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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    November 27th, 2017adminAbout Kodagu / Coorg, Leaders, Records, All
    Rajya Sabha Member Subramanian Swamy was taken out in a procession during Codava National Council Day in Madikeri on Sunday.

    Rajya Sabha Member Subramanian Swamy was taken out in a procession during Codava National Council Day in Madikeri on Sunday.

    Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy promised to extend his support to the issue of autonomous and union territory status to the Kodava land and tribal status to Kodavas.

    “The support that I had extended for Telangana will be extended to the Kodavas too,” he said.

    He was speaking at the Codava National Council Day organised by Codava National Council here on Sunday.

    “Owing to long struggle, Telangana was separated from Andhra Pradesh. Similar struggle was held in Uttarakhand. Kodagu will get autonomous status in future,” he predicted.

    “Kodavas are not demanding a separate country like Pakistan. They are demanding constitutional rights. The demand for separate state or a union territory is not wrong,” Swamy said.

    Black money
    “Black money from different parts of the country is reaching Kodagu.

    Those who are involved in corruption are purchasing properties in Kodagu district. Former Union minister P Chidambaram, even multinational companies own properties in Kodagu,” he said.

    Stating that the BJP is not engaged in vote bank politics, he said that no Muslim candidate was fielded by the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. In spite of it, the BJP won the election, he pointed out.

    “In the name of labourers, several illegal migrants have entered the district. They have availed of Aadhaar and ration card facilities as well,” he said.

    CNC president N U Nachappa was present during the ceremony.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> District / DH News Service / Madikeri – November 26th, 2017

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    Faded colour, blackened walls, pathetic condition of the roof and plastic sheets to protect from rain…This is the story of historical Madikeri Fort. The fort throws light on the glorious grandeur of a bygone era. However, it is in a neglected state.

    The magnificent fort is in ruins due to the negligence of the authorities of the Department of Archaeology. Due lack of maintenance, a portion of the fort has collapsed.

    Owing to lack of government buildings in Kodagu district, the fort has been converted for the administrative purposes. It is referred to as ‘Hale Vidhana Soudha.’ The fort houses Zilla Panchayat office, land documents assistant director’s office, department for the Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens, offices of MLAs K G Bopaiah, M P Appachu Ranjan, MLCs Sunil Subramani and Veena Achiah, district library, court complex and Agriculture department.

    “Hundreds of vehicles enter the premises of the Fort. The Fort is losing its identity. Though a signboard on the protected monument is placed, attempts are being made to disfigure the monument,” said local residents.

    There is no protection for ‘Firangi’ and accessory of rulers. The tourists will be disappointed after viewing the Fort.

    It was said that Haleri ruler Mudduraja had constructed mud fort and palace in the 17th century. Later, it was rebuilt by Tipu Sultan and named it as Jaffarabad. In 1790, Dodda Veerarajendra confiscated the Fort. The Fort came under British rule in 1834.

    The magnificent Fort is visible from any corner of Madikeri town. The fort is in the shape of the circle and two rock-cut elephants attract the visitors. The museum of the Department of Archaeology and Museums is situated in a church built in 1855. The palace that was built by Immadi Lingaraja Odeyar houses government offices and the palace is in a shambles.

    Tourist guide Prakash said, “Tourists are not keen on entering the palace. The rare photographs have lost its charm and beauty. The authorities have not taken any measure to conserve palace that may cease to be a heritage site shortly.”

    DH News Service
    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> District / by Adithya KA / DH News Service / Madikeri – October 21st, 2017

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    Pattedar's graves

    Pattedar’s graves

    A few of the families in Kodagu maintain the tombs of their distinguished ancestors. A few families are also in the possession of paintings of their ancestors being felicitated by the kings. A few others maintain artefacts such as oide katti, also known as a billhook-shaped war knive, with king’s insignia upon them.

    The Thathanda family is one such family that received three of these honours.

    They have their ainmane, or ancestral house, in Kuklur village of Virajpet taluk. Their ancestral house was formerly a mundu mane, a house with an open, central courtyard, which is called a mund. The sepulchre of their renowned ancestor Karyagara (officer) Thathanda Subbayya lies some distance away from the ainmane. It has a Nandi figure upon it. Beside this tomb is an unmarked grave. Both these tombs are within an enclosure.

    Nearby in the same graveyard are two large graves. The names of two of the four buried there were not known to us. Clansman Thathanda Nanaiah explains, “Subbayya ajja’s (forefather) elder brother had a son who addressed ajja as kunjappa (one of the names for a paternal uncle). After ajja’s death, this nephew inherited his possessions. It is this nephew’s grave which lies beside the tomb of ajja and within the boundary. The two buried outside the boundary were clan elders, each called a pattedar. ”

    According to his book, Kodagina Itihasa (1974), historian D N Krishnaiah came to learn of Karyagara Subbayya from the Thathanda elders. In 1811, two British officers General Welsh and Captain Williamson visited the court of the then king of Kodagu, Linga Rajendra. They were pleased with the hospitality offered. When the king heard the news of a rogue tusker, he proposed a hunt and his guests agreed. Thathanda Subbayya was given the responsibility of organising the hunt.

