Kodagu First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Kodagu, Coorgs and the People of Kodagu – here at Home and Overseas
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    Dubai :

    Kodagu Dakshina Kannada Gowda Samaja successfully concluded their annual ‘Blood Donation Campaign’ on Friday June 30 from 10 am to 3 pm at Sheikha Latifa Hospital, Dubai participated by very many members of the Sangha and friends.

    As the requirement of blood is very much essential during Ramadan, the active members of the Sangha from Ajman, Sharjah, Dubai& Abu Dhabi voluntarily came forward in large numbers and donated blood for a good cause.

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    Founder President Ashok Uluvarna, Past President Ganesh Achhandira, Harish Kodi, Vice President Sunil Mottemane, General Secretary Kanneriyan Sunil Kumar, and TreasurerDilipUluvaru, were present during the campaign supporting the donors. Also present were Navin Gowda of Vokkalikgara Sangha, Dr. Nanda Kishore & Dr. Rashmi Nandakishore of Riva Laser Beauty and Spa & Dr. TrilokChandrashekar of Medi Clinic Hospital, Abu Dhabi who all participated in the blood donation campaign.

    Rahul Bidappa, Ashish Kodi, AyushKodi, Meena Harish Kodi&JagadishKushalappa ably volunteered the campaign helping the donors in registering and completing the formalities. All those participated in the campaign were served with light refreshments, tea, coffee, fruits & juices by KusumadaraKodi, Ashok Ullvarana, ChandrakantKudwaje, Suresh Kumpala, SubramanyaKadikadka, Yathish Gowda, DilipUluvaru, SamarthaBantwal& Vinod Ramachandra who also sponsored the event.

    Roshan Kampala& Praveen Kalagadge were responsible for the campaign while BalaSalian took charge of the programme.

    source: http://www.daijiworld.com / DaijiWorld.com / Home> Middle East / by Shodhan Prasad / Wednesday – July 05th, 2017

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    Rohan Bopanna clinched his maiden Grand Slam title when he won the French Open mixed doubles final with Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski in Paris on Thursday.

    Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski and India's Rohan Bopanna hold aloft the trophy after winning the French Open mixed doubles title in Paris on Thursday. The pair defeated Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Colombian Robert Farah 2-6, 6-2 (12-10). (AP)

    Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and India’s Rohan Bopanna hold aloft the trophy after winning the French Open mixed doubles title in Paris on Thursday. The pair defeated Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Colombian Robert Farah 2-6, 6-2 (12-10). (AP)

    Indian tennis ace Rohan Bopanna and Canadian partner Gabriela Dabrowski produced a fighting performance to beat their German-Colombian opponents Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Robert Farah in the final to clinch their maiden French Open mixed doubles title in Paris on Thursday.

    Seeded seventh, Bopanna and Dabrowski took an hour and six minutes to win, saving two match points, as they overcame the unseeded Groenefeld and Farah 2-6, 6-2, 12-10 on Philippe-Chatrier Court.

    Bopanna has become only the fourth Indian to win a Grand Slam crown, after Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza. Indians have accounted for 20 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. Two of those victories belong solely to India with Sania Mirza partnering Mahesh Bhupathi.

    Bopanna entered the final of a Grand Slam tournament after a gap of seven years. He had also qualified for a Major final in 2010 when he and Pakistan partner Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi entered the title clash of the US Open.

    The 16th seeds had then lost to American twins Bob and Mike Bryan in the final.

    Bopanna is the also the fourth Indian to win a mixed doubles crown at the world’s premier clay court tournament. Bhupathi won India’s first Grand Slam title in 1997 when he partnered Japan’s Rika Hiraki to claim the French Open.

    Bhupathi again won in 2012, this time with compatriot Sania Mirza.

    Paes too had savoured glory on the red clay when he won in 2016 with Martina Hingis.

    Bopanna and Dabrowski did not start well, losing the first set 2-6. The seventh seeds gave away as many as four breakpoint chances and Groenefeld and Farah converted two to take the lead in the match.

    However, the Indian-Canadian combine fought back well to clinch the second set with the same scoreline.

    Though they were broken once, Bopanna and Dabrowski converted three of the five breakpoint opportunities they got to push the match into a match tie-break (earlier known as Super Tie-Break).

    The German-Colombian pair led throughout the tie-break, and held two match points at 9-7. However, Bopanna and Dabrowski somehow managed to save both.

    Bopanna and Dabrowski had their first chance when they took the lead at 10-9. They lost the opportunity as scores were levelled at 10-all but the pair grabbed the next two points to seal victory at Roland Garros.

    source: http://www.hindustantimes.com / Hindustan Times / Home> Tennis / HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times / June 08th, 2017

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    Youths being trained for defence forces in Kushalnagar | Express

    Youths being trained for defence forces in Kushalnagar | Express

    Madikeri :

    Service to the nation appears to be in the DNA of Kodagu people. In the district known for brave warriors, some servicemen continue to serve the defence forces after their retirement too — by grooming prospective soldiers.

    The Kushalnagar Ex-servicemen’s Association has been providing rigorous training to youths aspiring to join the defence forces for the last 10 years.

