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105-Year-Old Woman From Karnataka Who Planted More Than 8000 Trees Is In BBC’s Most Influential Women List

Image Courtesy: wikimedia thimmakkafoundationSaalumarada Thimmakka

Saalumarada Thimmakka, an environmentalist from Karnataka, has been listed in BBC’s most influential & inspirational 100 women. She is the oldest person in the list for planting more than 8000 trees in 80 years.

She lives an ordinary life, but she is no ordinary woman. In her own village she has got the honour of being named ‘Saalumarada’ for the work she has been doing for eight decades. The word ‘Saalumarada’ means ‘row of trees’ in the Kannada language. She planted and nurtured 384 banyan trees lined in a five-km stretch some 80km from Bangalore.

Early Life
Thimmakka was born in Hulikal village and just like any other woman of her village she too worked as a labourer and did not get any formal education. She was married off to a cattle herder named Bekal Chikkayya but the couple could not conceive even after 25 years of their marriage. Instead of cursing their fate, the couple tried to fill the void by planting and tending banyan trees as their own children. Every day they used to carry buckets of water and would travel four kilometers to water the banyan saplings. She, unfortunately, lost her husband in 1991, but the tragedy could not deviate her from the selfless work. Lately, she adopted a son named Umesh to fight with loneliness.

#WTFnews" data-image-description="<h1></h1> <p>SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT</p> <div><a title="Comment" href=""> </a></div> <div id="topShare"> <div id="addsharetop"> <div><a title="View more services" href="" target="_blank">1</a></div> </div> <div></div> </div> <div> <div id="hcenter"><img title="" alt="" src="" width="538" height="504" /></div> </div> <div></div> <div></div> <div id="article-block"> <div></div> <div> <h2>The areas include reserved and protected forest land</h2> </div> <p>Around 2,04,442.16 acres of forest land in the State has been encroached upon, said Minister for Forests B. Ramanath Rai.</p> <p>Replying to Janata Dal (Secular) member K.M. Shivalinge Gowda during Question Hour in the Assembly, the Minister said these encroachments, involving 1,10,626 cases, includes the reserved and protected forest lands. The extent of forest encroachments had been sourced from the report of a committee of experts.</p> <p>The statistics furnished by the Minister regarding the circle and division-wise break-up of encroachments show that Shimoga circle accounts for highest encroachment of 81,501 acres, followed by Chikmagalur (30,641 acres) and Canara (28,345 acres). Bangalore forest circle, which comprises the districts of Bangalore Urban, Rural, Kolar, Chickballapur and Ramanagaram, accounts for encroachments of 15,046 acres. Within Shimoga circle, Sagar accounts for highest encroachments of 44,300 acres. Similarly, Koppa in Chikmagalur circle has encroachments on forest land of 22,640 acres.</p> <p>Mr. Rai said the State has 29,688.37 sq km of reserved forests, 3,50.07 sq km of protected forests and 10,024.91 acres of unclassified forest land.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Read more here –</p> <div id="articleKeywords"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-40093" src="" sizes="(max-width: 1280px) 100vw, 1280px" srcset="// 1280w, // 300w, // 768w, // 1024w, // 370w, // 750w, // 375w, // 293w" alt="saalumarada_thimmakkaj" width="1280" height="852" />

Awards and Work
Saalumarada Thimmakka and her great afforestation project remained unknown until she received the National Citizens Award in 1996. For her achievements, she was conferred with many prestigious awards, such as Nadoja Award, Karnataka Kalpavalli Award, Godfrey Phillip Award and Vishwathama Award. Thimmakka’s Resources for Environmental Education, an environmental organization based in the U.S is named after her. Thimmakka has also played an important role in constructing a water tank to store rainwater in her village. She also dreams of constructing a hospital.

Immature attitude of the society towards her selfless efforts
Though her house is flooded with the certificates, cups and garlands but Saalumarada Thimmakka still lives in poverty. She says people and organizations honour her with various awards but no one gives her money.


The Logical Indian community congratulates Saalumarada for achieving this feat and salutes the selfless efforts made by Saalumarada Thimmakka. We hope her efforts inspire many make our environment better for us and for the future generations.

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Comment (1)


    The BBC honouring an ordinary old woman for her selfless service in planting trees is commendable. She deserves the honour for her service to environmental protection.

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