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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    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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    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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