    To join military, youngsters of Kodagu may not need a greater motivation than the profile of the district which has produced a field marshal, a general, many lieutenant generals and thousands of soldiers. A number of villages of the district have more than 10 serving or retired servicemen. Often, one can see 2-3 brothers serving the defence forces.

    Ironically, Kodagu lacks a training institute to help youths join the military.

    In 2007, the Kushalnagar association decided to fill the void. It started training sessions at government primary schools for those keen on joining the Army. Since then it has trained at least 2,000 youngsters.

    The rigorous exercises include 2-km running, zigzag running, long jump, high jump, push-ups, yoga and meditation.

    The training also means hard work for association president M N Monnappa and other office-bearers like A Janardhana, N S Suresh Kumar, Bojappa and Somanna.

    As the exercises have to be completed before school hours, they have to be at the venues by 5.30 am. They spend at least two hours, till 7.30 am, with military-aspiring youths.

    But physical fitness alone is not enough to join the defence forces. They have to pass written tests too which many aspirants find difficult. The association has addressed the need and holds coaching.

    Janardhana says the training is free of cost and “we never expected a penny from the youths.

    “The number of trainees sees a spike during job openings in defence, police, CRPF and other forces,” he observes.

    According to trainer Naresh Kumar, the association provides information to youths when recruitments take place. “Hundreds have joined defence forces after training here,” says Naresh. He can be contacted on 9480640924.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Karnataka / by Coovercolly Indresh / Express News Service / May 28th, 2017

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    Role Models: Paintings of General K S Thimayya, Field Marshal K M Cariappa.

    Role Models: Paintings of General K S Thimayya, Field Marshal K M Cariappa.

    Kodagu is not just known for its serene landscape and picturesque surroundings, but also for the valour of its people. Rightly, the district boasts of several military heroes. The statues of such brave men can be seen in Madikeri. The Sudarshan Circle in Madikeri is flanked by the statue of Field Marshal K M Cariappa and the equestrian statue of Subedar Guddemane Appayya Gowda.

    One of the earliest revolutionaries from Kodagu, Appayya Gowda, was hanged by the British in 1837. His contemporary revolutionaries from Kodagu included Subedar Naalnaad Mandira Uthayya, Chetty Kudiya and Shanthalli Mallayya who were imprisoned for many years by the British. Further along the main road, you can see a circle with the statue of General K S Thimayya. If you take the deviation to the right, you will find Major M C Muthanna Circle near the town hall and Squadron Leader A B Devaiah Circle near the private bus stand.

    The first family

    In Kunda, near Gonikoppal, lived the Kodandera family, hereditary chieftains of a group of villages. I M Muthanna’s Coorg Memoirs mentions that Naad Parupatyagar (native village official) Kodandera Kuttayya was the grandson of Diwan Mandepanda Thimmaiah. Between 1901 and 1909, he was the assistant commissioner and highest ranked native official in the then Coorg province. When his wife Dechy, or Dechamma, passed away, a locality in Madikeri was named as Dechur in her memory.

    Two members of this family, Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa and General Kodandera Subayya Thimayya, rose to become the chiefs of the Indian Army. Hence, the Kodandera family came to be considered as the first family of Kodagu’s military heroes. Field Marshal Cariappa was the son of Kuttayya’s younger brother Madappa, who worked in the revenue department. General Thimayya was the grandson of Kuttayya.

    Born in 1899, Field Marshal Cariappa, ‘the Grand Old Man of the Indian Army’, studied in the Madikeri Government Central High School and then in the Madras Presidency College. He gained admission at Daly Cadet College, Indore, in 1919 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in Bombay’s 88th Carnatic Infantry, during World War I. The following year, he served in Mesopotamia (Iraq) and was promoted as a lieutenant.

    He became the first Indian army officer to attend the Staff College in Quetta. He married Muthu Machia, a forest officer’s daughter, had a son K C Nanda Cariappa, who later rose to the rank of air marshal, and a daughter, Nalini. During World War II, Cariappa was awarded the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). He became the first Indian to become a brigadier.

    Cariappa also served as India’s first commander-in-chief (C-in-C) between 1949 and 1953. Now this position rests with the President of India. He represented India as its high commissioner in Australia and New Zealand from 1953 to 1956. In 1986, he was made a field marshal. Thus, he became one of the two Indian army officers to hold this rank. He died in 1993.

    General Thimayya’s actual name was Subayya, while Thimayya was his father’s name. He was born in Madikeri in 1906. Admitted to the then Prince of Wales Military College in Dehradun, he was one of the six Indian cadets who underwent training in Royal Military College, Sandhurst, England. In 1926, he was commissioned into the Indian army. In 1935, he married Codanda Nina and the couple went to Quetta. During the Quetta earthquake that year the couple rendered outstanding humanitarian service.

    During World War II, Thimayya was awarded Distinguished Service Order (DSO). He represented India during the Japanese surrender. Between 1953 and 1955, Thimayya was the chairman of the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission. He gained international fame for the way he handled the exchange of the prisoners of war (POWs) held during the Korean War. In 1954, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan. Between 1957 and 1961, he was the chief of the Indian army.

