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Role model for generations

ISP Chennai Bureau 

She is the recipient of one of the country’s highest civilian honours. She is a 108-year-old and is an inspiration to many to take up farming. Meet Pappammal, the grandma organic farmer from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. She has been practising agriculture for the past around 90 years now. Childhood hardship forced her into early work. She decided to till the land to make ends meet as a child and has been doing it consistently since then and profitably. A grateful nation in 2021 awarded her with Padma Shri on the 72nd Republic Day. 

Pappammal is also known as Rangammal was born to Velammal and Maruthachala Mudaliar in the village of Devarayapuram in the year 1914. She lost her parents at a young age, and she and her two sisters were raised in Thekkampatti near Coimbatore by their paternal grandmother. She inherited a shop from her family which expanded to open an eatery as well for additional earnings. She bought nearly 10 acres of land in the village from the profits she made from these businesses. She also brought up her sister’s children from the earnings from her land. She donated three-fourths of her land holding to these children later. 

An early riser, she starts her day at 5:30 am and goes to her farm where she works till the afternoon. Her family members claim that her food habits are a reason for her good health. She cherishes good mutton biryani and ensures to eat a lot of vegetables and greens in her diet. She does not drink tea or coffee and prefers to have hot water at regular intervals. 

Pappammal has been cultivating varieties of millets, pulses and vegetables for over many decades now and she also calls upon young people to join her in the pursuit to work on farms and innovate newer ways of farm production as a livelihood. She is today known as a 

noted agriculturist for her active and energetic ways of making a profitable living out of her stipulated 2.5-acre field which she purchased in her lifetime from her hard work. 

At the ripe age of 108, even today she travels to her farm in Thekkampatti village on the banks of river Bhavani every morning and she is also a hot favourite speaker for many agriculture-related events in her State of Tamil Nadu.

She is also affiliated with the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University’s Department of Education. The university engages her as an expert to train others. She has won special mentions and felicitations from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin who mention her in their Twitter posts as an inspiring farmer. Modi during a recent visit to South India made a point to visit her and greet the icon personally. 

An active public activist from her early years, she was elected as a ward member and then later as a Panchayat member. She is a fan of M Karunanidhi, former CM of Tamil Nadu and considers him a role model.

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