    Accompanied by elephants and attendants, the hunting party set out to the jungle. In the trees and around a forest clearing, boxed seats made of cane were prepared. Ladders were used to reach it. The king, the two Englishmen and others settled themselves in the cane boxes. Kodava pikemen, with their long spears, would comb the jungle and drive the prey into the clearing during a hunt. Several drum beaters would aid the hunters by scaring the animals with their noise. This way, the wild tusker was driven into the clearing and shot dead.

    Pleased with Subbayya’s arrangements, the king honoured him with a gold medal and gifted him a gun. Subbayya was also awarded a oide katti with the king’s insignia on it. A painting of Subbayya and the king was also gifted to him. However, some people grew jealous of Subbayya and schemed against him. The opportunity came when the king received complaints about cattle-stealing tigers.

    A hunt was organised by Subbayya in order to eliminate the tigers. On the night before the hunt, Subbayya ensured that the cane seats were securely placed in the area where the hunt was to take place. When he left, his enemies loosened the seats. The next day, when the king shot a tiger, the seat he was on fell apart and he fell. Furious, he demanded to have the head of the man who had set up these seats. Subbayya was blamed for what was thought to be a shoddy work. As he was deep in the forest with the other hunters, the executioners were sent out to behead Subbayya.

    One servant ran before them and told Subbayya everything that had transpired. Subbayya was unhappy as there was no way for him to prove his innocence. Subbayya told the servant to convey to the king that he had been framed and sent him back. As Subbayya did not want to be punished for a crime he did not commit, he shot himself. When the king came to know what had taken place, he was displeased. Subbayya was buried on his family farm. Enquiries were held and the king discovered that Subbayya was indeed innocent. The king had a mausoleum built over Subbayya’s grave.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements / by Mookonda Kushalappa / August 15th, 2017

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    Protest planned against ‘ecologically destructive’ projects

    Members of nearly 30 organisations have launched a “Save Kodagu, Save Cauvery” campaign to protest the ecologically destructive projects sanctioned in Kodagu on Saturday.

    The activists will stage a protest in Kutta on the Karnataka-Kerala border to register their opposition to the 400 kV power line project passing through the district, the proposed railway line – one linking with Mysuru and the other with Thalassery in Kerala — besides linking of NHs cutting across the district.

    “Most of these projects are not required for Kodagu which is an environmentally fragile and sensitive region and entails large scale felling of trees,” said Col. C.P. Muthanna of the Coorg Wildlife Society, which is also a part of the campaign. He estimated that lakhs of trees were at the risk of being felled to pave way for the projects based on the broad estimates of land acquisition.

    “Each hectare of land in Kodagu supports nearly 350 fully grown and mature trees and one shudders to think of the extent of tree-felling that will take place given the vast tract of land that will be acquired,” he said.

    The thrust of the campaign is to highlight the imperatives of conserving the catchment area of the Cauvery.

    Rampant destruction of environment is evident in the depleting rainfall over the years and it is time to rethink such destructive development, according to activists. The railway line for Kodagu is being touted as an important link providing connectivity to the coffee market across India. But there is little value addition to coffee cultivated in Chikkamagaluru because of rail connectivity in Hassan, he said. The Mysuru-Kushalngar-Madikeri railway line has no real benefit to the district but could open up a can of new problems, including unbridled urbanisation of an environmentally sensitive region, he added.

    The planned demonstration has received support from various quarters cutting across geographical region and the organisers have received endorsement from like-minded individuals and groups on social media groups as well.

    The activists will congregate at Ponnampet and then go to Kutta where they will go in a procession at 11 a.m. and demonstrate near the check post on the border.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Special Correspondent / Mysuru – August 24th, 2017

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    Issue To Be Taken Up During Samaj’s Centenary Bash


    Kodavas, a distinctive race in Karnataka, have often been dubbed ‘tigers’ largely because of the courage, honour and loyalty shown by two popular generals of independent India, Field Marshal K M Cariappa and General K S Thimayya.

    However, like real tigers, they too are now facing the threat of extinction. According to a recent census by the Karnataka unit of the Bureau of Economics and Statistics, the population of

    Kodavas has alarmingly dwindled from 1.5 lakh in 2001 to 1.25 lakh in 2011. This at a time when the human population is growing at an alarmingly fast rate.

    If this situation continues, community leaders fear that Kodavas, who are largely concentrated in Kodagu (70,000), Bangalore (30,000) and Mysore (15,000) will be wiped out by 2030, considering the slow population growth rate in recent times. Aware of the looming danger, Kodava Samaj, Bangalore (KSB) is gearing up to create awareness among its community members of the dangers involved as part

    of its centenary celebrations beginning Friday in Bangalore. “The whole idea is not only to create awareness on the challenges among our community but also to draw the attention of the state government to help the community sustain its rich culture and tradition,” said Cheppudira Tilak Subbaiah, president, KSB.