    In 1964, he was appointed Commander of the United Nations Forces in Cyprus, where he passed away. Cyprus released a stamp in his memory, and later, his wax statue was displayed in Singapore. Both Cariappa and Thimayya are iconic figures in India.

    Fond memories

    According to Major General Arjun Muthanna, a great grandson of Kuttayya, Cariappa and Thimayya belonged to a generation of Indian officers who stormed the bastion of India’s colonial masters and deftly navigated unchartered situations. Both had huge responsibilities thrust upon them at a relatively young age and rose to the challenge. Cariappa, commissioned as a lieutenant when Indians were just being permitted to become British Indian Army officers, would ‘Outbritish the British’, probably to be accepted and treated as an equal by the British officers.

    A strict disciplinarian, he demanded punctuality and proper dress code. He was fiercely nationalistic and moulded the Indian Army into its current apolitical position.

    In 1948, the Kashmir situation grew tense and war was imminent. Lieutenant General Cariappa became the head of the Western Command and led Lieutenant General S M Shrinagesh and Major General Thimayya. It was during this war that Thimayya helped India secure Ladakh.

    Cariappa’s contemporary and friend, Lieutenant General Nathu Singh, was first offered the post of C-in-C but he declined and stated that his senior Cariappa, who won the 1948 war for India, was more eligible for the post. It was on January 15, 1949 that the three centuries old colonial army became a national army. That was the first time an Indian, General Cariappa, was made chief of the Indian armed forces.

    Every morning, Cariappa paid his respects to the portrait of his parents and the statue of a jawan. He was ever thankful to the soldiers for protecting the country. Hence, he was called the soldiers’ general. Cariappa would go to the war front, even after retirement, in order to motivate the troops.

    Muthanna narrates a personal anecdote about the Field Marshal, “When I called on him at his residence, in Madikeri, in May 1986, to invite him for my wedding, I was wearing a half sleeve shirt and trousers as appropriate for the hot summer day. After accepting the invitation, he commented on my attire saying ‘You’re an officer in the army aren’t you? In which case, you should be wearing a coat and tie.’ I had no response and thought in my mind I’m calling on my family elder. Pat came his next comment, as if he’d read my mind, ‘In case you’re calling on me as a relative you should be wearing our traditional dress of kupya.’ He walked the talk. He was always dressed formally as a respect to the person who was visiting him.”

    Thimayya was charismatic, approachable and had great interpersonal skills. When Thimayya visited his Dehradun alma mater as an alumni, one of the cadets there wanted to know how to address the general. Thimayya simply replied ‘Call me Timmy’, referring to his nickname!

    Some of the other military heroes of Kodagu are: Major Mangerira Chinnappa Muthanna, who was awarded the Shaurya Chakra posthumously, and Squadron Leader Ajjamada Bopayya Devaiah, nicknamed ‘Wings of Fire’, the only Air Force personnel to be awarded the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously so far.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / Mookonda Kushalappa / May 22nd, 2017

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    She’s a hardcore advocate of tribal rights, who, as the government have realised to their cost, will not back down.

    Tribal leader Muthamma climbs a tree in support of her demands at Diddalli in Kodagu on Thursday

    Tribal leader Muthamma climbs a tree in support of her demands at Diddalli in Kodagu on Thursday

    Mysuru:

    Muthamma, the woman who transfixed her supporters and critics by shedding her clothes to lead a protest, parading stark naked against the unfair treatment meted out to the tribals of Kodagu, is no exhibitionist. She’s a hardcore advocate of tribal rights, who, as the government have realised to their cost, will not back down.

    “It is not easy for a woman to remove her clothes and march nude in public. But it was my intense agony for my people and anger over the injustice they had suffered that forced me to opt for such a protest,” says 48- year-old Muthamma, who is leading the tribals camping in Diddalli in their fight for housing sites and land to farm on.

    A video of her nude march to protest the tribals’ eviction from Diddalli in December last year had gone viral on social media. Married to Basappa, a daily wage worker, Muthamma has four children and her younger brother, Appaji is a GP member.

    “As a child I was deeply pained to see my own parents moving from one place to another after they were removed from the forests. But they did not give up and go to line houses in coffee plantations. Instead they ensured that I studied till class 10. Later the Union government made me part of the Mahila Samukya, where I trained in empowering women and motivating them to have an education. In 1993, I was elected a GP member, but my hands were tied and I couldn’t do much to help my people,” she recalls. Although her parents finally settled in Channanakote in Diddalli, the family got land rights only in 2008 after a prolonged battle with the government.

    “Although there are 200 of us in Channanakote, only 30 have got land rights. I was shocked to hear about our Diddalli tribals living in line houses in plantations in Kodagu being treated as bonded labourers. I was an Aasha health worker, but gave up that job to lead their protest,” she reveals, adding, “I am not part of any NGO, but just another daily wage worker fighting for justice for my people.”

    source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Nation> Current Affairs / by Shilpa P / May 06th, 2017

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    As many as 306 teams have enrolled for the prestigious Kodava family hockey tournament scheduled to begin here on Monday. With Biddatanda family hosting this edition of the annual tournament, the event is named Biddatanda Hockey Namme-2017.

