For forty years, Jadav Payeng, a forest worker and environmental activist from an island called Majuli in the Brahmaputra river, has been diligently growing a 500 acre forest on his own. He is proudly referred to as the Forest man of India. In recent developments, his story will be part of the curriculum of education for students. Sixth graders of the Bristol Connecticut School will now learn about his journey thus far. Jadav Payeng’s name will now not only be one that is known in India but that which is known in other countries as well.
In this century, when the Earth is being depleted of its resources by man’s careless nature, educating the present generations of ways to conserve and protect and in turn teaching them the value of living a healthy life has become rather important. It is integral that the coming generations are taught lessons to conserve not just for their own survival but for the betterment of the generations to come. When one thinks in that aspect, that is when the lessons of people like Jadav Payeng comes to be of utmost importance.
Payeng has been honoured by the Indian government with a Padma Shri. As his methodology will now become a part of the ecology lessons, teachers in Greene Hills School of Bristol Connecticut will explain to the students of his endeavours.
The faculty of the school opines that encouraging students to believe that a single person can make a change that can not only benefit himself but can lead to an improvement in the society as a whole is the motive behind including the same in the curriculum. Students of this generation need to understand that if one is determined, change can be achieved even if it means that they have to single handedly do all the work.
Padma Shri Jadav Payeng says that it was the degradation of the environment in his island (now part of in Eastern Assam) that led him to decide to plant as many trees as he can on a sandbank that was then barren. Soon enough, owing to his hard work, what was once a barren land turned into a lush green forest. Now that barren land is home to elephants, tigers and rhinoceroses among many other animals.
Payeng, who never imagined in even his wildest dreams that his story would be something that children would learn in their textbooks, and said that it brings him joy in knowing that students would learn about the environment from his work.
In a time when the curriculum of education is crammed with age-old formulae or unimportant information that would not aid one’s life, students learning about conservation using the journey of such an inspirational person is an encouraging change.