World Environment Day: Meet the Tree Woman of Karnataka

As we recently celebrated World Environment Day, let us talk about a 107-year-old woman who is known as the Tree Woman of Karnataka.

Oldest living environmentalist of India, Saalumarada Thimmakka is an inspiration for the world. Till date, she has planted 385 banyan trees in her village in Ramnagar district, Karnataka. Thimmakka has won more than 50 awards with a Padma Shri award by our honourable president of India.

A native of Hulikal village, Thimmakka dedicated 66 years of her life to Mother Nature and her story is an inspiration for all of us.

Unable to give birth to a child, Thimmakka decided to plant trees in her village and raise the saplings as her own blood. She kept planting Banyan trees. She and her husband planted around 385 banyan trees between Hulikal and Kudur in Magadi Taluk of Ramanagara district at her own expense

In the year 1991, she met with a tragedy when her soulmate and husband left her for heavenly abode. Losing her husband didn’t stop her from her job and she continued planting more and more banyan trees across her district.

Thimakka’s contribution towards saving our environment is incomparable to any other achievement and she received a Padma Shri award also. In reality, mere publicity and recognition is a very small token of appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to serve humankind. Same goes for Thimmakka also.

Despite being a Padma Shri awardee, Thimmakka is still waiting for assistance and support from the government. Karnataka government has allotted a petty sum of Rs 500 monthly as a pension to her.  Seeing this as a disgrace Thimmakka refused to take the pension from the government and demanding a decent pension for her living from the government.

He adopted son Umesh who lives with Thimmakka is very happy with the recognition but demands a decent sum for his mother’s contribution. Thimmakka and her family’s livelihood is managed by the cash awards they have received from the private organizations as felicitation for her.

Her matter has been taken to the Chief Minister of Karnataka and so far the government has announced a piece of land and a cash reward.

In the honour of her work, GT Devegowda, minister of the Mysuru district last year inaugurated a park which has been named after Saalumarada Thimmakka. Thimmakka has carved her name in one of the most influential and inspiring women of the world.

What Thimmakka has done for the environment is beyond words and imagination. Since the past 67 years, she has been celebrating every day as World Environment Day. Thimmaka’s story proves that you can be a mother even after not giving birth to a child. You are a mother if you have raised a sapling into a full grown tree.

Thimmakka has done her bit to save nature. Now it’s our turn to bring back the greenery we have destroyed due to our needs. 

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