Chami Devi Murmu- “Lady Tarzan of Jharkhand”
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Chami Devi Murmu is known as the Lady Tarzan of Jharkhand because she is determined to protect the forests and wildlife and enhance the livelihood of locals.

A native of the Barisai village of Jharkhand, Chami Devi Murmu is an asset to the world of sustainable development. Today, everyone is driven by material gains and they are fighting for their place in the world of consumerism, but not Chami Devi Murmu, who understands the importance of nature and fights for its survival.

In Jharkhand, indiscriminate and illegal logging by timber mafias, also known as the forest mafias, had led to the reduction of the state’s forest cover by 50%. This is when Chami Devi Murmu stepped in to put an end to this havoc. 

For the last 24 years, Chami Devi Murmu, secretary of Sahayogi Mahila Bagraisai, has been mobilising women from more than 40 villages to plant Eucalyptus, Sal, and Acacia trees, among others, to replenish the forests in Jharkhand that had been destroyed by the timber mafia. 

As of today, Chami Devi Murmu has managed to reach out to 3,000 women, who not only promote her views but also help plant trees and develop watersheds to raise groundwater levels in the region. 

Over time, Chami Devi Murmu’s network of women has become so strong that when a tree is being cut down illegally, information reaches the ears of the women almost immediately. And Chami Devi Murmu, together with other women, is able to prevent any tree from being chopped off. 

Chami Devi Murmu and her group are focused on planting trees that are beneficial to the people of Jharkhand. Resources have been put aside to plant Acacia trees because they are a huge source of firewood. 

The group also plants Neem, Sal, and Sheesham because they are good for making furniture and building homes. So, in the presence of these trees, Jharkhand enjoys double benefits – revival of lost forests and enhancement of the standard of living of the locals.

Seraikhela Kharsawan, one of the districts in Jharkhand, is often entangled in armed struggle because it is a part of the Maoist movement’s red corridor. Seraikhela Kharsawan is one of the backward districts in the country, where most of the people are farmers. However, in the absence of heavy rains, farmers have not been able to enjoy good harvests. 

To enhance the livelihood of the farmers, Chami Devi Murmu and the members of Sahayogi Mahila Bagraisai are building watersheds, not just in Seraikhela Kharsawan but in the entire state, to save rainwater, which can then be used for farming purposes. 

The team has also started making diversion canals and water harvesting tanks to save water. Through these initiatives, Chami Devi Murmu and her team have given hope to the locals and now, farmers of Jharkhand are able to plant paddy and arhar dal and enjoy good harvests all year around.

In the last decade, more than one million trees have been planted, under the supervision of Chami Devi Murmu, and wildlife in the region has made a comeback to Jharkhand because of the revival of their habitat – the forests. Chami Devi Murmu, at the age of 42, has changed the face of Jharkhand for the better, without the help from the government. 

Chami Devi Murmu’s story is a lesson to all of us that no task is impossible if we set our hearts and minds to it. Many people push the blame for poor living conditions and low standard of living to the government or other authorities and lead their lives in regret. 

One thing that we can learn from Chami Devi Murmu is that instead of blaming others, we should take the onus and responsibility to change our future and lead a happy life. At the same time, we ought to think about the welfare of the community for the attainment of overall prosperity.

Amrita University has its branches in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. It has 1 center in Andaman & Nicobar,10 center in Andhra Pradesh,1 center in Assam,1 center in Bihar, 1 center each in Chandigarh and Chhattisgarh, 1 center in Delhi, 1center each in Goa and Gujarat, 1 center in Jharkand , 1 center in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, 1 center in Orissa , 1 center in Rajasthan , 1 center in Uttaranchal and Uttarpradesh, 9 center in Karnataka, 15 center in Kerala and 20 center in Tamil Nadu

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