Biju Kumar Sarmah, Known as ‘Gospuli,’ Planted and Distributed Over 1 Lakh Trees to Educate and Raise Environmental Awareness

In the heart of Jorhat district, a teacher named Biju Kumar Sarmah has been quietly sowing seeds of environmental awareness for years. Known affectionately as ‘Gospuli’ or Sapling, Sarmah’s dedication to greenery and sustainability has made him a local legend. At Jyoti Protap Gyanmarg Bidyalay, where he teaches, and throughout the community, his commitment to planting and distributing saplings is both a personal mission and a public service.

Sarmah’s journey into environmental activism began long before his formal role as an honorary wildlife warden from 2014 to 2016. Even as a young man, he would travel great distances on his two-wheeler, bags filled with saplings, ready to distribute them to anyone willing to plant and nurture them. His firsthand experiences of environmental degradation in his native Marijhanji village profoundly influenced him. He vividly recalls how a once-thriving fish population in a local river dwindled over time, prompting his realization of the interconnectedness of nature and the critical importance of preserving it.

In 2002, Sarmah joined the NGO ‘New Gram Seva Sangstha,’ traveling across Assam to raise awareness on environmental and health issues. His passion for the cause grew stronger, and in 2014, he returned to his village to care for his ailing father. Faced with a dilemma between his environmental activism and family duty, he sought advice from a trusted bank manager who suggested he continue his efforts locally. This led to the creation of his own NGO, ‘Rengoni, A Hope,’ bringing together a team of like-minded individuals to expand their environmental outreach.

Sarmah’s primary focus has always been on education, particularly among students. He has visited countless schools, colleges, and villages across Jorhat, Majuli, Sivasagar, and Kamrup (Metropolitan) districts, tirelessly spreading the message of environmental protection. His efforts have resulted in the planting of over one lakh trees and the distribution of several lakh more. He often receives saplings for free from the forest department and support from friends and well-wishers.

His tenure as an honorary wildlife warden allowed him to closely collaborate with the forest department, addressing issues like human-elephant conflicts. He attributes such conflicts to human encroachment on wildlife habitats and stresses the need for education to mitigate these problems. Despite his formal role ending, Sarmah continues to work with the forest department, participating in their programs and initiatives.

Sarmah’s approach to environmental education is hands-on and practical. He believes in showing, not just telling. For instance, to teach children the importance of bird conservation, he takes them to areas where birds are abundant, fostering a direct connection with nature. This method has proven effective; he recalls how educating farmers about the benefits of trees led them to stop removing saplings planted near paddy fields.

Beyond environmental benefits, Sarmah also highlights the economic advantages of tree planting. For instance, Agarwood plants have become a source of income for many in Assam. His passion for nature extends into his social interactions; he often gifts saplings at social functions. Recently, he was invited to a college teacher’s wedding, where he brought 100 saplings as a unique and meaningful gift.

Sarmah’s dedication to environmental conservation and education has earned him widespread respect and recognition. His story is a testament to the impact one individual can have on a community and the environment. Through his tireless efforts, Sarmah not only plants trees but also sows the seeds of awareness and responsibility in the minds of future generations, ensuring that his legacy will continue to grow and flourish.

Himanshi
Himanshi

Himanshi is a dedicated content writer. With a keen eye for detail and a flair for storytelling, she strives to bring stories to life through her words.

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