They say, ‘one man can make all the difference’, and Padma Shri Daripalli Ramaiah is a living example of that. This 83-year-old man is on a mission to make this planet a greener place, and he has a simple strategy — plant more trees. Even after planting over 1 crore trees, he is not thinking about stopping anytime soon. By Kumar Shree
We are living in a time where despite having all the awareness about the planet’s depleting green cover and its ill effects, people rarely choose to get on the ground and make an effort to change it. Daripalli Ramaiah, on the other hand, preferred to play the part. Daripalli, who is also known as Chetta Ramaiah, started planting trees many moons ago. In fact, he started all this so long ago that even he doesn’t remember it. His incredible work in the field has earned him the sobriquet of Vanajeevi Daripalli Ramaiah, which means, the one with the forests.
Ramaiah’s connection with nature is steeped in his childhood memories. As per his Wikipedia profile, he vaguely remembers the imagery of his mother collecting and preserving vegetable seeds for the next planting season.
Ramaiah was born in Reddypally village in Telangana’s Khammam district in 1937. Despite having studied only till 10th standard, he understands the significance of Earth’s green cover and has been doing his best to preserve and protect it. He has even sold his three acres of land to purchase more saplings and seeds for his mission.
He always carries saplings and seeds with him on his bicycle. He scatters the seeds around places with no visible trees and hopes to reinstate greenery once again in that area. His wife Janamma and school kids often help him in his endeavour.
Those who understand the nuances of gardening and farming are aware that not every type of plant can thrive in every condition. Daripalli also takes care of that aspect. He reads up multiple books to understand the best growing conditions for each type of seeds, and he follows the information to the T.
Janamma, in one of the old interviews, had shared that people would make fun of Daripalli and his initiative at one point in time. Despite all of that, he never differed from his goal.
Daripalli Ramaiah and his noble cause made headlines in 2017 when he received India’s third-highest civilian award Padma Shri, by former President Pranab Mukherjee. However, his story needs to be retold and revisited now more than ever.