    The hockey festival, in its 21st year, promises to a treat for hockey buffs with a record number of teams are vying for the top prize. The tournament has produced fine talents over the years some of whom have made the cut into state and national teams. The matches will be played at three grounds – two at Gen Thimayya Stadium at Cheriyaparambu, and at Govt PU College ground.

    Grounds Committee chairman B B Belyappa said, “Final touches are being given to the grounds to make them match-ready at a cost of Rs 16 lakh. The 27-day tournament is being organised at a cost of Rs 1.6 crore.”

    Thunder showers, in the recent past, in the run up to the competition have delayed the preparations. With rain taking a break on Saturday, the groundsmen took up the last-minute preparations to make the grounds ready for the matches, starting on Monday.

    For the first time in the history of the tournament, a metal gallery has been erected for the benefit of the spectators. The organisers have also made necessary arrangements like mats, sound system, lighting, media gallery at a cost of Rs 33.50 lakh.

    As many as waterproof make-shift food stalls have been set up at the grounds. Safety measures are also in place with shade nets covering the banks of Cauvery river to prevent people from venturing into water and contaminating the same.

    Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha had promised Rs 30 lakh from his MPLAD funds for the tournament but released only Rs 20 lakh. Zilla Panchayat is also expected to chip in with Rs 4 lakh for building a check wall.

    MLC Shantheyanda Veena Achaiah has sanctioned Rs 5 lakh. Legislators K G Bopaiah and MLC Suneel Subramani too have promised funds.

    Hockey India, Hockey Karnataka, Hockey Kodagu and Umpire Association have extended their support to the event. President of Umpire Association Katumaniyanda Umesh has taken over the mantle of supervising the matches.

    According to technical director of Biddatanda Hockey Namme B S Thammaiah, seating facilities have been made for 20,000 people. It includes 4,000 seats for VIPs. Parking facilities have been made on 15 acres of land.

    Hockey Olympian Anjaparavanda B Subbaiah will inaugurate the tournament on April 17 at 10.30 am. Founder of Hockey Namme, Pandanda M Kuttappa, will be the chief guest, while Prof B C Ponnappa of Biddatanda clan will preside over the inaugural function.

    Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa, Forest Minister B Ramanath Rai, former minister M C Nanaiah, MP Prathap Simha, MLAs K G Bopaiah and Appachu Ranjan, MLCs Shantheyanda Veena Achaiah and Suneel Subramani, SP P Rajendra Prasad, president of Kodagu Hockey Association Pykera Kalaiah and Muliya Prasad from Muliya Foundation are also expected to attend the inaugural session.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> District / DH News Service / Napoklu – April 16th, 2017

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    We were born to help the world, not to destroy it… Then why we are destroying the very environment we live in?

    Too much pollution, loss of biodiversity, not enough clean fresh water, soil contamination, deforestation, global warming are just some of the environmental issues we are facing today. We need to make some changes in our daily lives to live in a greener, more sustainable way.

    Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health and food security for the love of protection and preservation of the environment and wildlife.

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    The environment is being destroyed at an alarming rate. Fortunately, there are hard-core environmentalists who are nothing short of saviours that are working tirelessly and round the clock to save our habitat. One such person is the President of the Coorg Wildlife Society – Col C P Muthanna (Retd).

    Col Muthanna was born in Coorg (now known as Kodagu) in 1953. His father, late Shri CM Poonacha, was an active freedom fighter and imprisoned a number of times and was once hung in chains for 15 days along with other freedom fighters of Kodagu. In the post-Independence era his father became the first Chief Minister of the erstwhile Coorg ‘Part C’ State, then the Chairman of the State Trading Corporation of India and subsequently the Cabinet Minister for Railway at the Centre. Later during the seventies he served as Governor of Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.

    In spite of the political antecedents of his father, Col Muthanna chose the life of the uniform and joined the army in December 1972, commissioned into the 4th battalion of the Maratha Light Infantry. He moved out to a new Raising, 18 Maratha Light Infantry, which he subsequently commanded. On completion of his command tenure in April 1996, he took premature release. One of the reasons for leaving his checkered career from the army was his desire to serve the cause of protecting the environment.

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    After retirement, he founded the Environment and Health Foundation (EHF), India in 1998. The EHF has been working mainly on water related issues. He conducted a number of water management awareness programs and wrote a book in Kannada on rainwater harvesting for Malnad region. He has set up a number of rainwater harvesting structures for institutions and houses in Kodagu.

    A conservationist and nature-lover at heart, he was President of the Coorg Wildlife Society from 2003 to 2009, and again from 2012 till date. In 2006, Col Muthanna received the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam award for his work in the field of environment by the government of Karnataka. He has been nominated on three occasions as ‘Coorg Person of the Year’. He has also founded the Kodagu Boxing Association in order to tap the boxing potential in Kodagu and spot talent at a young age.

    Under Col Muthanna, the Coorg Wildlife Society filed a PIL and prevented a hydroelectric project in the Evergreen Hill forests of Kodagu that would have inundated large areas of the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary in Kodagu. He has also helped a local village community in halting a large stone quarrying unit close to the sanctuary.

