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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    Bengaluru :

    As the martial Kodava race gets together to celebrate the annual harvest festival, Puthari, on Tuesday in their homeland Kodagu, they have reason to feel optimistic about their future.

    The Karnataka government has initiated an ethnographic and socio-economic survey to see whether the community qualifies for the tribal status. It’s the second time the survey has been taken up, a response to the alarming decline in population.

    “Our department has been doing the survey for the past two weeks. Apparently, the culture and traditions of the Kodavas are akin to tribals but the government cannot grant them the status unless the survey establishes it,” said P Manivannan, secretary, social welfare department.

    The Centre has also considered a long-pending demand to include Kodava thakk, the Kodava language without a script, in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution and a notification has been issued to initiate the process.

    In 2011, the UPA government directed the then BJP government to take up the survey following petitions by the Codava National Council (CNC), which has been spearheading the community’s cause. It was put on the backburner for political reasons.

    AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes, along with Brijesh Kalappa, legal adviser to the Karnataka state government, recently impressed upon chief minister Siddaramaiah to order the survey to protect the race.

    “Our community is dwindling in numbers very fast for many economic and sociological reasons. The population of Kodagu district is around 5 lakhs, of which Kodavas are not more than 65,000. There is an urgent need to sustain the Kodava genus constitutionally under Articles 340 and 342 of the Constitution that provide for recognizing ethno-linguistic tribal minority nationality,” CNC president N U Nachappa said.

    Kalappa said: “When the last survey was taken up around two decades ago, many Kodava leaders, including prominent political leaders, had opposed it because they felt it was demeaning for the race, renowned for gallantry and sportsmanship. But now there is a sense of awareness among the community because they’ve realized it’s inevitable.”

    The survey report will be given to the government by early next year and the Centre will take a final call based on the recommendations.

    Earlier Kodavas were seen in large numbers in civil services, police and other government jobs but their numbers have dwindled owing to lack of reservation. Though they have been granted Other Backward Classes (OBC) status in the reservation schedule of the state government for jobs and higher education, Kalappa said his community has not gained much since they have to compete with the politically powerful Vokkaliga community that they share under 3A category.

    Will Kodavas qualify?

    Some anthropologists said Kodavas, as a race, are progressive and different from other tribes. “They cannot be compared to tribes like Bedar, Hakki-Pikki and Kadu Kuruba, among others,” said A K Ravesh, a researcher studying socio-cultural anthropology in Kodagu. The Kodava marriage and funeral rituals, among other things, portray a distinctive culture. A former minister also felt that Kodavas will not gain much if they are granted tribal status since the combined reservation for all STs is just 3% compared to 4% under OBC offered by the state government.

    Scheduled Tribe tag

    The Constitution does not provide a definition of a Scheduled Tribe. Artice 366 (25) mentions “such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes…” According to the website of the Union ministry of tribal affairs: “The criterion followed for specification of a community as Scheduled Tribes are indications of primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness of contact with the community at large, and backwardness”.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City News> Bangalore News / TNN / December 13th, 2016

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    In the northern part of the Mahadevpet quarter of Madikeri town lies a royal graveyard, unbeknownst to many. Gaddige is a set of three regal mausoleums built in the Indo-Saracenic style and enclosed within a compound. Upon each of these rectangular structures is a large dome and four turrets. Two kings of Kodagu (Dodda Vira Rajendra and Linga Rajendra) and their queens lay buried in the two larger identical structures and a third smaller one has the remains of the chief preceptor (Rudrappa) of the kings.

    Beside these three tombs, at a little distance away but within the same enclosure, are the tombs of a father-son duo Biddanda Bopanna (Bopu) (1769-1807) and Biddanda Somayya (1800-1879). They had served Kodagu and its kings as sarva-karyakaras, or army generals. While Bopu was the general under Dodda Vira Rajendra (1789-1809), Somayya was the general under Chikka Vira Rajendra (1820-1834). Both tombs have the statue of a Nandi upon it.

    Under the Kodagu kings, jamma ryots (farmers by inheritance) held their farmlands by military tenure. The word jamma came from the Sanskrit word for birth, janma. Every able-bodied male jamma ryot had to compulsorily serve in the king’s army. Known as chaudigaras, they worked for 15 days at a time. Around 10 to 100 soldiers served under an army chieftain called the jamedar and a number of jamedars served under an army officer called karyakara. The karyakaras worked under a sarva-karyakaras, or the general. The karyakaras and the sarva-karyakara wore a kombu toppi, a gold zari-bordered red turban with a kombu (horned emblem) in front.

