Here’s Why Barefoot ‘Encyclopedia of Forests’ Tulsi Gowda has been awarded the Padma Shri

A 72-year-old tribal woman from Karnataka named Tulsi Gowda, an environmentalist, was honored with the Padma Shri award on Monday. Barefoot and dressed in traditional attire during a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, Gowda received India’s fourth highest civilian award from President Ram Nath Kovind.

The Gowdas belong to the Halakki indigenous tribe in Karnataka. She grew up in a poor and deprived family and was devoid of formal education. However, with her vast knowledge of plants, herbs and trees, she is touted as the ‘Encyclopedia of the Forest’ in 2021.

Growing up in a forest area, Gowda was interested in learning about trees and plants since childhood. She planted and nurtured thousands of trees. And also joined the Forest Department as a temporary volunteer. Here, Gowda’s pursuit of dedication, knowledge and patronage was acknowledged. She was later offered a permanent job in the department.

Today, even at the age of 72, Gowda continues to nurture plants and share her vast knowledge with the younger generation to promote the importance of environmental protection.

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