The list of the recipients of Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour, was recently released. The list includes 106-year-old Saalumarada Thimmakka, who was awarded the prestigious trophy for planting thousands of trees in Karnataka. With it, she also earned the nickname of Vriksha Mathe (mother of trees) and collected the award along with other personalities at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday. Her story is nothing short of inspiration and she deserves all the honour.
Born in Hulikal village in Karnataka, Thimmakka has planted over 8,000 trees in the span of 65 years. She wanted to commit suicide in her 40s, as she could not conceive. However, with the support of her husband, she later found solace in planting trees. She has given 66 years of her life to planting trees and has planted around 385 banyan trees between Hulikal and Kudur in Magadi Taluk of Ramnagar district at her own expenditure and then took care of them as her own children.
Thimmakka worked as a casual labourer and received no education. Today, she is invited to many afforestation programs in the country and has also been involved in other social activity like constructing a tank to store rainwater for the annual fair held in her village.
The award ceremony was handed over to Thimmakka by President Ram Nath Kovind. While presenting the award, the President asked her to face the camera but she put her palm over his head as a gesture of blessing. She received a round of applause from the audience at the hall and later posed for the camera.