In each of our lives, women have played the role of guardians in more ways than we can count. Their love and care just doesn’t extend to people around them. Some have walked the extra mile to protect the environment for a cleaner air we breathe, for a richer flora and fauna we can enjoy and for a better balance in the forces of nature, on our behalf. Today, being just another day to celebrate women, let’s talk about three eco-guardians and their achievements.
We’ve all heard and read about the legendary Chipko movement in our school textbooks. Chipko, which literally translates to ‘hug’, had witnessed villagers flock in numbers and hug the trees in order to save them from being chopped. One woman instrumental in leading this movement was Gauri Devi. She along with 27 other women guarded the trees in Reni village until the lumbermen gave up. This movement soon took off and was practiced all around Uttarakhand, in order to put an end to tree felling.
Bestowed with the National Citizen’s Award of India, Saalumarada Thimmakka is widely known for her contribution in planting and tending to 385 banyan trees along a four-kilometre stretch of the highway between Hulikal and Kudur. Hailing from Karnataka, she received no formal education and worked as a casual labourer. An inspiration to many, she has used her personal resources to achieve this commendable feat.
A one-of-a-kind environmentalist, Sugathakumari expresses her concerns using poetry as a medium. As an environmentalist, she started gaining recognition after she led the Save Silent Valley movement to protect some of the oldest forests in the country from industrialisation. She also founded the NGO Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi.