Jamuna Tudu, born on 19 December 1980, in Rairangpur of Mayurbhanj, Odisha, India. She is a climate and environment activist. She has been working towards conserving the forests of Jharkhand. She saved 50 hectares of forest from being ravaged. Along with that, she United 10,000 women and motivated them to protect trees and wildlife. There was a major problem with the jungle mafia surrounding her village with rampant deforestation. Jamuna educated the women in her village about this issue and they vowed to protect the jungles they were surrounded by. The women formed committees to formulate and discuss how to reduce deforestation and blend in their traditions and superstitions with eco-friendly practices. They also picked up arms and fought off the mafia, safeguarding the forest which has primarily sal trees. The women empowered each other and proved how capable and fearless women can be. As a symbol, they now plant a tree in the village every time a baby girl is born, because they know she will grow up to be a fighter and a saviour.
Beginning of her Journey
Born in the small town of Odisha, she shifted to Jharkhand after her wedding in 1998. Her home was situated 100 km away, in Maturkham. On the day following her wedding, the women of the house showed her around. When she reached across the jungle region, she was startled to glimpse the dull trees devoid of verdure. She found out how the regional jungle mafia cut down the dense jungles of the town for their greedy means. The horrible view of the devastated jungle got her thinking, and she determined to conserve it from the mafia At all costs. She couldn't continue watching losing the pristine jungle belt around her.
Tudu walked outside to assemble the women of the town and conserve the jungles. She says that it was tough to unify the women and ask them to protest for jungle conservation. They were scared of the mafia." Regardless, She was going to lead with a bold devotion. The will of steel found five women gathering with her, and together, they established the Van Suraksha Samiti. The women used to guard the jungle region and keep an eye on the unlawful actions of the mafia. The members would go around the jungles with sticks, bows and arrows to scare away the intruders. Also, they would confiscate the woodsman' vacant saws and hide them in the town. Though, the realisation of the terrible coalition between police administrators and the mafia left them disturbed. However, more women gathered the strength to come forward and joined Jamuna in her noble goal.
Love for Greenery
Jamuna was raised in Odisha's Rairangpur village. Her father was an agriculturist. She and her siblings grew up among the encircling lush jungles, supporting their father farm by holding up saplings to his regions and cultivating to them. To her Gazing seeds emitting to life had always felt like fostering little children. In 1998, months after she turned 18, Jamuna married Mansingh Tudu, a contractor who constructs houses in towns. Her husband's town, Maturkham, was 100 km away. After watching the conditions of the forest she was shocked to discover a jungle full of tree stumps. The Maturkham jungles, recognized for sal and teak trees, had been devastated by a regional timber smuggling mafia, which had furthermore threatened the residents into silence.
This was years before the Forest Rights Act (FRA) kicked in (2006), bringing an awareness of community hold over forestland. Jamuna determined to gather the women of Maturkham to form a Van Suraksha Samiti (forest protection group). These women, some of whom had finished primary schooling, had never stood up for themselves before, so belief wasn't simple to convene among them. Only if our jungles are existing can humanity thrive, Jamuna convinced everyone. Despite some initial friction, the women soon made her a role model.
Jamuna feels that the FRA requires to be less open-ended by asserting the function of a participatory village-level jungle rights panel in adjusting the laws relating to community forestland, least people utilize it for commercial goals. She furthermore thinks that reforestation actions should comprise planting regional harmonising varieties, rather than enabling jungle departments to take the simple path by seeding species such as eucalyptus, which is recognized to grow rapidly but destroys biodiversity.
After forming her mind, she did meetings about conservation of plants in the town with different women. Originally, people were extremely hesitant. Her family members said no one will support this, but she was optimistic and she always said that we must keep struggling. So they kept calling people for discussions and kept getting bleak.
Then five to six women united with her and then all of them elected to review the forests every day. They carried wooden sticks, one water bottle and a few dogs to go on trials of the forest thrice a day every day. When they began with the mission, the jungle mafia got furious and attempted to threaten them. But they did not falter and made a small collectiveVan Suraksha Samitito conserve the jungles. Presently, they have 200 women who support in the fight for awareness and conservation of forests. The success didn't come effortlessly for Jamuna and her Van Suraksha Samiti. They had to cross paths with trouble and regular debates among the locals.
Price of Resistance
When Jamuna and her 32 comrades initially walked up to the group of men and women chopping down trees, they gazed her up and down and asked Who are you? And when did this samiti business happen? she replied We started today, and introduced herself, putting a halt to let her name sink in. For a year after that, the samiti had demonstrated it meant business. The members would go to the jungles prepared with bars, spades, bows, and arrows to scare away the intruders. Then they would seize the loggers' vacant saws and hide them in the town. It made it twice difficult for them that some forest protection officials and the police were hand-in-glove with the mafia. But over the months, their power increased and their work created credibility. They got FIRs registered under forest protection laws and even got a few criminals jailed.
Accomplishment didn't come simple or cheap. In 2004, when she had already established over 50 samitis (which has now doubled in number) in Chakulia town, a notified region, the mafia wreaked her home. Four years later, during a journey to a neighbouring town, she and her husband, were assaulted with pointed stones. Mansingh was hit in the head. Her husband lost consciousness in a pool of blood. She thought he would die. Since that incident, she says, fear has no significance for her. Since then, Jamuna (presently popularly inferred to as Lady Tarzan') and her club of 10,000 forest protectors across 300 towns have carried out night patrols, stalled felling in over 50 hectares, and assisted reforestation actions, while commencing rites such as Raksha Bandhan and Bhai Dooj to establish a personal bond between the residents and the trees among them.
Awards and Recognition
It is motivating to earn so much praise and awards but the real value of these is when it translates into protecting all jungles in the nation. The organization is turned into an activity of further than 6,000 members in 2019. Though the chopping down of trees has greatly decreased there is nonetheless a lot of work to be done.
Jamuna comes from a normal Indian family who battled against the established situations to become the courageous Lady Tarzan everyone idolizes. The green devotee is exhilarated to earn various prestigious awards that encourage her to work better in the good direction. She says as long as she lives, she will dedicate herself to conserving forests and planting new saplings