    The Kodavas are an anthropological puzzle. No one really knows the origin of the Kodavas but everyone knows and acknowledges that they are different — be it their skin colour, big eyes, long nose, aggressive face and wide chest.

    Some say they are the descendants of soldiers from Alexander’s army. Others say they are descendants of a band of Kurds from the Yemen, Oman, Kurdistan and Iraq region, who fled to India to escape forceful conversions by the sword to Islam. Still others say they are Rajputs or Scythian soldiers who fled the North-West frontier during the Mughal Invasions.

    So why is the community facing extinction? KSB’s vice-president Monnada Seetha Aiyanna said one reason is adopting strict family planning practices, as a majority of the community has migrated to cities to live the hard life. This is largely due to increasing fragmentation of inherited estates, which have turned out to be unproductive for joint families.

    Another general trend is late marriage in the community because of limited choice of brides and bridegrooms. This has naturally impacted the fertility potential of men and women. “All these factors have also given way to the practice of marrying outside the community,” Seetha pointed out.

    It’s a complex situation for the Kodava Samaj to push its agenda. “Neither can we ask the community to have more than two children nor we can restrict inter-caste marriages to check the waning population,” rued Kukkera B Chinnappa and Kaibulira K Ponnacha of KSB, who have taken the initiative to organize a special seminar to discuss the emerging problems of Kodavas during the centenary celebrations.

    Weekend Celebrations

    Kodava Samaj, Bangalore, will celebrate 100 years of existence this weekend. Governor H R Bhardwaj and CM D V Sadananda Gowda will participate in the three-day centenary celebrations starting Friday. The event will showcase Kodava culture and the progress of the people. KSB, an association of about 40,000 Kodavas in Bangalore, was established in 1911 with just eight Kodava families of Bangalore, consisting of 30 people. After Kodagu district — which was a ‘C’ category state administrated by the Centre — was merged with Karnataka in 1956, more Kodavas who migrated to urban areas joined the association.

    In 1960, Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, former Maharaja of Mysore, gifted an acre of land at Vasanthnagar to Field Marshal Gen K M Cariappa in recognition of his distinguished military service to the nation. Cariappa donated this land to the Coorg Association and enabled the formation of the ‘Coorg Association’ which was renamed KSB in 1962. In 1981, KSB extended its service by establishing the Cauvery School in Indiranagar on land donated to the KSB by late CM R Gundu Rao, and also set up a few colleges.

    ARMED FORCES: Field Marshal K M Cariappa (in pic), General K S Thimayya, Lt General Apparanda Aiyappa

    SPORTS: Rohan Bopanna (in pic), M P Ganesh, M M Somaiah, Ashwini Nachappa, Joshna Chinnappa

    FASHION: Prasad Bidapa (in pic)

    CINEMA: Prema, Nidhi Subbaiah (in pic), Daisy Bopanna, A T Raghu, Harshika Poonacha


    Appanervanda Haridasa Appachcha Kavi, veteran Kodava poet


    C B Muthamma, first woman IFS officer; IGP P K Monnappa, first police chief of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, C Somaiah, former comptroller and auditor general of India; Palekanda Medappa, chief justice of Mysore, Palekanda Muthanna, attorney general.

    POLITICS: C M Poonacha, chief minister of Coorg state (1952-56) and Union railway minister; Meriyanda C Nanaiah, former minister and MLC; Prema Cariappa, former mayor of Bangalore, MP (in pic). manu.aiyappa@timesgroup.com

    source: http://www.e.paper.timesofindia.com / The Times of India / Home> Section – Times City, Page 4 / by Manu Aiyappa / November 09th, 2011

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    No new hotels or resorts can take shape in the Talacauvery sanctuary

    No new hotels or resorts can take shape in the Talacauvery sanctuary

    The government has declared the Talacauvery Wild Life Sanctuary spread across 105.59 sq km as an eco-sensitive zone. This comes after the Environment Ministry notification on the proposed ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs) in the Western Ghats. The state has about five national parks and 27 sanctuaries, seven conservation reserve and one community reserve. The draft notification was issued on May 25 last year and the final notification was issued on May 15.

    Kodagu Chief Conservator of Forest Manoj Kumar told BM this is an eco-sensitive zone under the Environment Protection Act. As per the Act, the area around the protected area could be heritage sites and others and there has been a provision to declare them as sensitive zones. But this was not being done and the National Wildlife Board based on the Supreme Court direction had stated that it is about 10 km, if not declared. Hence, so far it used to be 10 km. “But we started rationalising the area and had sent a proposal. Each proposal is now being approved and the rest of the sanctuaries in the area around will soon be declared as sensitive zones. It is not the Kasturirangan report. It is a statutory requirement and the state government after discussion with the district administration and representatives had sent a proposal,” he said.

