On March 16, President Ram Nath Kovind bestowed the Padma Shri award to noted environmentalist Saalumarada Thimmakka, also known as ‘Vriksha Mathe (Mother of Trees)’. Upon receiving the award, Thimmakka, the oldest Padma awardee of the year, blessed the President, evoking a round of thunderous applause at the Darbar Hall in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Saalumarada Thimmakka represents the resilience and determination and perseverance of the ordinary Indian citizen, especially of women in our country. May her example, and that of every Padma awardee, inspire our India to greater heights #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) March 16, 2019
The environmentalist is known for planting and tending to 385 banyan trees along a 4-km highway stretch between Hulikal and Kudoor villages in Karnataka.
Thimmakka reportedly wanted to end her life in her 40s as she could not conceive but with the support of her husband, she found solace in planting trees. The couple worked in fields during the day, planted trees and cared for them. From 10 plants in the first year, they kept planting more saplings in the later years. Sometimes even bringing water from over 4 kilometres for their plants. Thimmakka, who was born in Hulikal village in Karnataka, has planted over 8,000 trees during a period of 65 years.