Tulasi Gowda, also known as the Encyclopedia of Forest is one of the unsung heroes to have received the prestigious Padma Shri on the 71st Republic Day. Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award presented by the Government of India.
Despite a lack of formal education, Tulsi has extensive knowledge about the diverse plant and herb species and their uses. The 72-year-old is based in Honnalli village in Ankola taluk of Uttara Kannada district. She emphasizes on the need for protecting the environment, to the younger generations, by sharing her vast knowledge. As per reports, Gowda has planted over 1,00,000 trees so far and has been working to preserve mother nature for the past six decades. She has committed her life to plant saplings and nurture them as her children, till they grow into huge trees.
Tulasi was actively involved in the afforestation program conducted by the forest department in her neighbourhood and surrounding areas. Recognizing her service, the department regularised her service. She had initially joined the forest department as a temporary volunteer and observing her grit, they offered her a permanent position. After serving for fourteen years, she retired from the service, currently, the pension she receives is the sole source of livelihood.
She emphasizes on the need for protecting the environment, to the younger generations, by sharing her vast knowledge about the flora and the fauna.
Her work has been felicitated previously by various government and non-government organizations working for environmental protection. She is a Rajyotsava awardee from the state.
Love for plants
Tulasi has unparalleled knowledge about the species of sapling that she has planted. She is aware of the benefits associated with each of these plant species and the exact quantity of water necessary for their growth. She has made all efforts possible to raise awareness about the urgent need for forest conservation.
She has made all efforts possible to raise awareness about the urgent need for forest conservation.
Tulasi was born in a poverty-stricken Halakki tribal family. She lost her father when she was merely two. Thus she started working with her mother who was a daily-wage worker. She has seen days of extreme poverty and missed out on getting a formal education. She was married off to Govinde Gowda at a young age. However, he also died soon after. She remains a down to earth and a simple person even after gaining so much popularity and continues to live in a small hut in Karnataka. She is indeed a role model for many.
Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV