This beautiful picture tells the story of an amazing woman!
There are a few remarkable women in history that we recognise as soon as their first name is spoken. Meet Thimmakka, the environmentalist who began a movement to re-forest her village’s road by planting over 300 Banyan trees and won approximately 50 awards for her role in preserving the environment.
Since her town lacked adequate educational facilities, Thimmakka started working as an unskilled laborer at the age of ten and married into another poor family.
“It was my fate to not have any children. Because of that, we planned to plant trees and raise them and receive blessings. We have treated the trees as our children.”
Thimmakka’s husband was enthusiastic about her intention to plant trees and devotedly assisted her until his death in 1991. She has discovered a new way to bring life into the universe after 25 years of attempting to conceive a child with her partner, Sri Bikkala Chikkaiah. She started planting trees, hundreds of them, in long rows stretching for almost four kilometres.
Despite the laurels, awards, media coverage, organisations honouring her and foundations or groups named after her, she lived in poverty for most of her life. Thimmakka’s fame never translated into a fortune. She lived in a hut till the Karnataka State government built a house for her in 2014.
Thimakka is the story of a woman who had to cope with a culture that devalued women and instigated abuse (not necessarily physical) as a result of their inability to reproduce. Thimakka was fortunate to have a supportive husband who vowed to stand by her side and accompany her on this journey.
She would plant the saplings along the way while Chikkaiah dug the well. Thimakka was left alone after his death, and her life was wretched. Their immediate family harassed her until she sold the small plot of land she and Chikkaiah had cared for until his death.
The 109-year-old woman has gone from being referred to as an “illiterate woman that environmentalists love” in 1999 to a “infertile woman” who was treated by trees in 2016. Since then the husband-wife duo saw the trees as their offspring.
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