    A Kannada inscription states that Biddanda Bopu of Bavali village entered the Raja’s service through palace duties on the fifth day of the new moon of Magha month in the Keelaka year (1788). He worked for 19 years until the year Prabhava, bravely risking his life while fighting wars against Tipu Sultan of Mysore and hunting elephants, tigers and other wild animals, to ultimately become a sarva-karyakara. The Biddanda family originated in Kokeri village in Kodagu nearly three centuries ago. In this Kokeri house lived brothers Medappa and Poonacha. Medappa was a member of the local village panchayat and he married Chaniyapanda Subbavva in 1768. They had a son Bopu, who was born in 1769 on what was deemed to be an inauspicious day by the panchayat members. It was decreed that the son’s face was not to be seen by the father and that the mother was not to be allowed into the house. Hence, the mother and the son lived with the maternal family in Podavada village.

    Chronicles of the pastUnfortunately, after some time, both Medappa and Subbavva passed away. The orphaned boy was then brought to the Kokeri Biddanda house by his uncle Poonacha. In 1788, at the age of 19, Bopu joined the king’s army. He worked hard and rose through the ranks to become a karyakara. Poonacha and his wife passed away and their two daughters were married into other families. In 1795, the king transferred Poonacha’s property, which was called ‘Mookanda Bane’ (pasture), to Bopu and his paternal relatives for the military services they had rendered.

    Bopu moved from Kokeri to Bavali where he built a ‘Nalkett Mundmane’ — a traditional country house (mane) with four blocks (nalkett) built around an open central courtyard (mund). This became the ‘Biddanda Ainmane’, or ancestral home, in Bavali. One can find description of many events pertaining to Karyakara Biddanda Bopu in Reverend Hermann Moegling’s Coorg Memoirs.

    In 1799, the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War broke out between Tipu Sultan and the British. When the British laid siege upon Srirangapatna, the erstwhile capital of Mysore kingdom, Dodda Vira Rajendra sent his treasurer Karnika Subbayya and his officer Karyakara Bopu to invade the Tulu region, which was then a part of the Mysore State. Bopu led the Kodagu army and defeated Sadri Behari and Mir Mohammed who held the Kodial (Mangalore) district. Soon, Kodagu occupied Mangalore, Barkur, Bantwal, Bellare, Viragamba, Udiavara and other regions. Karnika Subbayya came to hold and govern Kodial at that time.

    Eventually, news came from Srirangapatna that Tipu Sultan was killed and that Mysore was taken over by the British. Later, Kodagu was made to evacuate the Tulu region and return it to Mysore. Karyakara Bopu was later made the sarva-karyakara of Kodagu. Biddanda Somayya was born in the year Roudri (1800) to Bopu and his wife Mayavva. Bopu died in 1807 at the young age of 38 years. In commemoration of his remarkable army tenure, the king of Kodagu ordered that Bopu be entombed near the royal tombs of Gaddige.

    Somayya joined the Raja’s army in 1821. Like his father, he rose through the ranks to become a sarva-karyakara. In 1834, Kodagu got into a conflict with the British. Under him, the Kodagu army was able to inflict damage upon the British army initially. But Chikka Vira Rajendra, the last king of Kodagu, chose to surrender to the British. He was then exiled and the British took over Kodagu.

    In those days, the British decreed that all the native officers would be retained in service. But Sarva-karyakara Somayya refused to be in the service of the new government and thus, retired early instead. After his retirement, Somayya lived in the Bavali Biddanda Ainmane and got involved in farming. But he did have one last wish. After his death, he wanted to be buried beside his father and before the rajas of Kodagu. The British allowed this and refused to have anybody else, including any surviving relatives of the rajas, to be buried in the Gaddige area. Somayya died on August 16, 1879. His tomb was erected in Gaddige with the permission of the Chief Commissioner of Coorg. There is a separate graveyard for other members of the Biddanda family in Bavali as well. While the tombs lie neglected today, their history and significance continue to throw light on the history of our people.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / By Mookanda Kushalappa / November 08th, 2016

