The story of Jadab Payeng, an Indian man who single handedly planted nearly 1400 acres of forest to save his island, Majuli.
In the far reaching north east of India, lies the island of Majuli, situated in the middle of the Bramaputra River. Majuli is the worlds largest river island, and is home to the Assamese neo-Vaisnvite indigenous culture. Over the last 100 years, Majuli island has experienced severe soil erosion due to flooding caused by global warming, and has lost over 70% of its landmass. Thousands of homes and farms have had to be abandoned. Today, much of the riverbank is nothing but barren sandbars, and the island is at risk of disappearing.
In the 1970's a local man named Jadab Payeng decided to start planting things to combat the erosion of his island. Over the past 34 years, he has planted an astonishing 1400 acres of forest. This is an area almost twice the size of Central Park in New York City. This new forest, dubbed Molai's Woods is now home to many animals including rhinos, tigers, and elephants.
Payeng lives in a small house he built himself, and has a small subsistence farm. He lives simply. He works not for money or fame, but to protect his environment. His achievement has not come easily. He's had to fight against poachers and was seen as an outcast by local villagers.
Despite Payeng's achievements, he has received little attention in India and even less abroad. We hope to change that.
This project will be a documentary short, approximately 20-30 minutes in length, shot on DSLR. We aim to capture Payengs way of life, hear the story of his struggle to create the forest, and see the glorious end result. What kind of person dedicates themselves to such a cause? What motivates him? What are his thoughts about how we treat the environment? These are all questions we hope to answer. After the film is complete, we hope to screen it in as many film festivals as possible, and ideally, on television as well.
Why you should donate:
Your donation will go towards airfare, transportation, equipment, and post production. This project will help Payeng get the recognition he deserves, but more importantly, it will help to raise awareness of this fragile, beautiful, and quickly disappearing region.
You can find out more about Majuli and its issues, see tons of photos, and read important documents our Facebook Group.
Thank-You so much for reading!
Producer, Tom Cotter
Sound Recordist/Composer, Mike Ritchie
He does. Luckily, we have been in touch with someone who works in the area in conservation and who is willing to be our fixer/interpreter. We are working closely with him to coordinate the shoot.