    As per the notification the region around the sanctuary from 1-16 km has been declared as the eco-sensitive zone. No commercial activity such as mining can be conducted and no new industries can be set up here. It also prohibits extension of industries that cause pollution, major hydel power plants, saw mills as well as rearing of animals. This declaration is also likely to hamper the union government highway project from Bhagamandala to Kerala’s Panathoor.

    source: http://www.bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com / Bangalore Mirror / Home> News> State / Bangalore Mirror Bureau / June 06th, 2017

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    Coorg: The Untold Story blames mushrooming resorts for district’s garbage pile-up

    A six-and-half minute documentary shot by a group of environmentalists highlights the environmental degradation of Kodagu district.

    The documentary titled Coorg: The Untold Story was shot by Clean Coorg Initiative in association with Surfing Swami Foundation and Mantra Surf Club. Shot in Madikeri and other parts of Kodagu district, it highlights the garbage pile up due to the mushrooming of resorts across the district.

    It further went on to state that illegal land conversion, encroachment and sand mafia were turning out to be a nightmare for the district and how the garbage pile up on the banks of the river Cauvery is a threat not just for the residents of the district but for people living in Bengaluru and other cities.

    Blaming the government and tourists, environmentalists have accused authorities of going soft on the resorts.

    The activists fear that Kodagu district is not far from becoming the Mandur landfill where Bengaluru’s garbage is dumped.

    Speaking on the crises, Col Muthanna from the Coorg Wildlife Society said, “Kodagu has an overall population of 5.5 lakh people whereas the number of tourists who visited the district last year was 13 lakh. In fact, the density of population in Kodagu is just 135 per sq/km, which is one of the lowest in the country.

    “There are many resorts which have been constructed near the banks of Cauvery river, which release their bio-waste into the river. The government should never allow the expansion of resorts as it may also lead to the landslides and other disasters. We are not against the resorts but against their expansion,” he added.

    Another environment activist Sundar Muthanna said that Kodagu which is known as the Scotland of India was fast becoming the Garbage Dump of Karnataka. He said that all resorts must mandatorily have sewage and garbage processing units in the resorts.

    He warned that the district was turning into an urban jungle which will not just impact the people of the district but also people residing in Bengaluru and other parts of the state as the main source of drinking water is from the district.

    The untold story

    * The documentary titled Coorg: The Untold Story was shot by Clean Coorg Initiative in association with Surfing Swami Foundation and Mantra Surf Club.

    * Shot in Madikeri and other parts of Kodagu district, it highlights the garbage pile up due to the mushrooming of resorts across the district.

    * It further went on to state that illegal land conversion, encroachment and sand mafia were turning out to be a nightmare for the district and how the garbage pile up on the banks of the river Cauvery is a threat not just for the residents of the district but for people living in Bengaluru and other cities.

    * Blaming the government and tourists, environmentalists have accused authorities of going soft on the resorts.

    source: http://www.bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com / Bangalore Mirror / Home> News> State / Bangalore Mirror Bureau / April 21st, 2017

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    by : Mandepanda B Appaya was a founder and a former chairman of the KPA

    I am perhaps one of the lucky planters to have participated at the inauguration of the KPA and still living. The function held at the Sports Club, Mysore was inaugurated by the late Maharaja.

    Late Mr. CL Machia who was my boss, as managing director of Coffee Lands Ltd, had invited me to the function. He read a long report emphasizing the need for the association [KPA].

    The late Mr. M. Appaya was seated beside the Maharaja.

    As I was the then manager of the Hunsur Coffee Curing Works owned by Coffee Lands, Mr. Machia had asked me to attend the function. Here I was introduced to Mr. Lakshmana Gowda and a few other planters. My association with the KPA began when I had to leave the Hunsur Coffee Works after its sale to its present owners. I then started taking an interest in the KPA and was elected from Kodagu as member very soon, I became the vice chairman when the Late Mr. AC Shivegowda was the chairman. We had a lot of problems at the KPA Level. The Land Ceiling Act was published. Although alI agricultural lands, including coffee, tea and rubber were exempt, if anyone had any other Land, both together could not exceed 48 acres. In other words, our paddy, arecanut plantations got a severe blow. Both, Late Shivegowda and I had to toil and we stayed in Bangalore for 27 days at a stretch to solve the issue.

    We met almost all members of the Assembly pleading for exemption for one ceiling area of crops excluding coffee. We had an uphill task.

    Fortunately, D Devaraj Urs, the then chief minister of Karnataka, who was a good friend from my days at Hunsur, helped us a lot by convincing the Congress party our case. Thus, we were allowed one ceiling area of other crops much against the will of the then revenue minister.

    Mr. UK Lakshmana Gowda, being an MP was helpful from the beginning. He helped us not only for getting the ceiling area, but also with wealth tax.

    It cannot be emphasized less that he had a big hand in helping us. He was friendly with all MPs, which helped us in securing wealth tax exemptions on plantations. Mr. FM Khan, MP, has also helped us get wealth tax exemption.

    I was the chairman of the KPA in 1973.

