India's Forest Man

Majuli, in North East India, is the world’s largest river island. Since 1917, it has lost half it’s land to floods and soil erosion. About 150,000 people live in that island and millions live on the banks of the Brahmaputra river along which it resides – subject to heavy destruction (caused by deforestation) during the annual monsoons.

Thirty years ago, a 16 yr old boy from Majuli, decided to save the animals and the snakes washing up dead on the shores of his village by planting trees on a sandbar in the Brahmaputra. His name was Jadav Payeng.

Over the next three decades, he continued his work on his own, slowly sowing the seeds of a (now) dense forest spread over 550 acres. It is home to elephants, rhinos and Bengal tigers. He was recognized for his work by the President of India in 2015 and is expanding his afforestation work on other sandbars. He has been nicknamed as the Forest Man of India by India’s premier educational institute, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

This story profiles the man who dreams of restoring Majuli with it’s forests and its animals and hopes to inspire the rest of humanity to do the same for the planet.

Direction| Story| Cinematography: Jyothy Karat
Program Editor: Ryan Chua
Editing: Sony Sasankan
Sound Recordist: Praveen C M
Fixer: Bijit Dutta