Captain Planet: 104-year-old Thimmakka’s Quest from Karnataka to save Mother Earth

Thimmakka received National Citizens Award in 1996 and Godfrey Philips Award in 2006 and the US's Thimmakka's Resources for Environmental Education has been named after her

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Salamarada Thimmakka. Image source: www.mastersconnection.com
  • Born in Hulikal village in Bangalore’s rural area, she was born to a family of labour workers and worked through her childhood instead of acquiring any education
  • And after failing to conceive for 25 years, the couple gave up the desire of a child and decided to raise trees instead
  • With total 384 trees sown as saplings in over 50 years, the sweet reaping is brought to the entire world as a contribution towards afforestation

Not all heroes wear capes, some just have a handful of hope with them and they start doing their bit to change the world. And Thimmakka was one such woman, who was illiterate yet self-taught; she sustained her living and made the state of Karnataka a greener and better place to live in. This story is of Thimmakka, who has grown 384 trees in Karnataka.

Thimmakka, who turned 104, this year in 2016, led a life of poverty. Born in Hulikal village in Bangalore’s rural area, she was born to a family of labour workers and worked through her childhood instead of acquiring any education. Soon she was married to a cattle rearer, Bekal Chikkayya. They earned a little living by cutting stones and by tilling land. And after failing to conceive for 25 years, the couple gave up the desire of a child and decided to raise trees instead, reported IndiaToday.

Thimmakka with the trees she has planted. Source: alchetron.com
Thimmakka with the trees she has planted.
Source: alchetron.com

Thimmakka, along with her husband began sowing Banyan seeds decades ago. Beginning with only ten saplings in the first year at a stretch of 4 kilometres, they increased the number of seedlings each year. The couple not only planted them but also took pains to watered them regularly and protected them from cattle graze.

Thimmakka with one of her recognitions. Source: Wikipedia
Thimmakka with one of her recognitions. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Thimmakka has been conferred with many awards for her environmentalist social work like the National Citizens Award in 1996 and Godfrey Philips Award in 2006. The United State’s Thimmakka’s Resources for Environmental Education has been named after her. And a film has been made on her too. But it is bothering to know that despite all her effort and contribution, Thimmakka has only received awards and certificates over the years, but no money to enhance her work. She also dreams of establishing a hospital, but she lacks funds.

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After Chikkayya’s demise in 1991, the trees he planted continue to flourish even today. With total 384 trees sown as saplings in over 50 years, the sweet reaping is brought to the entire world as a contribution towards afforestation. These trees have been planted from Kudur to Hulikal. The locals of the village call her ‘Saalumurada’, which in Kannada means ‘row of trees.’

– prepared by Chetna Karnani at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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