He may not have cut a mammoth hill like Dashrath Manjhi to clear the way for his fellow villagers in Bihar as a tribute to his wife, but this green crusader has helped plant over 30,000 trees in Chitrakoot of Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh.
After his wife died during labour in 2001, Bhaiyalal, 48, was desolate. In 2008, another tragedy struck him when his only son died at the tender age of seven and he lost all interest in life. But then the idea of working for the people occurred to him and he decided to bring barren lands back to life by planting saplings and nurturing trees. Since then, there has been no looking back for this environmental crusader of Bharatpur village in Chitrakoot.
Bhaiyalal, who has been working as a contractual labour with the forest department, took part in a massive plantation drive launched in Bundelkhand in 2008. He specially chose barren lands coming under the forest department in Chitrakoot and helped in planting and nurturing around 30,000 trees.
“I believe that forest should look like a forest and kept on planting trees,” Bhaiyalal told TOI. Not only this, Bhaiyalal single-handedly watched over the 30,000 trees and saved them from the vagaries of nature or being eaten up by animals till they grew.
According to the reports of Forest Survey of India, 2015, there has been an increase of 11 sq km of green cover in this region since the plantation drive was launched in 2008.
Bhaiyalal’s love for trees made him leave his village and he moved into the jungle where the trees were planted and constructed a cottage for himself in the midst of the woods. “I wanted to feel these trees as they give me inspiration to live after I lost my family,” he said philosophically. Today, after almost a decade, Bhaiyalal continues to live with his trees, nurturing them like his own. Bhaiyalal’s work has even earned him a sobriquet of Bundelkhand’s Dashrath Manjhi.