Meet illiterate Bhaiya Ram Yadav, who alone created a forest by planting 40,000 trees

Bhaiya Ram Yadav took a vow in the year 2007 that he would only live for the sake of trees. Today, after more than 11 years, he has planted 40,000 trees that is why he is also known as the father of 40,000 sons.

He was from a poor family so he has been deprived of basic education. People may call him an illiterate man but he has done such a great job which earns him huge respect. He has become a real hero for millions of people. In the year 2007, he started his journey by planting only 40 trees in the first phase. Since then he never looked back and kept on planting more and more trees. Today, after 11 years those 40 trees have converted into 40,000 trees. This has been made possible just because of his endless efforts. He also said, “If I get some official support and regular water supply, I would like to increase the number of trees to 40 lakh. These are my life, and till my death, I want to take care of them.” This is indeed a great achievement for him.

It is said that Around 33% or one-third of the land should be under the forest cover because forests help in the conservation of the natural environment. In today’s time when there is a huge shortage of trees in the country, this Bhaiya Ram Yadav has created a history by planting 40,000 trees on his own.

What made him decide to plant 40,000 trees?

After the demise of his wife and children, he began a tree plantation drive on the fallow land near his village of Bharatpur, Chitrakoot district, Uttar Pradesh. However, he had gone through many problems. He had no official support and there was also no water source, so he used to bring water from a nearby village in two boxes of 20 kilos each, with a rope slung from his shoulders. But he never gave up and after spending 11 years of his life, he has brought this forest to scale.

It was a tragedy that led to this life-changing decision. He says, “Earlier, I did not have a purpose. I got married, and as was expected, had three children. But in 2007, my wife and three children passed away due to illness and I was all alone. I decided that I would live only for the sake of others and not for myself.”

These trees have been planted in a 50-acre land. He takes care of these trees as they are his own children without any wages. Now it has become his habit to care for these trees. He built a hut inside the forest to keep an eye on trees day and night. He has dedicated his life to this forest. However, he hardly takes out time to meet the villagers.

He also grows grains and vegetables on a small piece of land to survive as he has no other source of income.

He said, “It was my father’s wish that I plant five Mahua trees before I died. He taught me to plant and nurture trees, although he could not afford to send me to school. I wanted to follow his advice but could not use my land for this because I feared any descendants might chop off the trees.”

As far as tree plantation is concerned, he says, “Lagane wale bohot hai, bachane wale nahi. (There are many who plant, none to conserve).”

He concludes, “Right now, the responsibility is mine, and after my death, others may come and care for them or even cut them, who knows? But as long as I am alive, nobody can.”

He has become a source of inspiration for all of us. People who attempt to cut trees should at least learn the value of trees. Everyone should plant at least one tree in a year so that drought problems can come to an end. His message through his hard work is to make people aware of the value of trees.

Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.