world’s largest river island in Assam, about 28 kilometers from Jorhat town of Assam.

The inspiring story of ‘Forest man of India’, Jadav Payeng, has reached the shores of the US.
Payeng’s four-decade-long feat of single-handedly raising a 550-acre forest of barren sandbar will now grace the curriculum of sixth grade Bristol Connecticut school students, in what will be the latest laurel for the 57-year-old Assamese farmer. An official in the Board of Secondary Education, Assam told The Sentinel that even though the Board has included chapters on Payeng in the textbooks of ninth and tenth grade classes, the development in the U.S. will enhance students’ interest.

Jadav Payeng was 16 when he witnessed that a large number of snakes had died due to the floods in the northeast Indian state of Assam. That’s when he decided he had to do something about it, not just to protect the snakes but all forest animals, many of whom had lost their lives in the floods.

When he spoke to his village elders, he realised that the decline in forest cover and deforestation were the reason the animals had lost their home. He decided it was up to him to give them back their home, and started his tree planting journey back in 1979 with just 20 bamboo seedlings. Concerned over ecological degradation in Majuli Island (now a district) in eastern Assam, Payeng began planting trees on the barren sandbar, eventually transforming it into a deep forest.
Today, nearly 40 years later, the barren sandbar along the Brahmaputra in eastern Assam has turned into a lush 1,360 acre forest making it a haven for vibrant wildlife and biodiversity, all thanks to one man’s relentless commitment. Elephants, deer, rhinos, tigers and many other animals now live in the jungle.

With this, the story of forest man will now be looked as an inspiration not just in the country but also by the students abroad. The students will learn about the importance of conserving the environment through his story. Jadav Payeng continues to inspire future generations to learn about the environment and work towards this cause.



Written by Arnab Chanda

A 6’, aspiring Advocate, Arnab Chanda, hails from the plains of Assam, currently a 4 th year B.A.
L.L.B student at Sharda University. Being a fanatic Manchester United fan, foodie and a car
enthusiast, his leisure time mostly revolves around trying out new dishes, playing football and
reviewing cars, though he also enjoys to travel and to explore new places. He is a very hard-
working, punctual and sincere person who likes to give his best in everything that he does, but
does not miss a chance to use his humour to light up the mood of his surroundings and to
spread positivity. He’s a momma’s boy who soulfully respects his elders and wants to serve the
society for its welfare.

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