The gift of being a mother has been bestowed upon women by Mother Nature. And if a woman wants children of her own, she has all the rights to do so. But, what happens if one is not able to have kids. Does that mean that, that woman can never feel how it feels to be a mother? Well, when this question was in front of Saalumarada Thimmakka, she chose a unique way to fulfill her motherly instincts.
A farm laborer, who lives in the Hulikal village in Karnataka, Southern India was married to Sri Bikkala Chikkayya and even after 25 years of marriage, the couple could not have children. They found a unique way to have children of their own. They planted hundreds of tress and watered them, nurtured and cared for them just as their “children.”
Thimmakka’s dedication to nurture the trees was truly remarkable. After working on the farms during the day, she used to dig holes, plant the saplings collected from the local area and used to fetch water from the well, which was several kilometers away from the area she chose to plant the saplings. Her husband, who has now passed away helped her by carrying water and also by planting thorny bushes so that their green offspring could be protected from the wild animals. Rainfall in their village was sometimes scarce, so she used to water the trees at least four times a week, while also praying to the God of rain, Indra Dev.
The efforts of the couple bore fruit in the form of a forest having almost 300 trees in an arid region which has a dusty landscape and where rainfall is very scarce. But, they were determined and now they have the forest, which stretches for about four kilometers on both sides of the road from their village of Hulikal till Kudur.
The Environmental Hero
Thimmakka has been hailed as an Environmental Hero and has been conferred with several awards. She even has a foundation in her name and frequently gets invited to tree planting ceremonies all over the country. The woman who had herself never attended school, now has a poem dedicated to her in Indian National curriculum.
Though, there are no official records to confirm this, but Thimmakka says that she is 105 years old and she is very happy with what her life’s outcome has been. The environmentalist told CNN that it was her fate to not have children. She further added, “Because of that, we planned to plant trees and raise them and get blessings. We have treated the trees as our children.”
She says that she feels very happy seeing all her children. She and her husband looked after the trees with love and now she is a proud mother.
Love for environment gave her a Son
A few years ago, a 14-year-old boy was very impressed by her outstanding work and came to introduce himself to her. Sri Umesh was encouraged by her thoughts and ways of life and when they both shared their views on conversation, they felt very attached to each other. Thimmakka adopted the boy and that moment was one of the happiest and luckiest moments of his life. The boy, who is now the President of her organization was passionate about environment since a very young age and was granted permission for the adoption from his biological parents. He agrees that this is a difficult question, but he considers all three of them his parents.
He has since then, followed in her footsteps and apart from being the President of the organization, also runs a nursery which gives plants to farmers and has given around 5 lakh saplings till now. He loves Thimmakka for her conservation efforts and humble ways of living her life and says that he doesn’t want her to be alone.
The pair now urges other people to plant and nurture trees for the future generations. Umesh believes that we all take birth as humans and will die as humans but we need to conserve nature as the world cannot live without the environment.
Thimmakka says that everyone, from children to the elderly, should plant trees as it will be beneficial for all of us. Her contribution truly has been remarkable and has been lauded by the state government of Karnataka by funding initiatives to plant trees.
Thimmakka’s zeal and dedication towards environment really make us feel that indeed she is the Mother of trees.