    He has campaigned for over seven years against a High Tension Power Line through Kodagu which would result in the destruction of more than 54,000 trees. Due to his efforts the power line was realigned and thousands of trees have been saved.

    Work on the power line had caused disturbance to wild elephants in the area and had increased attacks by elephants. Col Muthanna was instrumental in compelling the Power Grid Corporation of India to provide Rupees six crore to the Forest Department for mitigation of Human Elephant Conflict.

    On behalf of the Coorg Wildlife Society, Col Muthanna has prepared a concept note on Management of Elephant habitat in South India. The primary habitat of elephants in South India is shared between the three States of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. These are known as Mysore Elephant Reserve, Waynad Elephant Reserve and Nilgiris Elephant Reserve respectively.

    These three reserves represent a contiguous landscape spread across 12,587 square kilometres and with a population of over 10,000 elephants. It is the largest population of Asian Elephants in the wild. The pressures on the habitat have manifested in serious escalation of Human Elephant Conflict in this region over the past two decades.

    Col Muthanna has highlighted the need for a coordinated approach by the three states with directions from the Ministry of Environment and Forests at the Centre so that there is a comprehensive and long term plan that can be implemented. He is in discussion with the Karnataka Forest Department on this very important subject. He has emphasized in his note that improvement of habitat for elephants will benefit all forms of wildlife.

    The three elephant reserves also represent important river catchments and watersheds of South India and protection of these forests is vital for the water security of the region.

    He is also working on a policy document for protecting the Kodagu landscape, which is the principal catchment for the Cauvery River. The Cauvery is the life line for South India and sustains 8 crore people and over 600 major Industries.

    Col Muthanna often states that protection of the Kodagu landscape is in the ‘National Interest’. However, his efforts have met strong and often vicious opposition from local politicians backed by the timber lobby and land mafia. Col Muthanna jokes that the thick hide that the Army has provided him is more valuable than his Army pension!

    On behalf of the EHF, Col Muthanna has prepared a proposal termed as the HIMEK Alliance for Stabilization of Climate Change in the Himalayas and the Mekong Basin. The concept is to mitigate climate change through drastic reduction of Black Carbon emissions, which have a regional impact.

    This is to be coupled with a massive program of Forest Land Restoration to regain the lost glory of the forests across the Himalayas and the Mekong basin. The proposal has obtained the approval of the International Union of Conservation of Nature and involves 11 countries including the Himalayan nations, Bangladesh and the countries of the Mekong Basin.

    Through his coordination, a working group including resource persons from Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand and India are working on the draft project document. The Rivers originating from the Himalayas and flowing through the Indian Subcontinent and Mekong Basin in South East Asia sustain one fifth of the world’s population. Therefore the HIMEK Alliance could be one of the largest regional initiatives on environment ever.

    He is also in communication with the army on protecting the Himalayan ecology. The army is a major stake holder in the Himalayas and he has written an article on this subject which was published in the 2015 July to September edition of the Indian Defence Review. He has also prepared a draft document on Food, Water and Economic Security for India, based on the concept of sustainable development by zoning the country and protecting important catchment areas and food producing regions in India.

    The snow fed rivers of the Himalayas sustain over one fifth of the human population. Col Muthanna stresses on the point that it is, therefore, a matter of deep concern to the entire global community and to the people of South Asia particularly that the Himalayan environment is under serious threat due to the effects of climate change. Lester Brown of the World Watch Institute in USA says that due to the effects of global warming, the pattern of precipitation in the Himalayas and the regions contiguous to the Himalayas will undergo a more drastic change in the years to come.

    There is agreement that effective reduction of Short Life Climate Forces will enable the temperatures in these principal eco-regions to stabilize over a short period of time and supplement the on-going international agreements and action programs for long term reduction of CO2 levels.

    The urgency of the situation has been highlighted by statements from climate scientists who say that the ‘tipping point’ may be a mere five years away. The formation of the HIMEK Alliance comes at an urgent time where the effects of climate change are critical and cannot wait.

    We all have a duty to spread the word to Go Green! Dare to be a force of Nature. Each and every one of us has the power to make a difference.

    ~ Let us join hands to Save the Earth for future generations ~

    source: http://www.thecitizen.in / The Citizen / Home> Life / by Rashmi Oberoi / Tuesday – April 04th, 2017

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    Coffee grown in the hills of Karnataka is making its way to the Starbucks Reserve store in Seattle

    Coffee is undergoing something of a transformation in India. Local beans, grown in the country, are finally making it onto store shelves, where provenance and growing techniques are emphasised. Meanwhile, a certain section of savvy consumers trawls the Internet, searching for new ways to brew their daily cuppa using a range of different home-grown beans, each of which comes packaged with tasting notes that emphasise subtle flavours.

    Meanwhile, an ocean away, India’s coffee prowess was given a different stamp of approval, when last October, Starbucks sold Indian coffee for the first time at its flagship Starbucks Reserve store in Seattle, the city in which the brand was founded. The coffee came from Tata’s Nullore estate in Kodagu, Karnataka, and was the company’s first microlot coffee. While Tata has 19 plantations in Kodagu (spread over 7,300 hectares), this was the first time that the company’s arabica beans made it to international shelves.

