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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    A delegation led by the Dasara committee president and the city municipal committee president H M Nandakumar and minister Appachu Ranjan met chief minister Jagadish Shettar, who has promised Rs 50 lakh for this year too, just as last year.

    A demand for an increase in funds was not sanctioned due to the present drought condition in the state. The Dasha Mantapa Samithi conducted a meeting at Madikeri and elected Kundurumotte committee representative T P Rajendra as the new president for the Dasha Mantapa Samithi this year.

    The president will be responsible for presenting the views of the Samithi before the Dasara committee, appointing judges for deciding the best mantaps and also carrying out other traditional works. A new logo was released by the Dasha Mantapa Samithi.

    The Dasara committee has accepted to release Rs 1.75 lakh to each Mantapa Samithi, subject to the condition that the representatives do not misbehave themselves during the distribution of prizes for best performances.

    Nandakumar, the Dasara committee president, has strictly communicated this message to all the mantap representatives. Every year, the losing Mantapa Samithis have expressed their ire by not accepting the consolation prize and by raising slogans against the main Dasara committee even though the judges are selected by the Mantapa committees and the main Dasara committee has nothing do with it.

    source: http://www.articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / Home> City> Mangalore / TNN, September 23rd, 2012

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    September 30th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    In this piece of paradise called Coorg, river Cauvery is born. Snaking through the splendid hills and valleys, it enhances the beauty of the land. On the banks of this stunning river, is a forest called Dubare. And on the edge of this forest, I had a unique holiday — interacting with the elephants and exploring the graceful Cauvery in coracles.

    Coracle is a small, lightweight, round boat, which is steered with an oar. It moves at a gentle pace, with an inviting melody of water that sounds more like a soft lullaby. Each ride on coracles feels utterly blissful.

    On day one, Kusha, the boatman, took me in his coracle; showing many birds during the ride. He is well informed about the flora and fauna of the area. Passing through the densest woods, we reached coffee plantations entering through bushes. On the water route, he also showed me kingfishers’ nests. The river has many islands and close to the water, these birds makes holes in the mud to make perfect round nests.

    Next, we went to the ancient Nanjundeshwara temple on the other bank. The temple is 840 years old and looks charmingly aged and ancient with its stone structure and pillars. The outside walls and the gopurams seem freshly whitewashed. The inner sanctum, the huge Shiva linga, and the oil lamps, add to the beautiful ambience, except for a couple of florescent lights that actually ruin its appeal.

    Next morning, I went on one more coracle ride, this time with Suresh, a veteran. In fact, he is called Coracle Suri. He taught me how to row the boat. At one point of time I was very scared. What if the boat topples and I fall into 50 ft deep water? And moreover, there was a male crocodile in the river. Leaving aside the worry for a while, I enjoyed the ‘spins’ where the boat twists round and round and make you feel dizzy.
    Like the previous day, Suresh also showed me some rare and interesting birds. We went to the Island Rock where the crocodiles bask in the sun. I sat there and posed for photographs, but all the while in trepidation. What if a crocodile suddenly decides to reclaim its favourite seat? But I returned safe.

    The day before leaving, I decided to take one more coracle ride early in the morning. These boat rides are addictive. I again wanted to see huge mango trees, laden heavy with bunches of small mangoes, bend onto the river, some of the branches almost touching water. Soft ripples making infinite circles, the cool breeze and the chanting coming faintly from the ancient temple across the river. Beautiful Cauvery in all its loveliness beckoning. To me, nothing can be more enchanting.
    Coracle Suri was ready. But before getting into the boat, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t crocodile time. “No… No crocodile here… very far… after four miles.” But can’t crocodiles swim four miles? He reassured again, “More water it will come… now no rains no?” That sounded logical. Anyway, I was so keen on the coracle ride, I decided to ignore the crocodile.
    We set out and Suri showed me wagtails, brahmani kite, white-breasted water yam, cormorant, grey heron, purple heron etc. He was reeling out the names of the birds like he was reciting nursery rhymes. So much avian knowledge for an illiterate boatman!

    As we were looking at swallows, I asked Suri to show me a swallow’s nest. He obliged and showed me a nest on the mango tree branch that had curved onto the river. It was like a cup attached to the tree. Suri said, “One month no swallow… empty.” Later, Nagendra (naturalist) told me that he had seen the same swallow nest sometime back with the chicks, and they flew away a month ago, leaving the nest empty.
    After this trip, I can say — if you love water, boat rides and elephants, then Dubare is the place. You will come back with wonderful experiences of all the three.
    The writer is a documentary filmmaker

    source: http://www.asianage.com / Home> Life & Style> Travel / by Vijaya Pratap / September 23rd, 2012

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    Sandalwood is filled with many talented actors who can sing as well. One such is Puneet Rajkumar, who has lent his voice to many of his films, much like the way his late father, Dr Rajkumar, used to sing songs in his soundtracks. Puneet has recorded a song for the upcoming film Ale.