    My association with the Coffee Board began in 1971. I was a member of the Coffee Board for four terms, though not at one stretch. During 1971 there was a shortage of curing works as the business was not attractive. A committee was formed to visit all the curing works and know of their expansion plans. Mr. PG Gurger and myself visited all the curing works in the state and submitted a report to the chairman. We were both traveling from Hassan to Mangalore. Enroute we heard of the surrender of Pakistan after the Bangladesh war. GeneraI Manekshaw was then made Field Marshal for the success.

    Mr. UK Lakshmana Gowda who I used to call Bhishma Pitama, was of great help in the Coffee Board. When we used to have heated arguments on certain issues with the intelligent Kerala members, it was Mr. UK Lakshmana Gowda who used his knowledge and experience to solve the issues. Late Narasimha Rao, IAS, once sent me to Delhi to negotiate with Russian representatives regarding discount on coffee sold to them.

    During 1988-89′ both Mr. Lakshmana Gowda and l went to Moscow for that year’s sale to the erstwhile USSR. We had to go during December and stayed for eight days. Finally we agreed to allow 38 percent discount on international prices. The then chairman of the board, Late SK Warrier had come with us.

    Normally, we sold 50,000 tones to the USSR. But every year the discount went up. At New Delhi we decided to allow 37 percent discount on the International prices.

    We had no choice as we had to sell one-third to the quota countries and one-third for internal consumption and one-third for non-quota countries. For sales in the internal market, the government fixed the minimum price. Thus planters suffered.

    To add to their woes we had to pay 102 percent purchase tax since we had lost the case in the Supreme Court. lt was kept pending for 10 years before the retiring chief justice gave the decision on the last day of his sitting. Karnataka government, in addition to this, levied a 15 percent sales tax on every bean sold by the growers.

    We met even Rajiv Gandhi in Bangalore and made representations to him. He asked us to meet the adviser to the governor as there was no government then. Mr.Rangarajan heard us patiently for 45 minutes but gave no decision. Finally there was an agitation for the abolition of pooled marketing by the growers and they succeeded and now free trade of coffee is allowed.

    I became chairman of UPASI in 1983. Mr. Tika Bedi insisted l should take this position since l did not accept it due to certain physical constraints. Anyway, I served the UPASI in the committees from 1972 to 1983.

    So my career in the KPA, Coffee Board ended in 1983. I served the Mysore Race Club for over 15 years which celebrated the centenary in 1992 with an eye hospital for the poor and the needy as a centenary project. I was the chairman of the Race Club from 1988-92.

    I am now over 87 years old, yet take keen interest in many of the activities I used to participate in.

    source: http://www.kpa.org.in / Karnataka Planters’ Association / Home> About Us> History / by Mandepanda B. Appaya

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    The invigorating aroma of the coffee blossoms carried by chilled breeze, the midnight green ambience along the loopy roads… it is not just the abundant natural beauty that makes Kodagu a distinct place. Its people — the Kodavas — with discrete culture and heritage, boost the glory of this coffee land.

    Be it the language (Coorgie), cuisine, attire or rituals, Kodava culture moves away from the humdrum reckoning a distinct ethnic identity. And safeguarding this ethnicity while preserving their way of life is the architectural legacy known as the ain mane or ballya mane.

    Ain Manes (ain in Coorgie translates to original) are the ancestral heritage homes of the Kodavas that reflect the eminence of a sanctum sanctorum. With quintessential framework, an archetypal heritage home comprises traditionally-carved wooden pillars, bricked white and red walls, intricately-carved wooden doorways and windows. With a typical style, each of them has an unmatched old-world charm.

    Every corner of the house is given a name and holds mythical importance. With two types — the othe pore (single roofed house) and mundh mane (courtyard house) — the traditional features of ain manes include kannikamba (a sacrosanct pillar), kayyale (verandah), aimaras (wooden slabs in the verandah), machi (wooden ceiling), mundh (open courtyard) and kannikombre (worship room). Most of the ain manes have kaimadas – a sacred shrine built to worship the ancestors. Since the existence of nuclear families, there were outhouses built around the premises called ale pore.

    While the interiors reflect somber and subdued beauty, its exteriors manifest valour and strength. As Chakku Chengappa, a member of Nadikerianda clan, explains, “Hidden and safeguarded amidst the estate were the fort-like structures of ballya mane (ballya means huge); built in this manner to prevent an ambush from enemies. The entrance to the ain mane has many sections. There is a long curvy oni (alley), bakka pare and ala pare (extensions of the alley), which lead to the verandah.”

    Nonagenarian Nadikerianda Muthamma adds, “The Kodava women were known to be beautiful, and this is why ain manes needed to be protected at the time of British rule. However, today the ain manes play an important role in reuniting families.”

    “Much more than just a roof over the head, ain manes are an important part of the tangible heritage of the native community of Kodagu,” write Boverianda Chinnappa and Nanjamma in their book Ainmanes of Kodagu. Built in the ancestral or the jamma land, the ain mane is a binding force that is a pillar of strength — both literally and figuratively. Many findings state that the inception of the concept of ain mane dates back to eighth century.

