This is how an illiterate Halakki Tulasi Gowda set her on a journey to Padma Shri


Tulasi Gowda is an illiterate Halakki Tribal woman who recently achieved the fourth highest civilian honor Padmashri for possessing endless knowledge of plants and herbs. People fondly call her ‘Encyclopedia of Forest’ due to her vast knowledge of diverse species of plants & herbs.


Tulasi Gowda hails from Honnalli village in Ankola taluk of Uttara Kannada district. This 72-year-old is determined to nurture plant saplings like her children, till they grow into trees. She has nurtured more than 40,000 trees so far. Tulasi has been doing this for the past six decades. The local residents revealed that she was actively involved in the afforestation program conducted by the forest department.

Tulasi was born in a poor Halakki tribal family. When her father passed away, she was just two years old. She could not get any formal education. Her mother was a daily wage worker. At a very young age, Tulasi married Govinde Gowda. But he also died in a few years. Fighting with all odds in life, Tulasi has devoted her life to environmental causes.

Even at the age of 72, she continues to nurture plants and share her knowledge with the new generation and has been inspiring others with her work towards environmental protection. She also joined the Forest Department as a temporary volunteer. The government recognized her dedication towards nature,m and offered her a permanent job as a Member. The trees she planted in Ankola, Yellapur, and Sirsi taluks have become huge trees now. After serving the forest department for almost 14 years, she retired from service and has been earning a livelihood with her pension.


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