During the day, Mihir Ali was a day laborer in Dalagram; at night, he and his friends, in cahoots with a local timber merchant, cut down trees illegally. Today, he is still a day laborer, but at night he goes out to protect the forest.
“I am Mihir Ali, a local day laborer like my father here in Dalagram. When I was young, I used to go into the Singra Sal Forest regularly with my father and chop down sal trees to sell to the timber traders. It was an easy way to earn money, especially when there were no laboring jobs available. As I got older, illegal logging was my main source of income. When RDRS came, I didn’t believe anything they said, and my friends and I tried to stop them talking. But slowly I came to understand what they were saying, about how it is our home and our souls that we are destroying. So now I’m a volunteer with the patrol group. I’ve also been able to start farming again, as RDRS gave me a loan of 50,000 Tk and I then earned 120,000 Tk from my first cucumber harvest. Now my children can go to school without shame.’’