Another Laurel for India's 'Forest Man' as US Schools Add Jadav Payeng's Green Mission in Curriculum

Tulika Devi
·2 min read

“Here we don’t follow any textbook. The schools are operated by the district administration and educationists prepare the curriculum for particular classes. Jadav Payeng's life lessons are included in one of such curriculum," Navami Sarma, an Assamese working as a teacher in Green Hills School, told News18.

Recently, students in the US school were taught a lesson about an Indian, whose contribution towards environment preservation was widely featured in the national and international media. He is Padmasri awardee, Jadav Payeng, hailed as the "Forest Man of India" for converting thousand acres of barren sand bar into a forest and biodiversity hotspot in Assam.

An Assamese and a Connecticut resident, Sarma said, “Students of four sections in class six Science stream studied about Payeng. I felt so proud, the students were so enthusiastic after knowing his incredible work. They also took part in the Q&A session later. They were astonished to know how a single person can create a huge forest on his own.”

The students of Green Hills School in Bristol were far too excited to learn about India's ‘Forest man’. Payeng’s work was incorporated in the class six curriculum as part of their Ecology and Environmental Science. Documentaries demonstrating his course of life were shown to the students.

“Here, educationists prepare curriculum for particular classes of School under the districts. Payeng’s life journey was incorporated in one of such curriculum,” Sarma said.

Meanwhile, Payeng told News18 that he only vaguely came to know about the curriculum through news reports. “I didn’t know about this earlier. I came to know from media reports only. Nobody said anything and I don’t have any formal intimation," he said.

On Saturday, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal congratulated Payeng on twitter, hailing his exemplary and tireless contribution to the green mission.

Last time, 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.

He has been planting saplings since 1979, transforming the wasteland into a heavily wooded landscape -- large enough to see the return of wildlife in the area. In 2015, he was honoured with Padmasri, the fourth highest civilian award in India.

He was born in the indigenous Mising Tribe of Assam.

(With inputs from Gautam Borah)