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Environment Heroes and Leaders Stories

Saalumarada Thimmakka

Posted on 20-06-2013

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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-kilometer stretch of highway. She is a native of Hulikal village in the Magaditaluk 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 kilometers. 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 from grazing 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 died in 1990, but Thimmakka continued her life’s work. Thanks to her unusual labour 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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