There is a saying that ‘if we find comfort in the shade today it’s because of that anonymous person who planted a tree a long time ago’. A big thanks to Saalumarada Thimmakka who has single-handedly planted over 8,000 trees so far. Never get disappointed when GOD does not give you children, just plant hundreds of trees and save the environment. That is what 105-year-old Thimmakka has done after the doctor said that she would never become a mother.
Hailing from Karnataka, Thimmakka has been making all efforts in order to keep a safe environment for the future generation. She has planted 385 banyan trees and more than 8000 other trees. She has earned herself a spot in the prestigious list of BBCs 100 most influential women.
Born in Gubbi Taluk, Tumukuru in southern India, She began her environmental journey during World War II. She could not receive a proper education because of financial constraints. She started working as a collie at the age of 10 and later on she was married to a poor man in the year 1928.
After 25 years of marriage when the doctor said that she could not conceive a child with her husband, Sri Bikkala Chikkayya, Thimmakka made her own way to bring life into the world. The couple then decided to plant banyan trees in order to fill the emptiness in their life. In 1948, the couple made up their mind to plant trees from their village in Hulikal to Kudoor. She along with her husband commenced a journey to plant trees and ensured that they will take care of them till they bear fruits.
Coming from a poor family, She never complained of being poor. She is the oldest woman who has planted over 8,000 trees in her life. At first, they planted 10 banyan plants and increased the number to 15 in the second year and 20 the year after. The couple not only planted them but prevented them from herbivorous animals by fencing around them with thorny bushes.
The couple had gone through a lot of struggles from watering the plants every morning to protect them from insects. when there was any shortage of water, they used to fetch it from nearby ponds and wells. They had to cover the whole stretch on their feet watering the plant while returning on their way back home. The couple had gone through all the procedures. They always planted the young saplings during the monsoon season so that there would not be any shortage of water for their growth.
“As the trees she planted grew in height, her stature as well as a legend has grown,” Al Jazeera wrote in 2013.
The mother of trees has become a role model for environmentalists across the world. People give her example when it comes to saving the environment. She is a great source of inspiration who showed the world how uneducated women can bring a positive change to the betterment of society. She has achieved the pinnacle of success with sheer passion and tireless hard work. She was honored with the Padma Shri award.