Kaamegowda

Eighty-two-year-old SHEPHERD KAAMEGOWDA may be illiterate, but he has been able to do what most so-called educated and environmentally conscious persons only wish they had done. He is credited with greening an entire hillside at Daasanadoddi village in Malavalli taluk of Mandya district, an effort that took him four decades and culminated in 14 ponds being developed and maintained by him. These ponds are filled with water all year round — even during the scorching summers.

It was about 40 years ago when he realized that the almost barren Kundinibetta hill next to his village had sparse shrubs with almost no greenery. While taking his flock of sheep grazing on the hillside, he saw animals and birds stressed from the lack of watering holes on the hill. Whatever water the hill received through rain, only flowed down its slopes. It hardly retained any water and what little remained either evaporated or got absorbed into the ground. That’s when this 2017 Basavashri awardee hit upon an idea: Why not develop a pond to provide animals and birds a watering hole? It started from there, although he doesn’t remember the precise date, but estimates that, so far, he has spent nothing less than Rs 10-15 lakh in designing, developing, and maintaining the 14 ponds, some named after his grandchildren. Almost all the money is from various awards he has won throughout his life. His haven is a half-complete house on a two-acre land — the hill presented itself in lush green attire, thanks to the 14 ponds, linked by a waterway that ensures when the upper ponds on the hill are filled, the surplus water flows into the ponds below. Eighty-two-year-old SHEPHERD KAAMEGOWDA may be illiterate, but he has been able to do what most so-called educated and environmentally conscious persons only wish they had done. He is credited with greening an entire hillside at Daasanadoddi village in Malavalli taluk of Mandya district, an effort that took him four decades and culminated in 14 ponds being developed and maintained by him. These ponds are filled with water all year round — even during the scorching summers. It was about 40 years ago when he realized that the almost barren Kundinibetta hill next to his village had sparse shrubs with almost no greenery. While taking his flock of sheep grazing on the hillside, he saw animals and birds stressed from the lack of watering holes on the hill. Whatever water the hill received through rain, only flowed down its slopes. It hardly retained any water and what little remained either evaporated or got absorbed into the ground. That’s when this 2017 Basavashri awardee hit upon an idea: Why not develop a pond to provide animals and birds a watering hole? It started from there, although he doesn’t remember the precise date, but estimates that, so far, he has spent nothing less than Rs 10-15 lakh in designing, developing, and maintaining the 14 ponds, some named after his grandchildren. Almost all the money is from various awards he has won throughout his life. His haven is a half-complete house on a two-acre land — the hill presented itself in lush green attire, thanks to the 14 ponds, linked by a waterway that ensures when the upper ponds on the hill are filled, the surplus water flows into the ponds below.