    Microlot coffee refers to beans that are generally the best of the estate, and are those that imbibe flavours of the terroir. Arabica is one of two types of coffee beans, and is prized for its flavour, lower caffeine content and almost twice the concentration of sugar than is found in robusta. As a result, arabica is more expensive, and harder to grow.

    Place of origin

    Walking around the Nullore plantation’s block 19 (where the beans grew), what strikes you is the sense of calm that comes with standing in the midst of a 505-acre estate.

    The microlot that was ultimately produced got its flavours from plants and trees that fruit bats propagate, while they make their homes in the silver oak trees above that provide shade to the arabica plants below. This two-tier system allows the coffee to grow under a canopy of trees, which includes jackfruit, pepper vines and fruits such as orange and lychee. On a tour of the block, Mandana, plantation manager, says, “We collected the coffee berries separately from eight hectares of this [block], where the fruit bat population is high.”

    Changing trends

    The story of the coffee though, goes beyond its growth, and rather is the story of how Tata Coffee is responding to changing customer demands, especially at the high-end, where international coffee drinkers are willing to spend between $10-30 to buy beans with unique tasting notes. Sunalini Menon, a well-known coffee cupper, who is also an independent member of the Tata Coffee board, has been instrumental in galvanising the plantation managers to experiment with microlot coffee. Chacko Thomas, the deputy CEO and executive director, says, “As a result of Nullore, we have 150 [microlot] experiments in progress.” Processing aside, the recognition has showed employees, that the beans grown in Kodagu can be cupped alongside the best in the world.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style> Food / by Aatish Nath / March 30th, 2017

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    Uproarious: Kodava families with the India XI and Kodagu XI teams. Photo: K. Murali Kumar.

    Uproarious: Kodava families with the India XI and Kodagu XI teams. Photo: K. Murali Kumar.

    Once a year, Kodava families from around the world come together to participate in a unique hockey tournament in a sleepy town. Shreedutta Chidananda on the 16th edition of the festival, hosted by the Iychettira family this year, and its place in Coorg’s culture.

    An hour northeast out of Gonikoppal, along one of the narrow, undulating roads typical of the region, Ammathi almost springs out of the country; an oversized clearing after endless acres of coffee plantation. Down here, in Coorg’s south, it is a searing 34° during the day; nothing like the popular postcard images of mountains and mist. Yet, ask locals and they will say their part of Coorg is just as beautiful as Madikeri or Kushalnagar, lacking only the tourists and the hype about the north.

    Ammathi, the venue of this year’s Kodava hockey festival, is an unremarkable town. A dozen small stores share premium space around the bus stop with the Cauvery Recreation Club and the Titanic Hotel and Bar.

    Preparations galore

    On the eve of the Iychettira Hockey Cup, the 16th edition of Coorg’s annual hockey competition among its Kodava families (there are close to 800), there is no hint of the extraordinary influx that is to follow. Overseeing preparations at the Ammathi Government High School ground, Chairman of the Tournament Committee, Iychettira K. Anil is a fiendishly busy man. “I’ve had to charge my phone thrice today,” he says. “It just won’t stop ringing.”

    Temporary bleachers are coming up on all sides while a few workers tend to the pitch.

    “Organising a tournament of so many teams is a logistical headache,” Anil says as he stands inside the under-construction pavilion and surveys the ground. “Sending the draws out to all 217 teams is hard enough. Then you have to conduct 12 matches a day across two venues.”

    Sixty-two families signed up for the inaugural edition in 1997. The numbers have since swollen, reaching a high of 281 in 2003, prompting claims of being the world’s largest hockey tournament. Lasting three weeks, it is a single-elimination tournament and concludes on May 13. “A Coorg has to hold a hockey stick,” says Anil. “Show me another tournament in India where so many teams turn up.”

    In the weeks leading up to the competition, practice was held at the Middle and High School grounds but with work on the playing surface now on in full swing, the venues are off limits. Action has shifted, instead, to the Good Shepherd Convent on the town’s south-eastern fringes, just off the highway. It is an uproarious affair with boys, youth and men battering a tired ball about. A viewing gallery rises up sharply on one side of the field — above which the groundskeeper occasionally materialises as dusk falls to see if the gates can finally be locked — while the road falls away on the other.

    The Uddapanda family’s U.S. Jagath, a genial, moustachioed middle-aged man, says that his team has been training for close to 20 days. “We take it seriously. Maybe not very seriously but we definitely don’t want to lose in the first round.” A centre-half on the Mysore University team in his youth, Jagath says most sides have three or four players of similar, if not better, pedigree. “The stronger ones even have former India internationals. The semi-finals and final can get quite feisty. If someone can’t play hockey here, he’s deemed a useless fellow. Our standards are pretty high.”

    Ordinarily only the festival’s later stages draw significant crowds — the semi-finals and the final have been known to attract sometimes 30,000 spectators — but this time, there is a gushing anticipation about the inaugural day.

    Those that have missed the billboards and the flyers will, perhaps, have noticed the rear ends of the district’s KSRTC buses. The Indian team will be in town, they proclaim, to play a “Coorg XI” in an exhibition game.