    The origins

    “The early settlers of Kodagu stayed in forests as a family. Due to feudal fights, it was common for people with the same bloodline to stay together in a small thatched hut. These settlements grew in size and became stronger, which made the ruling king seek their support. In return, the king gifted them land, which is the jamma land. As their living conditions improved, they built a strong fort-like structure on the jamma land, which came to be known as ain mane or ballya mane,” explains Boverianda Nanjamma.

    However, the architectural style takes its root from Kerala. She adds, “Kodagu grew paddy abundantly but depended largely on Kerala for other commodities. During the travel for exchange of commodities, the Kodavas were pleased by the Kerala architectural style and there flowed workmanship from Kerala to build the ain mane.”

    While there are over 900 clans in existence in Kodagu, not all of them have an ain mane. Nanjamma explains, “During the research work for our book, we found out that many deteriorating ain manes were never rebuilt.” According to their findings, only 40% of the ain manes were renovated keeping the tradition intact and the rest did not see the light of the new era.

    Today, there are over 400 ain manes in existence and each of them belongs to a patriarchal clan, which is recognised by unique family names known as mane pedas. They bustle with ritualistic celebrations during festivities including Putthari, Kailpodh and annual kola (spirit dance). “The annual hockey matches conducted between families shed light on the revival of ain manes,” opines Kayapanda Shashi Somaiah, a journalist in Kodagu. Nonetheless, the revival of the ain manes are not just a process of renovation of age-old structures but also a resurgence of Kodava culture.

    Unity in diversity

    The Kundyolanda clan, which has 35 families, has its ain mane in Kolakeri village that was recently renovated to its pre-eminence. The rituals followed in this ain mane are uncompromising and many. “It is a family temple for us. We strictly adhere to the rituals and it is mandatory for women to wear traditional Coorgie saree and vastra (veil) over the head while entering the house. Apart from this, there are various other restrictions followed religiously in the ain mane,” explains Kundyolanda Dinesh, owner of a hotel.

    They have a 400-year-old othe pore ain mane with 14 rooms, but there is no one residing here. However, it is made sure that lamps are lit twice a day and the house is maintained meticulously. “Each nuclear family of the clan takes turn to maintain the house and no one can back out from their duties,” he explains.

    The Nadikerianda clan, with over 40 families, has a mundh ain mane in Karada village, which bustles with ritualistic activities during the festivals. A diligently maintained heritage home, it reflects the glory of the past and is keeping alive the culture and traditions. A 350-year-old house, it has a kaimada and a snake shrine in its premises. With 10 rooms, it has a beautifully-carved wooden window frame and a small wooden post box at the entrance. The huge mundh open to the skies is supported by four wooden pillars — all carved differently.

    The Arapattu Mukkatira clan has their ain mane in Kadanga village. With 13 rooms, the uniqueness of this ain mane is that it has two mundhs and two kayyales. A 300-year-old structure, it is said that the temple treasure from the village Bhagavathi Temple was locked safely in a wooden treasure box kept in the attic of this ain mane. This wooden treasure box still lies in the attic. “We are a clan of 45 families. The age-old rituals are still in practice here. The renovation of the house is soon to take place with help from all the family members,” explains Katty Uthappa, deputy manager of a bank.

    The Biddanda family has the ain mane built in the property gifted by King Veeraraja in 1795. With eight partitions in this mundh mane, there is a kaimada close by and the pictures of ancestors of eight generations can be seen hanging on the wall at the entrance. “One of our ancestors, Sarvakayaka Bopanna, was very close to the king. His (Bopanna’s) tombstone is right next to King Veeraraja’s tombstone,” explains Biddanda S Ganapathi, a retired navy officer.

    The ain manes are a matter of pride to the Kodavas and are unique to their ethnicity. This uniqueness in architecture has been adopted by many resorts in Kodagu that woo the tourists. However, ain manes do not just demonstrate pride but bespeak culture. They are the souls of Kodava rituals, and their revival provides a surety to Kodavas’ customs and legacy.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / Prajna G R / January 24th, 2017

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    Land of Generals and War Widows

    by Mandetira N. Subramani, President, VeKare Ex-Servicemen Trust, Mysore

    M N Subramani

    M N Subramani

    Most of the Ex-Servicemen of yore, who joined the British Indian Armed Forces during early 1940s, and participated in World War-II, are no more. However, there are still numerous widows of World War-II veterans, around 70 odd years of age, living in Mysore and Kodagu region, who narrate their helplessness and pathetic stories.

    It was customary for men of yesteryears to marry a life partner who is younger to them by 10 to 15 years. It is quite but natural that most of such wives become widows and may live for 10 to 15 years, or even longer, after the demise of their husbands. Trends have changed. The present day men don’t mind marrying a life partner elder to him by 3-5 years and the educated ladies consider it as out of fashion and a mismatch to marry men who are 3 or 4 years elder to them.