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    In the hills of Coorg in Karnataka lies Madikeri, the town that gives a military feel & charms with its orderliness

    Where order prevails: View from the Raja’s Seat garden; The church in the Fort, now an ASI Museum; Two of the Royal Tombs; The Sri Omkaresvara Siva Temple Photos by the writers

    Where order prevails: View from the Raja’s Seat garden; The church in the Fort, now an ASI Museum; Two of the Royal Tombs; The Sri Omkaresvara Siva Temple Photos by the writers

    Hugh and Colleen Gantzer

    At first glance, Madikeri looks as precise and orderly as a cantonment. In a way, that’s what it is. According to a coffee-planter, “If you throw a stone in Madikeri, you’ll hit a General. If you throw two stones, you’ll probably get a brace of Colonels, bristly moustaches and all!” This could account for the military look of this cottage-dotted town in the hills of Coorg in Karnataka. Madikeri’s narrow, winding roads were meant for brisk walkers and horses. We felt this when we drove through the town to the Palace Fort.

    It certainly is a Fort, with thick walls and deep gates. At the far end of its grounds, next to two enormous effigies of elephants is a board that proclaims:

    “Mercara was founded by Prince Mudduraja of the Haleri dynasty in 1681 and named after him as Muddurajanakeri. This later became Madikeri by the locals. The British called it Mercara.”

    At one corner is a steepled building, now a museum with hero-stones standing erect in the yard. We walked across this former Anglican Church. The light streaming in through its beautiful stained glass windows added to its meditative ambience, ideal for a museum. And, in a fitting tribute to India’s revered Field Marshal Cariappa, the former little vestry had been dedicated to the memory of this unforgettable army chief. He was a Coorgi, a Kodava.

    From such shrines to the past, we drove down into town and parked at the gate of a living shrine: the impressive Sri Omkaresvara Temple.
    Officially this is a Siva temple of the Lingayats but there are distinctly Islamic idioms in its eclectic architecture. It has a central dome with minarets at the four corners, surmounted by their own, smaller, domes. It is possible that the influence of Tipu Sultan had a lasting impact on the architects of this temple. It was built by Lingaraja II in 1820, just 21 years after Tipu Sultan died in Srirangapatna. We saw the Islamic influence even in other Lingayat monuments crowning a green hill referred to as Gaddige. A plaque installed at the foot of one of the plinths read ‘Royal Tombs’. Built in the Indo-Sarcenic (sic!) style, these monuments with domes and minarets, hold the mortal remains of Kodava Royalty and court dignitaries.

    The central tomb is of Dodaveerarajendra and his queen. To the right is the tomb of Lingarajendra built by his son Chikkaveerarajendra in AD 1820. To the left is the tomb of the royal priest Rudrappa, built in 1834.

    Nearby are buried two royal officials, Biddanda Bopu, who died fighting Tipu Sultan, and his son Biddanda Somaieh. Clearly these warrior people opposed anyone who tried to cub their freedom to decide their own future.

    Our immediate future, however, was constrained by the weather. We looked up at the roiling clouds above us. These were threatening but it hadn’t rained. We decided to rush down to Abbi Falls before a storm boxed us in.

    Abbi was spectacular. Even though the water was not gushing in its roaring monsoon fury. it foamed and cascaded over rocks, frothing and surging before pouring into a large pool, and then flowing under a suspension bridge. The falls are well worth visiting but do treat that forest path with a great deal of respect.

    It was almost sunset when we reached Raja’s Seat, a popular public garden with horizon-stretching views of the plains. Had the ancestors of the Coorgis battled across those lowlands? We began to think about the origin of the Kodavas.

    Their traditional masculine dress of a turban, long coat, sash and curved dagger points strongly to a Middle Eastern connection. The Kodavas have no temples or pujaris, they conduct all their religious or social ceremonies themselves, and revere their ancestors. The Kurds of the Zagros and Taurus mountains of Turkey, Iran and Iraq are also known for their proud and independent nature. Were they the ancestors of the Kodavas? ‘Kurd’ and ‘Kodava’ have a certain similar ring. A popular theory claims that they are the descendants of people who were part of the army of Alexander the Great.

