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Durable Link to this BlogThursday, August 8, 2002

Philanthropist Jirle Mallamma

17th Century Woman Philanthropist Jirle Mallamma

Constructing water wells and tanks, planting trees by the roadside, growing orchards and building shelter for  cattle is an ancient practice in India. Though the basic concept behind such charities of  public service is to earn merit (punya) to attain heaven, the beneficiaries were countless. Though the donors remained anonymous or forgotten, their legacy continued for ages. People remembered and blessed them.

Jirle Mallamma of 17th century is one such a blessed soul who received gratitude of thousands of travelers en route to Tumkur via Jirle village in Karnataka. Mallamma got constructed a step-well where four roads were meeting. For any person passing through midsummer arid road, the well provided cool water. What did Mallamma expect in return? Her copper plate inscription tells about her humble wish. "Dear traveler, after quenching your thirst, please take palmful of water and pour on the image." A small stone image carved on the second step of the well is supposed to be that of Mallamma and the grateful travelers do pour some water on the image even today.

See Also:
• Stories the Stones Tell -- Tracing history through memorials.
• Prostitute as Philanthropist -- the story of 10th century woman philanthropist Shantavve.

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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