Saalumarada Thimmakka
Saalumarada Thimmakka

Padma Awards got blessed by ‘Mother of Trees’

The Padma award ceremony 2019 was unique and exceptional in many ways.  This time, the awardees were not from elite groups, but many of them were common people. 

By honouring common people, the country is reclaiming the true spirit of democracy – of the people, for the people and by the people.

One of the commoners among Padma awardees was Saalumarada Thimmakka. 

While receiving the Padma Shri Award, Saalumarada Thimmakka, known as ‘Vriksha Mate’ blessed the Indian President by gently putting her palm on his head.

The moment was so heartening that Rashtrapati Bhawan got echoed with thunderous applause.

The strict protocol even got weakened before this mahanayika when Honourable the President bowed his head to receive the blessing.

This is our great culture, our glorious tradition where a person sitting on the highest position is humble before Mother’s Love!

The life of S. Thimmakka from Karnataka is full of determination and perseverance.  It gives us the motivation to live and move forward even though we don’t get what we want.

Unable to bear a child, she found solace in planting trees with the support of her husband.

The couple worked hard in the fields to plant trees and cared for them. Sometimes, they had to walk for 4 kilometres to bring water for plantation.



106-year-old Thimmakka has been planting since the age of 40 years. She has planted 385 banyan and 8000 other trees.  Her husband passed away in 1991.

She has also got Karnataka Rajyotsava Award from the state government and National Citizen Award from the government of India. 

Her selfless work has inspired several people to take up the initiative to save the environment.

However, this is saddening to hear that she receives only Rs. 500/- for her old age pension.

A great environmentalist should not be treated like this.  The government should take some steps so that she may live a respectful life having no financial crisis.




Sanjeev Kumar

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