    That could explain the very no-nonsense character of their mountain home, Madikeri.

    source: http://www.tribuneindia.com / The Tribune / Home> Spectrum> Travel / October 23rd, 2016

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    Kodagu, in Karnataka, is the main catchment area of the river Cauvery – and the environmental health of this district has a direct impact on the river itself. As the battle between states continues over the sharing of Cauvery waters, we visit the source of the river to see the ecological challenges at the birthplace of this precious river.

    Kodagu’s Cauvery – A River In Trouble
    04:12 / 18:48

    source: http://www.youtube.com


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    Bengaluru :

    Near Ponnapet in Virajpet taluk, Kodagu district, the sight that greets the visitor is one of lush paddy fields extending till the very edge of the horizon. However, a wide stretch of land leaden with construction material with a tiny makeshift office, is a blemish on Kodagu’s otherwise pristine landscape.

    White boards reading Converted Site For Sale and pointing, rather ironically, towards verdant green fields is a common sight across the district. Interestingly, some of these plots cost more than a flat in the heart of Bengaluru.

    Reflecting on the sharp spurt in the price of land in the district in the past decade, president of the Coorg Wildlife Society, Colonel CP Muthanna said, “Ten years ago, an acre cost Rs 7 lakh. Now, it is almost Rs 1 crore, and many layouts have cropped up in the last five years.” The many residential enclaves that have cropped up, mostly on wetlands and agricultural fields, might have resulted in the land prices shoot up, but they have had a disastrous effect on the flow of rain water into the many streams and brooks that feed the Cauvery River, which originates in the district. A school built on paddy fields near Gonikoppa in Virajpet is faced with the problem of flooding almost annually.

    However, it is those who practise agriculture who have to bear the brunt of these ill-thought out development projects. Gopakumar M, who has been studying otters in the Cauvery River, said, “Paddy was the primary crop that was grown by farmers here. Now, cultivation has come down by 50%, since many have abandoned it because of labour costs, irregular rainfall pattern and lack of business.”

    However, Muthanna laid the blame at the government’s feet, for its failure to encourage cultivation of indigenous varieties of paddy. “Sellers are saying that they are giving up because of high labour costs and rainfall patterns; they aren’t good enough reasons. Most sell them for the money,” he said.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City News> Bangalore / Aditi Sequeira / TNN / October 15th, 2016

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    Nestled in the verdant landscape of hills and forests, Kodagu is considered as one of the most beautiful hill stations in Karnataka. Popular for its serene nature, rich biodiversity, quality coffee, vibrant culture and brave warriors, the district has made great strides in tourism and agriculture. Located in the Western Ghats mountain range, Kodagu has many places of tourist interest. During the monsoons, nature is at its best here with spectacular sights of rivers and waterfalls. Trekking, water sports and nature-watching are some of the common activities people get indulged in while farmers get busy in agricultural activities. Here is a glimpse into the diversity of Kodagu in the rainy season.

    The charm of water
    The Brahmagiri hill range in the western and southern parts of Kodagu has some of the highest peaks of Karnataka such as Thadiyandamol. Near Thadiyandamol, and on the way west from the town of Virajpet (about 16 km away) towards Talacauvery, is a beautiful natural cascade called the Chelavara Falls beside the village of Cheyyandane. This waterfall is within a forest and is part of a stream, which eventually joins River Cauvery. Chelavara is also called Embepare or Tortoise rock colloquially. There is a beautiful hill called Choma Kund, a couple of kilometres away. Chelavara is accessible from Madikeri and Virajpet by road.

    River Lakshmanathirtha takes birth in the forests of Western Ghats and flows through Kodagu and Mysuru until it merges with River Cauvery at the Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) in Mandya. Near Kurchi village in South Kodagu, this tributary cascades down a rocky hill, forming a waterfall. The waterfall is called as Irupu Falls. Legend has it that Rama, Lakshmana and Hanuman had come to this place and when Rama was thirsty, Lakshmana shot an arrow into the hills and hence, River Lakshmanathirtha was born. There is one more version of the story, which says that Lakshmana had once unwittingly insulted Rama and later, tried to immolate himself in repentance. In order to douse the fire and save Lakshmana, Rama shot an arrow into the rocks and the stream was formed. A Shiva linga was installed by Rama to aid his prayers. Nearby is the Hanuman Betta. One will be pointed out to a crescent shaped depression on that hill and told that it was formed when the powerful Hanuman wound his large tail around it in an attempt to heave it. The Irupu Falls can be reached by road from the towns of Virajpet or Gonikoppal. The best time to visit the falls is monsoon.

