Jamuna Tudu is known as the lady Tarzan in the environmental movement in India
By Amila Khan
Almost every country in the world has a long history of environmental movements; India is no exception. From the time of the Bishnois to the Chipko movement, we have seen women in the movement to save the environment and the trees throughout the movement, leading and fighting on the battlefield and breathing in self-glory.
One such heroic chapter of Birangana in India is a present discussion; she is a heroic fighter of the movement to save trees and save the environment!
Speaking of Tarzan, we can relate that a child is growing up in the forest who does not know his name considers the forest as his home in his life. He loves animals, birds, and the jungle; the jungle was his mother, friend, shelter, everything but the reality of Tarzan, who is being called, is a little different.
Although this heroine’s life is not like the Tarzan’s life story, she is a forest lover and has always vowed to protect the forest. She met Jamuna Tudu in India’s forest kingdom and the locals’ The Lady Tarzan’s language.
Jamuna Tudu, popularly known as The Lady Tarzan, was born on December 19, 1980, to a tribal farming family in Rairangpur, Mayurbhanj district, Orissa. Ever since she was a child, she has seen her father take care of them by planting saplings in the rough land. Seeing her father, Jamuna Tudu developed a selfless love for the tree.
Since her marriage with Maan Singh Tudu at 18 in 1998 in the village of Muturakham under Singbhum district, 100 km east of Jharkhand, 100 km away from Rayrangpur, the jungle has become like a child to this childless woman! And she has repeatedly come forward alone to save that child.
For about fifteen years, she has been a novice in forest protection. She has resisted the timber mafia and tree smugglers with his unwavering attitude and boundless courage. And so today, she is the sole queen.
Her husband, Maan Singh Tudu, is a small-scale contractor by profession, earning a living by building houses in rural areas. After the marriage, Jamuna Tudu came to her father-in-law’s house and did not stay like other ordinary housewives. She formed a team and started a great struggle to save the forest, which seems a lot like a movie story.
After coming to Chakuliar, she came across smuggling trees by cutting down the shale forest in the vicinity. After that, she went on a campaign to protect the environment. The beginning is the constant struggle and struggles to save the jungle. In 1998, she formed the ‘Forest Protection Society’ with five women, including local women. Then, whenever they heard of a tree being cut down, they would run away, handcuff the criminals and hand them over to the law.
This task was not easy at all for her or them. The Jamuna Tudu has been injured many times while trying to stop the tree smugglers, even from the villagers, as the forest is the main fuel source.
The Jamuna Tudu creates awareness among the locals and advise them to use alternative materials or small stalks as fuel and not to use large trees as much as possible. The situation gradually changed, and the importance of forest conservation increased among the villagers.
At that time, the forest mafia and timber smugglers ruled over vast forests of the state of Jharkhand. Despite their threats and obstacles, Jamuna Tudu did not stop. Making a profit by clearing the jungle was an easy way to earn money, which was illegal but impossible. The Tarzan Lady, Jamuna Tudu, started fighting against these gunman people with sticks, bows, and arrows and snatched the victory.
She has received many death threats from the forest mafia and timber smugglers. This brave woman still did not give up the fight to save the environment. Her house was attacked in 2004, Jamuna Tudu and her husband were fatally attacked in 2008, but fortunately, she survived.
Her efforts did not fail, as evidenced by the fact that Muturkham could save about eighty acres of forest adjacent to the village. At present, the “Forest Protection Society” has 300 teams, and each team has at least 30 members who are still working tirelessly to save the forest under the leadership of Jamuna Tudu. Now the Jharkhand Police and Forest Department and the “Forest Protection Association” are jointly conducting forest protection work.
For the relentless struggle of the Munadebis, the Jharkhand government has now adopted the village of Jamuna Tudu. Adequate arrangements have been made for education and water services. At present, in her village, she made a rule of planting eighteen trees for the birth of one daughter and ten trees for the marriage of 1 daughter.
She has received various awards in recognition of her achievements in forest conservation and contribution to environmental protection. Such as – Wife Power Award in 2014, Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award, Women Transforming in 2017, Padma Shri Award in 2019 by the Government of India in recognition of her relentless initiative to save the forest, etc.