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Meet Padma Shri Awardee Tulasi Gowda, a Tribal Environmentalist Popular as ‘Encyclopedia of Forest’

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
Tulasi Gowda
Tulsi Gowda receiving Padma Shri Award by President Ram Nath Kovind

Tulsi Gowda, a 72-year-old Karnataka’s tribal environmentalist, received the Padma Shri Award on November 8 for her efforts in environmental protection. Her story as an environmentalist has served as an inspiration to many others throughout the years.

Tulsi Gowda received the Padma Shri award, which is the country's fourth-highest civilian honor. The tribal environmentalist was barefoot and clad in traditional clothing when President Ram Nath Kovind awarded him with the prize.

About Tulasi Gowda:

  • Tulsi Gowda belongs to the Halakki indigenous tribe in Ankola Taluka of Karnataka, is from a poor and disadvantaged family. Despite the fact that Gowda never received any official education during her formative years, she began to broaden her knowledge in the realm of plants and other wildlife.

  • She is called 'Mother of Forest' for growing forest across 4 Talukas and 5 Tiger Reserves over a period of 50 years. She worked as a daily wager in Karnataka Forest Department. When the Forest Department decided to start the afforestation program they couldn't get the trees to grow as they were dying off. More than 90 percent of native Indian trees have regeneration problems despite much research being done on them. Gowda could identify a mother tree of any species anywhere in the forest.

  • Regeneration is best done with the seeds from the mother tree. For instance, she knew the timing of its flowering, germination, and the best time to collect the seeds from the mother tree of a plant. Having such knowledge is really fascinating. Then a forest officer identified Tulsi Gowda's Knowledge can help in the growth of the forest.  

  • She is now popular as the 'Encyclopedia of the Forest,' because she is an expert on the herbs and plant species found all over the world. She can identify more than 300 medicinal plants. The Halakki tribe is known for their knowledge of medicinal plants which they mostly utilize to prevent disease than for cure. These are knowledge and tradition passed down through generations and Tulasi is a holder of it. Apart from this, she has been actively contributing to environmental protection and restoration since she was a teenager, planting hundreds of trees.

  • Tulasi has spent her entire life dedicated to the preservation of nature, having planted over 30,000 trees and participating in different environmental conservation events since the age of 10.

  • She began trying to improve India's forests when she was 12 years old while working at a nursery with her mother. She is still committed to protecting the environment and combating deforestation in the country at the age of 72.

Her Picture Goes Viral on Social Media:

  • On social media, a photo of a Karnataka tribal welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, key ministers, and dignitaries at the occasion went viral.

  • With folded hands, Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah greeted her back. The image was also shared on Instagram by the PM.

  • Many on Twitter captioned it the "Image of the Day".

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Hey! I am Shivam Dwivedi. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

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