December 14, 2006

Inspiration for the day

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Devakiamma and Prof.D.Thankamani,  Kollakal, Puthiyavila near Kayamkulam, Alappuzha

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Sweet, indeed, are the uses of adversity, provided one knows how to make use of them.  Thus in the life of Devakiamma, an occasion came 25 years ago, when she was confined to her home in Kollakal at Puthiyavila near Kayamkulam following a car accident.  She decided to devote her time to growing trees in her 4˝-acres land, though the sandy soils of the area held out no promises on that score.

Yet a quarter century later, the land is a statement on the sands of time that 300 varieties of trees and plants can and are growing there. Traditionally significant trees like Teak and Mahagony medicinal plants like ‘Cheroola’, ‘Satavari’,  tea and coffee as well as apple and orange find representation in this grove.

Without any help from anyone, including the Forest Department, the home-grown forest has been thriving.  And without any chemical fertilizer, they have been flourishing on dead leaves, cowdung and cow urine.  Those approaching this place for medicinal plants etc do not usually have to go back empty-handed.

If Devakiamma has chosen her own land as the field of activity, her daughter Prof.D.Thankamani has chosen the campus of her institution, College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram for her tree-loving activity.  Armed with a doctorate in Envirionmental Engineering, she started her service by planting saplings brought from home in the college campus.  Today there are 113 varieties of trees and the college has a plant nursery of its own.

An inventory of trees and birds in the campus, name boards with botanical names on all trees, a route map and book on the same etc have been brought out by the Nature Club of the college.  Under her leadership, the institution has won many laurels in the field of environmental conservation.

For some reason, Governemnt of India's Vrikshamitra awards for the years 2002 and 2003 were given away at the same function at New Delhi.  And Devakiamma and Thankamani were the recipients.

Courtesy: P.P.Sreejith, Mathrubhumi, November 26, 2006
Contributed by: Administrator


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