This is the story of Saalumarada Thimmakka, who is called “The Mother of Trees”. Her story is a testimony of how an adversity can be turned into an inspiration in the most difficult situations faced.
Thimmakka was born in Gubbi Taluk, Tumukuru district in Karnataka. She wanted to go to school but due to poverty she remained illiterate. She was married to Bikaalu Chikkaiah of Ramanagara district in Karnataka at a very tender age of 12 years. Even after many years of marriage the couple remained childless. Thimmakka could not bear this grief of being a childless mother. At age 40, she even decided to commit suicide. But the sorrowful couple did not give up. They decided to stand up and fight this phase too.
Thimmakka and her husband started planting saplings on a stretch of 5 kms in their neighboring village of Kudur. In the first year, they planted 10 saplings of the Banyan tree, then 15 in the second year and 20 in the third year. They would carry pails of water to tend these plants. They would nurture them like their own children, protect them from grazing cattle by fencing them with thorny shrubs.
They would plant these saplings during monsoon so that the rainwater would be available for them to grow. During the year, the couple would tend these saplings and by the onset of the next monsoon, the saplings would be firmly rooted in the soil. Gradually, the family of their “Child Trees” grew to 384 trees, the asset value of which is assessed to be 1.5 million rupees. Additionally, they planted 8,000 trees in the surrounding areas.