    Gathering crowds

    Anil predicts a traffic nightmare and he is not too far off the mark. On Saturday morning, the line of parked cars stretches over a kilometre from the ground; this after two prescribed lots run out of space. The local police are out in force, attempting to direct recalcitrant drivers elsewhere.

    Local newspapers, meanwhile, dedicate large chunks of space to the Hockey Nammé. Andolana, a Kannada daily, offers up three pages. “Broken hearts, warring brothers, families rent by strife; they have all been united by the Nammé,” a piece by-lined “Hockey Lover” exults on the front page.

    The ground is chockfull when the India team arrives. Men and women from the host Iychettira family line the grandstand in traditional Kodava attire; the purple of the saris an arresting sight. On the other sides, families clamber up the tiers in search of a vantage point. Boys and girls — in hats, shades, soft drink in one hand, cell-phone in the other — mill about casually. Kids flood the walkways below making their way around on the narrow planks with little difficulty. Every seat is taken, every inch of space occupied.

    Head Coach Michael Nobbs is visibly stunned by the several thousands strong attendance. “I had some idea of what to expect but this is miles ahead of anything I’ve seen,” he confesses, capturing the crowds on his iPhone. “There’s just so many kids here. It blows me away.” Every goal is met with frenzied applause; the home side loses 3-1 but there’s no hint of disappointment.

    Although the India XI is without most of its high-profile players, Nobbs has been careful to bring with him the ones hailing from Coorg. S.V. Sunil and V.R. Raghunath — though not Kodavas — draw the loudest cheers. “I cannot tell you enough how good a concept this is,” the latter says. “I wish I were a Coorg; I could have played too.”

    The tournament proper begins after lunch that afternoon; the Codanda and Cheranda families feature in the first game. Although the crowds have largely melted away, both teams find vocal support in their women. “Trap the ball”… “Pass it to the left”…”He’s open”, they cry lustily applauding every interception, forward run, or shot.

    All together

    The match is an opportunity for the Codandas’ C.M. Somanna to share the pitch with his nine-year-old daughter who comes on with a few minutes to spare. The shorts may reach down to her shins and the stick resembles a spear in her hands, but Nila is visibly thrilled. The final whistle eventually blows and the Codandas manage to sneak a nervy one-nil win.

    “We have only 100 members yet, earlier, we hardly met once a year,” says Swati Bopanna, a Codanda elder and President of the Women’s Hockey Association of Coorg. “People didn’t know each other’s names. Now we all are here.”

    Somanna concurs. “This tournament is a blessing,” he says. “Someone is in Venezuela, someone in north India, someone is studying in Bengaluru or Mysore, someone running his plantation in a different part of the district. It has brought us all together. The concept has worked wonders within the families.”

    After the victory, the Codanda family congregates in the car park. Sandwiches are handed out as players — father and daughter, uncle and nephew, far-flung cousins — joke and swap stories. Fifteen minutes spent observing their potential opponents in the second round and they’re all off, vowing to meet for practice during the coming week. The team has never progressed beyond the third round but results, Somanna insists, are secondary.

    Although the euphoria of the neutral has largely dissipated since the opening day, the families themselves are champing at the bit. They arrive in buses, hired vans, bikes or plush cars, each with their own team jerseys.

    The Mukkatiras of Devanageri (for there are other Mukkatira families, albeit unrelated) have designed a rather smart yellow and white kit, “DM” monogrammed on the front. Manager Nanda Pemmaya watches from one side as his team warms up. “We’ve been training together for three days; we’ll see how far we can go,” he says. “But, win or lose, we’re all meeting at the end of the game. We have lunch and then we split.”

    From a freak goal down, the Mukkatiras recover strongly, hammering four past the Paruvangada goalkeeper. Their young outside-right scores two fine goals, while their 72-year-old forward nets one. Post the hugs and the congratulations, the Mukkatiras get into their cars and head for their wondrously well-maintained iyn mané (ancestral home), an undisturbed quarter hour’s drive away, a right turn off the road to Virajpet.

    Hearty laughter rings out from the pyol as the assembly celebrates the triumph with a few beers. A tough second round fixture awaits his men in eight days’ time, but Pemmaya is not unduly concerned. “The hockey festival is all about bonding, you know,” he says as platefuls of pork are passed around. “It is literally a festival.”

    How it began

    The Kodava hockey festival was conceptualised by Pandanda Kuttappa, a former State league referee, in 1997 and is today run by the Kodava Hockey Academy. Concerned by what he saw as falling standards in hockey in the district, Kuttappa hit upon the idea of a tournament among the families that would encourage more youngsters to take up the sport.

    Though the first edition had only 62 participants, with hockey’s popularity in Coorg and its past there, it was never going to be difficult to draw more families. The numbers grew, with a high of 281 teams in 2003. The 2012 edition has received 217 entries.

    The Kootanda family remains the most successful team, having won four titles (one shared with Kullettira), while the Kullettira, Nellamakkada and Palanganda families have all triumphed thrice. The Kaliyanda, Mandepanda and Anjaparavanda families have won the competition once

    .The Palanganda family, led by star forward Amar Aiyamma, has won the event in 2010 and 2011. The same names are expected to be frontrunners for the title again.

