Jadav Payeng

Jadav Payeng, The Forest Man of India Biography

Jadav Payeng the Padmashri winner who created a man-made forest of about 550 hectares and save many species. Here in this article, we will discuss the biography of Jadav Payeng.

Who is Jadav Payeng & Why he is called as forest Man of India?

Jadav “Molai” Payeng is an environmental activist and forestry worker from Majuli. He was born in 1963 in the indigenous Mising Tribe of Assam. He is popularly known as the Forest Man of India.

Over the course of several decades, he has planted and tended trees on a sandbar of the river Brahmaputra turning it into a reserve forest. The forest called Molai forest after him. It is located near Kokilamukh of Jorhat, Assam, India and encompasses an area of about 550 hectares. In 2015, he was honoured with fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri in India.

Early Life/Career

In his early life, Payeng went through a great drought flood when he was of 16 age in the Majuli river. The world’s largest river island situated in the Brahmaputra river in India. He encountered hundreds of dead snakes lying on the sand due to excessive heat after floods.

In the year 1979 when he was of 16 years old planted around 20 trees and bamboos sapling in the barren sandbar. In the same year, he started working on the forest and join in social forestry.

when Golaghat district launched a scheme of tree plantation on 200 hectares at Aruna Chapori situated at a distance of 5 km from Kokilamukh in Jorhat district.

He actively worked as a worker in that forest for the 5-year term and even after completion of that term he remained there and planted by his own.

He not only looked after the plants but continued to plant more trees on his own, in an effort to transform the area into a forest. With his great effort after 40 years, his plantation covers about 1390 acres which called as Molai forest in his honour.

Jadav Payeng left his education to put his time in making of the forest. The forest, which came to be known as Molai forest, now houses of many species like animals like Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, and over 100 deer and rabbits.

Molai forest is also home to monkeys and several varieties of birds, including a large number of vultures.

There are several thousand trees, including valcol, Arjun, ejar, goldmohur, koroi, moj and himolu. Bamboo covers an area of over 300 hectares.

one of the most common animals found in this forest is the herd of Elephants which come and stays for about six months. They have given birth to 10 calves in the forest in recent years.

Jadav’s life began to change in the early 2007 and 2008 respectively first the photojournalist and second forest department officials when a photojournalist falls down upon Payeng and discovered him seeding his forest and wrote an article about him and in 2008.

when the forest department officials went to the area in search of a herd of 115 elephants that had damaged the property of the village Aruna Chapori and had retreated into the forest, which is about 1.5 km from the forest. The forest officials were surprised to see such a large and dense forest and since then the department has regularly visited the site.

After this many incidents took place with poachers but in time Jadav managed to contact and alert the department officials. Officials promptly seized various articles used by the poachers to trap the animals.

This forest is saved by the Molai and for this, he has been winning many awards for his incredible achievements and giving TED talks.

He has viable ideas to save Majuli Island from erosion by planting coconut trees that grow straight and when planted together in close proximity protect the soil. In turn, this would not only help India’s economy but fight climate change.

Family, Class and Religion

Jadav Payeng born in the Missing Tribe Hindu of Assam in a middle-class family. He has a wife named Binita, a daughter and two sons. He lives in a small hut in the forest with his sweet family.

He has cattle and buffalo on his farm and sells the milk for his livelihood, which is his only source of income.

In an interview from 2012, he revealed that he has lost around 100 of his cows and buffaloes to the tigers in the forest, but blames the people who carry out large scale encroachment and destruction of forests as the root cause of the plight of wild animals.


On 22 April 2012, Jadav Payeng was honoured at a public function arranged by the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University for his achievement. In the presence of Magsaysay Award winner Rajender Singh and JNU vice-chancellor Sudhir Kumar Sopory,

Padma Shri Award Receive from The President Shri Pranab Mukharjee

He shared his experience of creating a forest in an interactive session. Where Sopory named Jadav
Payeng as the “Forest Man of India”.

In the month of October 2013, he was honoured at the Indian Institute Of Forest Management during their annual event Coalescence.

In 2015, he was honoured with Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India.

For his contributions, he received an honorary doctorate degree from Assam Agricultural University and Kaziranga University

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