Pappammal from Coimbatore is considered a legend in agriculture. Her day begins at 5 am, where after making a healthy meal with rice and millets such as ragi, she heads out to her 2.5-acre farm to work until dusk.
Recently, Pappammal was among the personalities who were bestowed with the Padma Shri award, the fourth highest civilian award in India, on the occasion of the 72nd Republic Day.
A proponent of organic farming for more than seven decades, 105-year-old Pappammal is still active, tending to her field in Thekkampatti, a village on the banks of river Bhavani. She has been organically cultivating millets, pulses, and vegetables in her 2.5-acre field. She also runs a provision store and eatery nearby.
In addition to being one of the oldest active farmers in the country, she has been actively participating in various agriculture-related events all these years.
“I did everything on my own, with my own will. And today, look at me, I have great grandchildren running around me. My life is very good. In my life, I am the king and the minister,” Pappammal told media representatives.
Born in 1914 in Tamil Nadu’s Devalapuram, Pappammal was brought up by her grandmother after she lost her parents at a young age. She inherited a provisions store from her grandmother and started working on a 10-acre plot she bought when she was in her 30s from the savings she made running the store.
Over time, she sold a major chunk of her land, but retained 2.5 acres for herself to do organic farming.
Today, she has three daughters, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, and lives with five members of her family.
Pappammal believes it's the right time for everyone to get back to farming. "We need more farmers. I hope many more people take up farming after hearing my story and work as hard as me. One should never sit idle," she told the media.
Pappammal had earlier collaborated with the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) for organic farming sessions. She has dabbled in politics as well, with a stint as a councillor of the Thekkampatti panchayat.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)