This month I am impressed with a simple lady called Saalumarada Thimmakka, hailing from Hulikal village from Karnataka District, with no formal education and worked in the field in order to make ends meet for the family. She was married at the age of 20 to a cattle herder by name Bikkalu Chikkaiah. Life after marriage was not easy for Thimmakka, as a daughter in law she was expected to all the household work and also helps her husband. She was barren and did not have any children after marriage; which is a taboo and looked down upon, there is stigma and discrimination for women who do not have children, in some traditions they are not allowed to participate in any of the pre wedding functions, as it is considered a curse.
Thimmakka suffered humiliations for long and when she could not conceive even after 20 years of marriage, she along with her husband moved out of her in laws house and continued to work with her husband in the field; after which they were found digging in the afternoon in order to plant banyan trees, they started treating trees as their little children, and showered all the love and care and began first planting 10 saplings and continued to increase planting saplings, it is said that they used to carry water for 4 kms in order to water the plants.
They also started protecting these trees like their children and put a fence around the trees they planted. She is now proud to have planted 8,000 trees with the support of her husband who stood by her in all the difficult phase of her life, she beams with pride stating that her oldest child, which is the tree is now 65 years old. She is now 106 years old and has made a name for herself making the country (India) proud of her achievement, so much that she has made a place for herself in the BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation).
She has planted 8,000 trees in 80 years which is great achievement, coming from a simple and humble background, she did not allow her challenges to define her; but rather she emerged above her difficulties and found meaning and fulfillment in planting trees. I salute this wonderful and remarkable lady!!
For further reading about Saalumarada Thimmakka:
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