    River Barapole near T Shettigeri is accessible from Virajpet and is a good site for white water rafting. It has a number of rapids with strange sounding names such as Grasshopper, Morning Coffee, Wicked Witch, Frame Head and Milky Churn. The river takes birth in the Brahmagiri hills, meanders through forests and coffee plantations and then disappears into the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. The greenery on either side is infested with reptiles and insects, so the traveller needs to take precautions. The rivulet eventually goes west into Kerala and descends into the Arabian Sea.

    Nishani Motte is a lesser-known peak near the temple town of Bhagamandala which is known for Triveni Sangam, a confluence of three rivers. Nishani motte is a good place for trekkers but one must seek permission from the Forest Department and follow a ‘leave no trace’ policy in order to safeguard the ecology of the area. A part of the trail has to be taken by jeep. If one is lucky, then he or she can spot elephants grazing below the hills. One also needs to watch out for leeches.

    The rain god
    The Padi Igguthappa Temple dedicated to Igguthappa, considered as the god of rains, is located near the town of Kakkabe in the Thadiyandamol region and is accessible by road. In Kodagu, Igguthappa is venerated as a hero god and especially remembered during Puttari, the harvest festival. While River Cauvery is called the kula devi or patron goddess, Igguthappa is known as mahaguru, or chief preceptor. He is also considered as the giver of food. It is one of the most ancient temples in Kodagu.

    The main annual temple festival of Padi Igguthappa happens around April. The date of Puttari festival is decided in the Igguthappa temple. The festival begins in the temple and the crop is first offered here. Only then the people of Kodagu celebrate the festival. During the harvest festival, people invoke Igguthappa, Mahadeva and Baithurappa (the deity of Vayathur).

    According to a ballad, Igguthappa had five brothers and a sister, and all were reincarnations of various deities. Born across the celestial milky ocean, they arrived as children in the northern Malabar coast.While three elder brothers settled in different places of worship as deities, the remaining four siblings crossed the Western Ghats and entered Kodagu. Led by Igguthappa, the eldest among them, they came near a hill in the village of Kakkabe. There, they felt hungry and hence came to a halt. They were in the family property of Nambimada Muthanna, a local farmer and landlord. Later, Muthanna had the Padi Igguthappa Temple built. His descendants became the hereditary managers of that temple. Though the temple’s history dates back to several centuries, the present temple is said to be built by a king a couple of centuries ago.

    Among the younger brothers of Igguthappa, one was an avatar of Lord Mahalingeshwara. He settled down in the village of Palur along River Cauvery and came to be known as Palurappa. Pemmayya, the last of the brothers went southward dressed as a yogi. He crossed the Brahmagiri hill range and settled down in Thirunelli, Wayanad. His temple came to be known as Janardhana Temple, named after the deity whose avatar he was. The sister came to be known as Ponnangalatamme as she was destined to settle in Ponnangala in Yavakapadi village.

    During the monsoons, races called the naati ota are organised upon the paddy fields of Kodagu. A long strip of land in a paddy field is left uncultivated. Both sides of this strip have three parallel rows of paddy seedlings, called naati. These rows are also called darae naati as they show the way to the runners. The track is set in the night. It is usually the farmers themselves who get together and organise the ota, or race. Traditionally, the runners gather from the neighbouring villages. They race across the track and through the slush, stumbling along the way. The winners are given a prize money. After the race, the track will have seedlings planted in them.

    The event attracts large numbers of people from villages and towns. Be it rural sports rooted in culture or historical temples or serene places, Kodagu has something for everyone.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / by Mookonda Kushalappa / August 02nd, 2016

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    Bengaluru :

    Work and family pressure, over population, fatigue and to top it off, the ever increasing pollution – air, water, sound – you name it. This is the average life of a Bangalorean who, like thousands of their peers could not resist the pull of the cut–throat business and money of the corporate industry and not to forget the pub culture.

    With the influx of so much poison, contaminating our bodily fluids, there are moments when one looks for a way out, even if only for a short while. Imagine chill mornings, under heavy blankets, waking up to the sounds of birds chirping rather than the blaring horns of the city. Imagine long walks through green and luscious estates with the ever present aroma of coffee. Imagine drinking the best brewed coffee while watching raindrops hit the ground, the smell of the mud the very scent of the earth itself. Welcome to Coorg!