    Reverting to the subject of helplessness of widows of World War-II veterans, a gentleman barged into my office a few days ago with a complaint that his 76-year-old mother, living in a remote village called Kiggal, near Murnad, Kodagu (erstwhile Coorg), is not being granted defence family pension even after a lapse of 12 years after the demise of his father, due to some vague reasons projected by the Army’s EME Record Office, Secunderabad. The hapless widow happened to be one Mrs. Kaveriamma, widow of a World War-II veteran, Naib Subedar Ballachanda Nanjappa Ayyappa.

    Mrs. Kaveriamma & late Nb Sub B.N. Ayyappa.

    Mrs. Kaveriamma & late Nb Sub B.N. Ayyappa.

    I being not only an Ex-Serviceman myself but also a son of a World War-II veteran who served in the Corps of EME and died unsung and unheard 22 years ago, decided to help the Late Nb Sub Ballachanda N. Ayyappa’s widow Kaveriamma with whatever little bit of knowledge and expertise I had gained during the course of taking up the cause of Ex-Servicemen and widows of Ex-Servicemen since the past 22 years after I quit the Armed Forces.

    I believe in “seeing is believing.” Hence, I told late Naib Sub B.N. Ayyappa’s son, Ganapathy, that I wished to see his mother Kaveriamma personally, without doubting his (Ganapathy’s) version of the pathetic story of his mother. Without a second thought, Ganapathy informed me that his 76-year-old mother has been suffering from all sorts of old age ailments and that if I wished to see her, I would have to visit his ancestral Ballachanda House in Kiggal village in Coorg, which is well over 150 kms from Mysore. He also suggested that I could accompany him the following day itself to his village to see his mother. Though there was a clash of opinions between my mind and heart regarding his suggestion, I decided to listen to my heart, which is always weaker than the mind. The widow’s old age and ill health became a priority over my next day’s assignments and engagements all of which I had to abort.

    It was indeed a huge expedition on the next day. It took almost nearly three-and-a-half- hours to reach the 100-year-old ancestral house of late Nb Sub Ayyappa in his village, which resembled a bit of British architecture. However, it took me waiting for nearly two hours to get the audience of the grand-old-lady, as she took time to wake up from her sleep, get ready and come out of her bedroom with the support of her son.

    B.A. Kaveriamma, widow of late Nb Sub B.N. Ayyappa.

    B.A. Kaveriamma, widow of late Nb Sub B.N. Ayyappa.

    During the waiting period, in Kaveriamma’s house, I had to perforce spend my time speaking to an 87-year-grand-old gentleman, who was resting in his easy chair. I was amused when he kept showing extra attention and courtesies to me than what I really deserved. This grand-old-gentleman, however, kept firing some uncomfortable questions to me such as, when did I join the Armed Force? When did I quit? Why did I quit? What was the last rank held by me? What I have been doing after quitting the forces etc… etc… as if I were put in a witness box for some crime committed by joining the Armed Forces! If someone around my age had asked me those questions, I would have blown my trumpet about my life in the Armed Forces, my last rank held as equivalent to one of those one star or two stars rank etc. But, I held back, because, in my subconscious mind I saw something very special in him that made me to tell him only the truth, including the last rank held by me, that is, Sergeant in the Indian Air Force.

    While answering all the questions fired at me by this grand-old-gentleman, I was also looking at the walls of the huge verandah to deter him from firing anymore questions. However, I found some old photographs of late Naib Sub Ayyappa’s father, who was a Sub-Inspector of Police during the British regime, hung on the wall. Among the numerable old photographs on the walls, I also noticed a certificate framed and hung in a remote corner, which I could not read because of the size of the certificate, and my failing eye sight. I was compelled to remove the framed certificate and read it just out of curiosity. To my surprise, it was a citation of a gallantry award, that is, “Mention in Dispatches” awarded to Flight Gunner Sgt. Ballachanda N. Medappa.

    Ex-Warrant Officer B.N. Medappa, M-In-D

    Ex-Warrant Officer B.N. Medappa, M-In-D

    I became very curious and asked Ganapathy as to who this Flight Gunner was ? Ganapathy pointed out at the grand-old- gentleman who was sitting on the same easy chair busy reading a Kannada daily Mysooru Mitra and said, “he is my father Nb Sub Ayyappa’s younger brother Ex-Warrant Officer of the Indian Air Force.” I realised that he is really an ‘Ex-Air Warrior,’ a term commonly referred to all Ex-Air Force personnel of late. I too sometimes proudly call myself as an Ex-Air Warrior to my advantage but it proved to be otherwise all the time with my retired rank ‘Ex-Sergeant.’

    In the meantime, the widow of Nb Sub Ayyappa managed to come up to the verandah with the support of her son. As per the customs of the Coorgs’, I touched her feet to seek her blessings, and took a few photographs of her from my worn camera. After speaking to her for a few minutes I casually told her that I would try to resolve her defence family pension issue, at which she nodded her head casually, without any anxiety or hope of receiving it in the near future. I understood that she was fed up of trying for her defence family pension for the past 12 years.

