The hidden gem of India, a gifted and compassionate environmentalist, Saalumarada Thimmakka did for our environment what others cannot even think of doing in their lifetime. She planted a big number of 384 banyan trees across the stretch of 4 km in Karnataka AND GAVE

Having no formal education, Saalumarada was born in the Hulikal village located in the Magadi Taluk of rural Bengaluru. She married Chikkaiah, a cattle herder at a very early age. Not being able to conceive for a long time, both were ridiculed by the society. But instead of getting depressed they didn’t loose hope.

The couple earned their living by tilling lands and stone cutting.

Saalumarada Thimmakka

Saalumarada Thimmakka

Saalumarada along with her husband decided to give it back to the environment, the source of their livelihood. The couple started to plant Banyan saplings. Having no children of their own, they treated these saplings as their own children. Nurtured them day and night carrying four buckets of water for the trees everyday. Saalumarada and Chikkaiah did what they could with whatever tiny income and resources were available with them.

Today, the 4 km stretch of Banyan trees is commonly called as ‘Saalumarada’ by the locals of Karnataka.

With unfortunate turn of events, Saalumarada lost her husband in 1991. He was not present with her when she received the prestigious National Citizens Award in 1996 and the Godfrey Philips Awards in 2006.

Though after all the recognitions and awards, Saalumarada is living a poverty stricken life but she is still going strong. On being asked how does she feels about the awards and gifts she has been showered with, she politely replies that she doesn’t understand why she doesn’t receive any money which can help in the work she does for the environment.

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