Mother of 384 children !!
Well the woman that I am talking about is Salumardda Thimakka from Karnataka who is 103 year old & has grown 384 Banyan trees !
She is not an environmentalist neither an activist. She never received any formal education & worked as a labourer to earn for her family.
Just like many women in India, she was married off at a very young age. Both husband & wife worked as labourers but were unable to conceive even after 25 years of their marriage. But unlike many educated couples in our country, they never lost the hope of being parents & one day this hope of theirs encouraged them to plant trees & raise them as their children instead.
Banyan trees were aplenty in their village, so they started grafting sapling from these trees. In the first year, they parented 10 saplings along a distance of 4km in a neighbouring village.
In the second year they parented 15 saplings & in the third year 20 saplings. They used their own affordable resources for parenting these trees which was not an easy thing to do !! Both Thimakka & her husband used to carry 4 pails of water for a distance of 4kms to water their plant children.
Thimakka’s husband Chikkayya passed away in 1991 due to poverty & poor health. In his memories Thimakka continued growing plants & today she is a mother of 384 plants.
She was relatively unknown, until she received the National Citizen Award in 1996. A film was made on her life. She has received numerous awards & certificates but she is still forced to live in poverty due to absence of monetary help & funds.
When I compare the Rich Educated Couples running after fertility centres, trying IVF & other modes of conception when they are not able to conceive, with Thimakka, I feel ashamed!!
Clearly Education is not Everything !!
Wish we had more mothers like Thimakka !!