Seasonal environmentalists and placard holding girls seem to flow into our Facebook and other Social media feeds every other day. Apart from some fancy tag lines and a dash of glamour, there doesn’t seem to be any testimony to their contribution to environment. The hypocritical conduct of these people shows how their preaching is selective and when it comes to practice, they are far from it.

Contrast this with lesser known women, with no placards or fancy tag lines and whose names rarely find a mention, however these are the women who toil under the sun to bring real time environmental change and impact. Fortunately, they have been rewarded in the recent years, but the names are easily forgotten for lack of mention in ordinary discourse.

Pappammal Rangammal

105-year-old Pappammal Rangammal from Coimbatore is an organic farmer. She is from a family of farmers, had no formal education, owns a 2.5-acre farm in her village. Over the years, she has worked closely with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. She would travel alone to their many farmers’ meets and implement all that she learned. She has been actively participating in various agriculture-related events since many years.

She has been conferred the Padma Shri award in 2021 for popularizing organic farming.

Pic Source: Google

Tulsi Gowda 

Tulsi Gowda is an environmentalist from Honnali village in Karnataka. She has planted more than 30,000 saplings and looks after the nurseries of the Forest Department.  Though she had had no formal education but she has contributed immensely in preservation of the environment. At the age of 72, she is more energetic than any self-proclaimed activists and has nurtured over 40, 000 trees over the years.

Tulasi Gowda is known as the forest encyclopedia due to her knowledge in plants and herbs. She has in-depth knowledge of the species of each sapling along with the benefits of each of those plant and knowledge about how to grow them. She was also actively involved in the afforestation program conducted by the forest department in her neighborhood and surrounding areas.

She was honoured with Padma Shri in 2020in recognition of her work.

Pic Source: Google

Trinity Saioo

Awarded with the Padmashree in 2020 for her contribution to developing women led and owned organic farming in Meghalaya, Trinity Saioo has trained more than 800 women in her village to grow organic turmeric. Trinity who is trained as a school teacher found it natural in educating the women of her village.  It is important to note the efforts that must have gone into training uneducated women of the village to develop this into a sustainable business. How the women have come together in this small village to create employment for themselves through organic farming is a story to tell. Their management skills are one to look forward to.

The Lakadong turmeric that Trinity and her group grow is indigenous to Jaintia hills in Meghalaya and is said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Pic Source: Google

Kamala Pujhari

Kamala Pujari  from Odisha is known for promoting organic farming. Interested in traditional farming, she learned the basic techniques from MS Swaminathan Research Foundation at Jeypore and has contributed in the field of organic farming.

She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2019 for her work in preserving hundreds of indigenous paddies, preserving endangered seeds and promoting organic farming. Her efforts were successful and farmers in Patraput village and neighboring villages gave up chemical fertilizers.

Pic Source: Google

Jamuna Tudu

Jamuna Tudu is an environmentalist from Jharkhand. She along with other women from her village prevented the illegal felling of trees in their village and is fighting the timber mafia.  The members of her team would go to the forests armed with sticks, spades, bows and arrows to scare away the intruders over the months and that’s how her team built credibility.

Forming the Van Raksha Samiti in 1998, Jamuna has over 20 years grouped over 300 women vigilantes, to track the timber mafia in shifts and stop them. Van Raksha Samiti members not only tie rakhis on trees but also take up the bow-and-arrow and file police cases against whose who fell trees illegally.

Jamuna is nicknamed Lady Tarzan for her courage and ferocity and was awarded the Padma Shri in 2019.

Saalumarada Thimmakka

Saalumarada Thimmakka is an environmentalist from Karnataka who is known for her work in planting and tending to 385 banyan trees along a four-kilometre stretch of highway between Hulikal and Kudur. She has also planted nearly 8000 other trees. She never received any formal education and worked as a casual labourer in a nearby quarry. Thimmakka participates in many afforestation programs  and has also been involved in other social activity like constructing a tank to store rainwater for the annual fair held in her village. Her work was recognized by the Government of India and she was conferred with Padma Shri in 2019.

Pic Source: Google
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