    There is no permanent venue, something organisers are striving to achieve, and the festival has been held across the district in previous years. Ammathi, the site of the 2012 festival, is playing host for the third time

    Beyond numbers or tangible benefits, though, the Kodava hockey festival has accomplished what perhaps nothing else could have: uniting distant families.

    The hosts

    The Kodava Hockey Nammé (festival) is hosted by a different family each year and named after it. A family may not host the event more than once. Families apply to the Kodava Hockey Academy expressing interest and are allotted the tournament after evaluation.

    The Iychettira family, host of the current edition, was offered the chance eight years ago, says I.K. Anil. “But we weren’t ready then. This time, I told the family that we should conduct it. We requested to be allowed to be hosts. It is a matter of great pride and honour. There are over 750 Kodava families and we are the 16th family to be chosen.”

    Anil estimates expenditure to cross a crore; the Government of Karnataka has promised Rs.30 lakh, with the Iychettira family and the event’s sponsors funding the rest.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society / April 28th, 2012

  • scissors
    Sunalini Menon started out as an assistant cup taster for the Coffee Board of India in 1971

    Sunalini Menon started out as an assistant cup taster for the Coffee Board of India in 1971

    The journey of Asia’s first female coffee expert, Sunalini Menon, is one of beating the odds while consuming copious amounts of coffee, says Phorum Dalal

    “But she is a woman, and will be married off soon,” a panel argued.

    The year was 1971, and the dilemma was whether to give the candidate a job of an assistant cup taster on the Coffee Board of India.

    She had topped the written examination and oral tests, competing with PhDs and coffee experts, but the hesitation was due to her gender.

    The person in question was Sunalini Menon, who spent the next 25 years, sipping, slurping and spitting coffee, identifying flavour notes, and determining the quality of the drink for coffee growers in India.

    “The slurping is to expose the sip to oxygen and open its flavours, and spitting is to avoid consuming so much coffee,” the tiny figured lady explains with a broad smile when we meet her in Coorg.

    Her melodious voice has us in rapt attention, as she excitedly spoke of Block no. 19, Tata Coffee’s micro lot from the Nullore estate, selected last year by Starbucks for sale under the Reserve Brand in USA.

    Menon, who consults several traditional coffee growers, has carved a niche for herself. She closely worked on the micro lot (cream of the crop with artisanal properties, usually sold in small quantities for a higher price) that put Indian coffee on the global map.

    The seed was sown in childhood. “In the summers, we would go to Polachi in Coimbatore and visit the tea plantation my uncle was posted at. Labourers picked tea and put it through steaming, drying and rolling processes. During tastings, the tea master would use a penny to weigh the tea. Tasters would slurp, sip and spit out the liquid,” says Menon.

    Imitating them, the kids would take the leftover tea “gargle and make horrendous noises,” laughs Menon.

    After a degree in dietetics, while applying for scholarships in New York Institute of Dietetics, Menon saw Coffee Board of India’s job ad for an assistant cup taster, and “memories of sipping, slurping and spitting came flooding back.” As no woman had ever held the post, she was sure she wouldn’t make it, but soon she completed the board’s two-member team.

    The board sent her to Witnerthone near Zurich for a year-long intensive course in coffee tasting in 1976, followed by a six-month review training in 1982.

    “My hosts exposed me to a lot of international coffees from Peru and Costa Rica, and also sent me to Germany. This was an eye opener, and palate too, because at the time, India didn’t have such exotic coffees. I learnt to identify characters and use my palate to decipher coffee”. When she returned, her boss had retired and she took over to become India’s first cup taster.

    Friends and family would tease her, “Your job is to take coffee breaks. What fun’.

    The sensorial method, though, involved a lot: focusing on fragrance, aroma, flavour, aftertaste, acidity, mouthful, sweetness, balance, uniformity, overall taste and cleanliness of the cup to determine the coffee’s quality.

    “One that secures 80 or above is considered a speciality coffee,” explains Menon, adding that the science and chemistry behind the cup can also be evaluated individually to provide accurate results. “But so far, a holistic scientific value hasn’t been arrived at to conclude on the cup rating. Till it does, I guess we tasters will have a job,” says Menon.

    After the market liberalised in 1996 and growers could sell their own coffee, the board shifted focus to research and training. Menon moved to Japan, where her husband was posted, but coffee growers coaxed her to return and continue independent quality checks and research on their plantation.

    “Coffee has come a long way in India, primarily a tea growing country. The British introduced the coffee plant from Ethiopia. A drink for the elderly and usually consumed at home, it didn’t have a special aura. But the vision of grandmothers using the dabba filter to brew their cup has become a fad after Café Coffee Day (CCD) launched in Bengaluru in 1996,” recalls Menon.

    That’s why, Block No 19 is special. Indian coffee being selected for a limited edition sale by an international company will encourage more plantations to work on micro lots. This milestone has opened a door to make artisanal Indian coffee a stand out,” says the woman who has paved way for women tasters in India. As for her poison, it’s “a blend of robusta and Arabica beans. Black please,” she signs off.

    source: http://www.dnaindia.com / DNA India / Home> Lifestyle / DNA Sunday Team / Sunday – March 05th, 2017

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