Jadav Molai Payeng who is known as the Forest Man of India is an environmental activist and forest worker from the Majuli district of Assam. He belongs from the indigenous Mising tribe of Assam.
Payeng in his lifetime has planted trees on a sandbar of the river Brahmaputra turning it into a forest reserve. At the age of 16 years he saw some dead snaks in the banks of the river died due to hot weather, then he thought to do something for this voiceless anamils and the forest man began his journey when the social forestry division of Golaghat district launched a scheme of tree plantation on 200 hectares at Aruna Chapori. Now it's a dense forest known as Molai forest after him, and it is located near Kokilamukh of Jorhat, Assam, India.
Jadav Payeng was honoured by the School of Environmenta Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University on 22 April 2012 for his stroke of genius. He shared his experience of creating a forest in an interactive session, where Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh and Jawaharlal Nehru iUniversity's vice-chancellor Sudhir Kumar Sopory were present and Sudhir Kumar Sopory named Payeng as the "Forest Man of India". He was honoured at the Indian Institute of Forest Management during their annual event Coalescence in the year 2013.
And in the year 2015, he was honoured with Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India. He has also received an honorary doctorate from Assam Agricultural University and Kaziranga University for his manoeuvre work in the plantation of thousands of trees in his course of life.
Jadav Payeng on receiving Padma Shri from former President Pranab Mukherjee
Payeng has been in several numbers of documentaries namely in a locally made film documentary, produced by Jitu Kalita in 2012, and the name of the documentary was The Molai Forest, which was screened at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Again in the year 2013 a film documentary on Foresting life, directed by the Indian documentary filmmaker Aarti Shrivastava, which celebrates the life and work of Jadav Payeng in the Molai forest. These are also the focus of William Douglas McMaster's 2013 film documentary Forest Man.
He was also featured in a children's books such as Jadav and the Tree-Place, which was written and illustrated by Vinayak Varma.