17 March 2019
New Delhi: Breaking the strict protocol of Rashtrapati Bhavan, 107-year-old Saalumarada Thimmakka, who was awarded Padma Shri on Saturday for planting thousands of trees in Karnataka, blessed the President of India Ram Nath Kovind and the entire room was filled with tears of happiness.
Thimmakka ,'Vriksha Mathe (mother of trees)' is known for planting over 8,000 trees including over 400 banyan trees during a period of 65 years. She was honoured with a Padma Shri award along with other personalities at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday.
Dressed in a light green sari, Thimmakka touched the President’s forehead to bless him when the latter asked her to face the camera. All eyes in the room glistened as the centenarian showed her motherly instinct to the President who is 33 years younger to her.
The President tweeted, “At the Padma awards ceremony, it is the President’s privilege to honour India’s best and most deserving. But today I was deeply touched when Saalumarada Thimmakka, an environmentalist from Karnataka, and at 107 the oldest Padma awardee this year, thought it fit to bless me.”
Reportedly, Thimmakka wanted to commit suicide in her 40s as she could not conceive. However, her husband supported her and the couple found solace in planting trees. He passed away in 1991 but she continued the legacy that both of them had started together.
“Saalumarada Thimmakka represents the resilience and determination and perseverance of the ordinary Indian citizen, especially of women in our country. May her example, and that of every Padma awardee, inspire our India to greater heights,” the President wrote.