    On our way back to Mysore from Coorg after having met the widow, my thoughts were more on the unassuming Ex-Air Warrior I met that day than the problem of the widow of World War- II veteran Ayyappa. I tried to make a guess as to how many such great war heroes were still living or dead, unheard and unsung, among the tiny Kodava Community besides the number of General Officers this tiny Coorg District has produced till date. I even started calling up all my fauji friends, as if there was an impending war.

    All armed forces veterans who served three decades ago know that there was a separate Coorg regiment, which largely included people from non-Kodava backgrounds while the Kodavas themselves served in different other regiments; this is in keeping with the Army’s non-bias policy. Field Marshal Kodandera Cariappa of the Rajput regiment and General Kodandera Thimayya of the Kumaon regiment are the most distinguished Army men among the Kodavas. Other illustrious Kodavas from all ranks lead from the front in their own way, not only during wars but also in war-like situations and counter insurgencies.

    Lt. Gen. Apparanda Aiyappa is best remembered for his contributions towards the Corps of Signals and towards Bharat Electronics Limited. There were several war heroes as well such as Nadikerianda Bheemaiah, a JCO who was the first among Coorgs to be awarded the Vir Chakra for conspicuous bravery in J&K Operations during 1947, and Air Marshal Cheppudira D. Subia, a daring fighter pilot, was awarded the Vir Chakra during 1950 for his courageous and relentless attacks on the enemy targets which has largely contributed to the successful capture of Garais in Jammu & Kashmir.

    Squadron Leader Ajjamada B. Devayya (known as the ‘wings of fire’), a fighter pilot of rare acumen, was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra after the 1965 Indo-Pak War, posthumously. Lt. Col. Ganapathi Puttichanda Somaiah (then known as the ‘Major who kept his cool’) was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra for his conspicuous bravery of fighting against the militants under odd condition while deployed in Sri Lanka as part of Indian Peace Keeping Force.

    Lt. Col. Anjaparavanda Ganapathy was decorated with Vir Chakra for his valour during the 1965 war. Maj. Gen. Kuppanda Nanjappa and Colonel Mandettira Ravi were decorated with Vir Chakra for their valiant display of courage and gallantry in the face of the enemy on land during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Sqn. Ldr. Mandepanda Ganapathy was awarded Vir Chakra for shooting down one of the first Pakistani Sabre Jets, which intruded into Indian air space during the 1971 war.

    Wg. Cdr. Ballachanda Karumbaya is another war hero to be decorated with the Vir Chakra for displaying his gallantry in the air during the 1971 war. The youngest among the above said war heroes is the then Capt. Baleyanda M. Cariappa to be decorated with Vir Chakra on 21st June 1999 for displaying repeated acts of valour, bold leadership, unparalleled courage, leading from the front and devotion beyond the call of duty in the face of the enemy.

    Kodagu being one of the smallest districts across India, today boasts of the highest density of devoted, daring, dedicated, disciplined and duty-bound gentlemen soldier officers, with many adorning the highest echelons of the defence services in India.

    At any given point of time, till 1980, the number of persons serving the forces far exceeded the proportion of any other set of people from any other region in India. The contribution of Coorg to the cause of the nation has been phenomenal and Armed Forces Martyrs from Kodagu District are innumerable.

    The appended list of Army General Officers the tiny District of Kodagu [population 5 lakh and population of Kodavas is about 1.3 lakh] has produced over the last 65 years is testimony to the fact that the District is a cradle of mighty Generals:

    1. Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa, OBE; 2. General Kodandera S. Thimayya, DSO; 3. Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Apparanda C. Aiyappa PVSM, MBE; 4. Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Biddanda C. Nanda PVSM, AVSM, ADG; 5. Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Codanda N. Somanna PVSM; 6. Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Bittianda K. Bopanna PVSM, AVSM, VSM; 7. Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Ballachanda K. Chengappa; 8. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Guddanda C. Somanna; 9. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Kongetira M. Chengappa; 10. Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kotera C. Bheemaiah; 11. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Codanda K. Karumbaya SM; 12. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Cheppudira I. Jay Appachu AVSM; 13. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Somaiyanda K. Kariappa AVSM, YSM; 14. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Madaiyanda M. Belliappa AVSM, VSM; 15. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Bovverianda M. Aiyanna; 16. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Bachamanda A. Cariappa; 17. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Moovera C. Nanjappa AVSM, VSM; 18. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Kuppanda P. Nanjappa AVSM, VrC; 19. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Kelapanda B. Swaraj; 20. Maj. Gen. Kodandera Arjun Muthanna; 21. Maj. Gen. Paruvangada M. Cariappa VSM.

    Courtesy: Star of Mysore

    source: http://www.exservicemen.in / Ex-servicemen India / Home> India> News> Views, Articles / by M N Subramani / October 19th, 2012

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