Nestled in Northeast India next to the Brahmaputra River sits Majuli Island, a giant sandbar that happens to be the largest river island on Earth, home to some 150,000 people. It is also the location of the 1,360 acre Molai Forest, one More than 30 years ago, a teenager named Jadav "Molai" Payeng began planting seeds along a barren sandbar near his birthplace in India’s Assam region.
It was 1979 and floods had washed a great number of snakes onto the sandbar. When Payeng — then only 16 — found them, they had all died.
"The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms," Payeng told the Times Of India.
"It was carnage. I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said nothing would grow there. Instead, they asked me to try growing bamboo. It was painful, but I did it. There was nobody to help me," he told the newspaper.
Now that once-barren sandbar is a sprawling 1,360 acre forest, home to several thousands of varieties of trees and an astounding diversity of wildlife — including birds, deer, apes, rhino, elephants and even tigers.
The forest, aptly called the "Molai woods" after its creator’s nickname, was single-handedly planted and cultivated by one man — Payeng, who is now 47.
According to the Asian Age, Payeng has dedicated his life to the upkeep and growth of the forest. Accepting a life of isolation, he started living alone on the sandbar as a teenager — spending his days tending the burgeoning plants.
Today, Payeng still lives in the forest. He shares a small hut with his wife and three children and makes a living selling cow and buffalo milk. According to the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Gunin Saikia, it is perhaps the world’s biggest forest in the middle of a river.
Filmmaker William Douglas McMaster recently wrote and directed this beautiful documentary short titledForest Man from the perspective of Payeng’s friend, photographer Jitu Kalita.
Friends Of Ned Hardy
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
HOLY Crap GREG!
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