Saalumarada Thimmakka: A living monument
Saalumarada Thimmakka is an Indian environmentalist from the state of Karnataka. She has got her name in the history books by planting 284 banyan trees along a four-kilometre stretch of highway.
She is a native of Hulikal village in the Magadi taluk of Bangalore Rural district in Karnataka.
As there were lot of Ficus(banyan) trees near Thimmakka’s village, Thimmakka with the help of her husband began grafting saplings from these trees.
They started with 10 saplings in the first year along a distance of 20 kilometres. In the subsequent year they went on increasing the number of saplings.
Thimmakka had meagre resources but that was never an issue. She and her husband used to carry pots of water for watering the saplings. She protected the saplings fro gazing cattle by fencing them with thorny shrubs.
The saplings were planted mostly during monsoon season so that sufficient rain water would be available for them to grow. The saplings grew to become trees, the trees grew tall, and the couple rejoiced in their children.
Chikkanna(Thimmakka’s husband) died in 1990, but Thimmakka continued her life’s work.
Thanks to her unusual labor of love, this illiterate woman is the idol of every environmentalist. Her work has been honored with the National Citizen’s Award of India.
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