    Situated at some 250km to the east of Bengaluru, the hill-station district of Coorg or Kodagu is one of the most beautiful places of Karnataka. It holds a certain charm and mystique unlike any other place. In particular – Madikeri, the chief township of the district.

    Monsoon is the best time to visit Coorg. The heavy rainfall somehow makes the place ever more beautiful. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Kodagu include Talakaveri, Bhagamandala, Nisargadhama, Abbey Falls, Dubare, Nagarahole National Park, Iruppu Falls, and the Tibetan Buddhist Golden Temple.

    Particularly in Madikeri, the Raja’s seat is the most prominent tourist spot, with an extraordinary view of the sunrise and the sunset. A big, open-air garden, overlooking the green hills and valleys of Coorg, the Raja’s seat is believed to have been recreational spot for Kodava kings, who, along with their consorts spent their sunsets enjoying the scenic change of the colours of the sky.

    Apart from these, there are loads of trekking spots and coffee estates which are refreshments to both the mind and the soul. And one should not forget to buy his coffee and home-made chocolates which are a specialty of the place.

    Plan fast, drive safe and have an extraordinary experience!!

    source: http://www.siliconindia.com / Silicon India / Home> Silicon India News> Life / by SiliconIndia / Friday – July 29th, 2016

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    The coffee land is all set to witness the 80th Kannada literary meet scheduled to begin on January 7, after a long gap of 32 years. Earlier, Madikeri has witnessed two literary meets – the 18th literary meet in 1932 under the leadership of D V Gundappa and the 54th literary meet in 1982 under the leadership of Dr Shambha Joshi.

    Interestingly, despite being one of the smallest districts in Karnataka, it has a wide variety of culture as well as languages that include Kodava, Arebashe Gowda and Malayalam, yet the region has managed to retain the flavour of State language.

    If one goes down the pages of history, the little district with unique weather and culture has contributed immensely for the development of Kannada language. The Ganga – Kongwala – Hoysala and Haleri dynasties, perhaps laid the strong foundation for Kannada through inscriptions way back in the 9th century. In the 10th century, Nagaverma had created ‘Chandombudi’ and ‘Punyashrava,’ according to the reference available at ‘Kodagu Sahithya – Sanskrithi Darshana,’ published by Kodagu District Kannada Sahithya Parishat.

    During the Chengalva dynasty, the third Mangarasa had published ‘Jayanrupa Kavya’ and ‘Samyukta Kaumudi’ (1508), while his cousin Nanjunda had written ‘Kumara Ramana Kathe.’

    There are documents to prove that the first epic ‘Rama Vijaya Kavya’ was written by Devappa, a Jain poet in 1540. Similarly, Dodda Veera Rajendra, who ruled Kodagu between 1789 and 1809, has the credit of documenting history titled ‘Rajendra Name’ in Kannada. The II Linga Rajendra, who ruled Kodagu between 1810 and 1820 had written a book pertaining to land in Kodagu entitled ‘Lingarajana Shisthu.’

    The 19th century

    The leading name of 19th century pertaining to literature is that of Panje Mangesh Rao, who served as a teacher in Kodagu in 1920s. He had penned poems pertaining to Hutthari festivities among other literary works. In fact, he was the president of All India Kannada literary meet held in Raichur in 1934.

    Haradasa Appacchha Kavi, popularly known as the Adi Kavi of Kodagu had penned many plays including ‘Savithri,’ ‘Yayathi,’ ‘Kaveri’ and ‘Subramanya’ in Kodava language. The same were translated to Kannada language by Dr I M Muttanna, who also hailed from Kodagu.

    Kodagina Gowramma

    The first woman story writer in Kannada literary field, Gowramma, hailed from Kodagu and she is known as ‘Kodagina Gowramma.’ Born in Madikeri in 1912, she did her early schooling in Madikeri and married to B T Gopalakrishna in 1928.

    From 1931, she wrote a number of articles and stories in the name of ‘Mrs G T G Krishna’. Most of her stories were based on the theme of women’s problems. However, she passed away in 1940 when she was just 28 years old. When Mahathma Gandiji arrived at Kodagu, she had invited Gandhiji to her home and she had donated her jewellery for the cause of freedom.


