Greta Thunberg is the darling of Left-Liberals on climate change but our very own Tulasi Gowda, who stands for “real action” was an unsung hero.
The ‘Encyclopedia of forest’ and a ‘vruksha devata’ for her tribe, Tulasi Gowda carries vast knowledge of diverse species of plants and herbs and was conferred the Padma Shri award on Monday for her contribution to the protection of the environment.
The 72-year-old is based in Honnalli village in Ankola taluk of Uttara Kannada district and belongs to the Halakki Vokkalu tribe. She emphasizes the need for protecting the environment to the younger generations by sharing her vast knowledge.
She’s never been to school but knows perfectly how to interpret tamarind, eucalyptus, and dozens of other plants. Over the years, Gowda achieved extraordinary results, also thanks to her deeply-rooted cultural heritage, as in her matriarchal tribe women have been in charge of protecting, looking after, and cultivating the land for hundreds of years.
Now retired, Gowda has lost count of the hundreds of thousands of plants she’s returned to Karnataka Forest in southern India by protecting and reviving native species.
She also won Indira Priyadarshini Vrukshamitra Award in 1986 and Kannada Rajyotsava Award in 1999 and more than a dozen awards and recognition later, the Padma Shri has come as a crowning glory.
And people noticed that she went barefoot to receive Padma Shri to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Tulasi joined the forest department as a temporary volunteer, where she was recognized for her dedication to nature preservation. She was later offered a permanent job in the department.