An Indian man who started planting trees in a barren, sand-filled field 15 years ago is now being praised for transforming the wasteland into a 10,000-tree orchard.

Satyendra Gautam Manjhi, a simple man from the small village of Imaliyachak, in the Indian state of Bihar, claims he was inspired to start planting trees after being visited by Dashrath Manjhi, known as “the man who moved a mountain“. The story of how he spent over 20 years chiseling away at a mountain to make a road to his village has inspired a generation, including the protagonist of this story. Satyendrav says that Dashrath himself told him to start planting an orchard, and that’s exactly what he did.

“Dashrath Manjhi told me to plant an orchard in this area,” the Bihar man said. At that time this place was barren and deserted and there was only sand everywhere. It was a lot of trouble in the beginning. Water had to be brought from the house in a pot for the plants.”

To make matters worse, wild animals constantly destroyed the trees he planted, but he didn’t give up. Satyendra went into the forest and brought thorny bushes that he used to make hedge fencing to keep the animals at bay. It was hard work, but that hedge is still protecting his orchard, after 15 years.

“When Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar came to know about my contribution to environmental protection, I was made a member of the Child Protection Commission,” Satyendra Gautam Manjhi told ANI News Agency.

Today, Satyendra’s guava orchard numbers over 10,000 trees. It has brought the tenacious man not only the respect and gratitude of his villagers and state officials, but also monetary gains, as he has started selling the guava he harvests for a nice profit. His dream is to become an inspiration, just like Dashrath Manjhi was to him.

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