    A teacher by profession, ‘Bharathisutha’ was the pen name of S R Narayana Rao. Based on the life story of Kodagu ruler Siribai Dodda Veerappa, he had written ‘Huliya Haalina Mevu,’ which was later made into a film by the same name.

    His other stories too have been made into films and they include ‘Girikanye,’ ‘Edakallu Guddada Mele’ and ‘Bayalu Daari’ among others. His work on ‘Solle Haraduva Rogagalu’ (Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes) and ‘Giliyu Panjaradolilla’ (The parrot is not in the cage) earned him Central government award and Karnataka Sahithya Academy award respectively.

    Kittel’s footsteps

    Rev Fr Ferdinand Kittel, who contributed immensely to the field of Kannada literature has left indelible marks in Kodagu, prominent among them include the Kannada – English dictionary.

    A German missionary, who served in Kodagu church (presently knownn as Shanthi church) between 1871 and 1876, was the first parish priest of the church. Rev Kittel started learning Kannada after going around the coffee land, says the present parish priest of the church.

    DH News Service

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> District / by Srikanth Kallammanavar / Madikeri – DHNS, January 05th, 2014

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    A rare document from 1931 reveals the role played by freedom fighters from Kodagu

    Legacy: A picture of freedom fighters with Mallengada Chengappa (right) at the laying of the foundation stone for the Freedom Fighters' memorial in Gonicoppa on December 16, 1998.

    Legacy: A picture of freedom fighters with Mallengada Chengappa (right) at the laying of the foundation stone for the Freedom Fighters’ memorial in Gonicoppa on December 16, 1998.

    A rare document from 1931 obtained by The Hindu here speaks volumes about people from Kodagu district who were in the forefront of the freedom struggle under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

    The people of Kodagu had issued a ‘manapatra’ then, a letter of honour, commending and saluting the 98 brave men and women who revolted against the British, following the footsteps of the Father of the Nation. They had taken part in the satyagraha in 1930-31 and were incarcerated.

    Pandyanda Belliappa, Kollimada Karumbaiah, Chekkera Monnaiah, Makki Krishnaiah, Mallengada Chengappa, Abdul Gafoor Khan, Ajjikuttira Chinnappa, Ponnimada Machaiah, Kalengada Chinnappa, K.M. Subraya, Puliyanda Subbaiah, V. R. Thammaiah, Bidarur Madaiah, Chokira Madappa, Poojari Muthappa, Pandikanda Madappa, H.R. Krishnaiah were some among the people honoured by the people of Kodagu in 1931. Puliyanda Subbaiah, who hailed from Maggula village, was a true Gandhian till his death. He wore Khadi and counselled patience whenever a rift arose among people. So was V.R. Thammaiah, another Gandhian, who also hailed from the village. Elders say that H.R. Krishnaiah even refused to apply for pension after Independence saying if the Government recognised his contribution, it should come to his doorstep and give him the pension papers.

    Even women did not lag behind. Kotera Accavva, Balyatanda Muddavva, Mukkatira Bojamma, Machimanda Medakka, Appanderanda Kalamma also joined the freedom struggle. The manapatra given to them on March 11, 1931, stated that they had been imprisoned for preaching the message of Mahatma Gandhi and taking part in the satyagraha.

    The manapatra further stated that the people of Kodagu would not be able to offer them (the freedom fighters) privileges such as ‘Jahagir’, ‘Umbali’ — both land grants for service rendered — or ‘Pinchani’ (pension), but would carry forward the noble message of freedom struggle, support and abide by it.

    A sentence read significantly that “Bharata mateya makallada Kodaginavaru drohigalalla, Bhartada veera putra putriyaru embudannu prapanchakke saridiri”. This meant “the people of Kodagu, who are the children of mother India, are not traitors. You have heralded a message to the world that you are valiant sons and daughters of India.” The people who were mentioned in the manapatra at the function presided by Biddanda Subbaiah, also had taken a pledge to follow the ideals propounded by Gandhiji such as ‘swadeshi’ and liquor prohibition.

    A section of people might feel that some people of Kodagu supported the British. But it cannot be forgotten that Guddemane Appaiah Gowda who had fought the British was hanged at the Fort here by the British on October 31, 1837, much before the Sepoy Mutiny took place.

    Kodagina Gowramma had offered all her jewellery to Gandhiji when he had visited here soliciting peoples’ support for continuing the freedom movement in the early 1930s.

    It is an unfortunate irony that the Freedom Fighters’ memorial, the work for which started at Gonicoppa 12 years ago and the Guddemane Appaiah Gowda memorial, of which works are now underway, are yet to be completed.


    The ‘manapatra’ saluted the 98 men and women who revolted against the British

    The work on the Freedom Fighters’ memorial at Gonicoppa started 12 years ago


    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Karnataka / by Staff Correspondent / Madikeri – August 15th, 2010

  • scissors

    Watershed moments


    Near the 10th mile from Virajpet is the traditional Ainmane homestead of the Meriyanda extended family. It is reported that several generations ago an unmarried lady, addressed as Balliavva, raised her brothers’ children. The descendants of the boys among them are part of the Meriyanda clan today. According to Gappu Ganapathy, a member of the Meriyanda clan, one historical family member who was called Maanichcha Moli (master), had 2 wives and 6 sons. The eldest among the boys was Meriyanda Medappa, affectionately called Medu, whose mother was from the Marichanda family. Four of his 5 younger brothers were known as Chettichcha, Kunjappa, Aiyappa and Ponnappa.

    Medappa, who was a government official, was made a Dewan under Linga Rajendra, the Raja of Kodagu between the years 1811-1820. However, it is said that Medu was a Dewan only for 18 days. During a particular battle when Medu was stationed at the Nalnad palace, he sent his brother Chettichcha to the western border of the Kodagu kingdom. In the meantime, Medu’s rival had spread rumours to the Raja that Medu had sent his brother to the enemies in order to sell them official secrets.

    Following this, Medu was charged with treason and made to run around the palace. The intention was to make him run into the king’s oidekatthi, a traditional sword also known as the ayudha katthi, which was positioned in the courtyard in a manner that it would slit open the runner’s neck. However, Medu ducked while he ran into the sword; so it was only his scalp that was cut off. Although he was only unconscious, the palace servants assumed he was dead and told the Raja so.

    Twist of events
    Meanwhile, Chettichcha won the battle and the news made the Raja regret his decision. Medu, who was revived by a toddy drawer returned to the palace a few days later and was honoured with the Raja’s oidekatthi bearing the small, embossed, golden ‘lin’ seal of the Raja stamped upon it. This sword, made peculiar by the rare stamp, originally had an ivory hilt; but was replaced by a wooden handle when it broke. The most commonly found seals of the Kodagu Rajas bear either of the Kannada syllables ‘vi’ or ‘lin’. While ‘lin’ belonged to Linga Rajendra, the ‘vi’ belonged to his elder brother and predecessor Dodda Vira Rajendra.

    In the early 19th century, 3 paintings of Dewan Medu and the Kodagu Raja were commissioned. While the recipient (Dewan Medu) looks the same, the Raja appears to be different in each of the paintings. We can speculate that Linga Rajendra himself adopted different styles as he aged or they were actually different Rajas, probably Dodda Vira Rajendra (1789-1809) and Chikka Vira Rajendra (1820-1834), under whom Medu would have served as an official and advisor.

    On canvas
    In these paintings, Medu wears a red cloth head-dress, which has projections in front, and a thin kombu mishe (handlebar moustache), kept by the accomplished brave men of those times. He wears ear rings and is dressed in a white coloured kuppya (a traditional, long-sleeved tunic) with an ornate knife, called the piche katthi, secured in his chele (waistband).

    Even the Rajas don’t seem to be spared by rules of propriety; in this case, they had to have something held in their right hands when seen in public. They are either holding hunting falcons or holding what appears to be some sort of a flower or a jewel in their right hands. While the original paintings have been kept elsewhere for safekeeping and preservation, black and white copies have been put up for display in the ancestral house. A spear of the olden days, known as barchi, has also been kept there.

    Family heirlooms, such as these paintings and swords, which are part of a heritage, are to be preserved for posterity. A number of similar beautiful paintings had been commissioned by the Kodagu Rajas, especially between 1792 and 1834, and given to different families across Kodagu. It is however unfortunate that we are not aware of the identity of the artists who drew them.

    Likewise, the ayudha katthis issued by the Rajas bear their respective syllabic regal insignia. One good specimen of a sword with the ‘vi’ syllable has found its way to the London Museum in the United Kingdom, where it is on display today.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / by Mookonda Kushalappa / June 28th, 2016

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