    Ale, starring youngsters Thanush and Harshika Poonacha in the lead, is slated for a year-end release. An excited Harshika put up a status on her Blackberry messenger about Sandalwood’s Power Star singing a song for her upcoming film. Puneet had previously sung for his brother’s films, like Mylari, but his participation in films of youngsters shows his support for Sandalwood’s gen next and has encouraged the team.

    Previously, Harshika had worked with Puneet in the hit film Jackie, where she played a youngster from Puneet’s village who gets trapped in a flesh trade racket and the film is about how the protagonist rescues her.

    source: http://www.articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / Home> Entertainment> Regional> Kannada> Film / by Sunayana Suresh, TNN / September 24th, 2012

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    September 29th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    Deputy commissioner’s nod is awaited, say KER office-bearers.

    The office-bearers of Kodagu Ekikarana Ranga (KER) said that they are ready to distribute free meals during Theerthodbhava if the DC grants permission.

    Addressing a press meet, office-bearer B S Thammaiah said that the people of the district have been urging to allow Kodagu Ekikarana Ranga and other organisations to distribute meals to the devotees. “If the Deputy Commissioner gives us the permission, then we are ready to distribute meals within 24 hours.”

    “We had started distributing meals to the devotees way back in 1991. In fact, Talacauvery did not have any facilities during 1991. Since, then we have been distributing meals to the devotees with the help of donors,” he said and added that “Kodagu Ekikarana Ranga had filed a case against Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah in connection with the laying of Kadamakal Road. In turn, we have been asked not to serve meals during Theerthodbhava since last year.”

    In fact, several organisations had pressurised Kodagu Ekikarana Ranga (KER) to distribute meals to the devotees last year.

    “However, we did not want to enter into any rift in the holy place. Hence, we did not take part in meal distribution programme last year,” Thammaiah clarified.

    The regulations of the Muzrai department clearly states that various organisations should be allowed to distribute free meals if they wish to do so in temples. However, the temple administration committee has violated the rules and has kept KER away from the meal distribution.

    Office-bearer M K Appacchu said that a committee which had distributed meals last year had shown the expenses as lakhs of rupees.

    “We have not shown such an expense.The committee would have swallowed the money,” he alleged.

    source: http://www.DeccanHerald.com / Home> District> Madikeri / DHNS, September 25th, 2012

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    September 29th, 2012adminAgriculture, Coffee News, Nature

    At a time when coal mining and other detrimental projects are posing a severe threat to forest and wildlife, state forest department has decided to promote its rich biodiversity and wildlife through film festivals.

    This will be for the first time wildlife film festivals will be organized in cities by the forest department with the help of Nature Walk, Pune. The proposal has already been approved by principal secretary (forests) Praveen Pardeshi. The schedules and detailed programme will be worked out at a meeting to be held in Mumbai on Thursday.

    R R Sahay, additional principal chief conservator of forests (APCCF) for information and technology and policy, said, “It’s an attempt to give impetus to forest and wildlife. We have asked our officials to coordinate with Nature Walk.”

    The festivals will be organized not only in cities like Aurangabad, Solapur, Nashik, Kolhapur and Nagpur as proposed by the Nature Walk, but in other places too, Sahay told TOI. Nature Walk has a collection of around 900 films that showcase wildlife, forest and biodiversity of our country. “We in Pune hold wildlife film festivals that are highly appreciated by the common man. There is huge viewership of wildlife on channels like Discovery and National Geographic, but these channels don’t promote much about our region,” said Anuj Khare, honorary district wildlife warden of Pune.

    Khare feels these festivals will not only help create awareness but will help brand building. The publicity wing of the forest department will help with auditorium or a school hall of a capacity of at least 500 people with a good audio system. The forest officials will also help in making other arrangements.

    “Plan is to hold such festivals on Saturdays and Sundays where Nature Walk team will screen the films. The films will be first introduced and then a post-screening discussion will be held. We can also have a morning nature walk on one of the days. This will help build goodwill of forest department,” Khare felt.

    source: http://www.articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / Home> City> Nagpur / by Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN / September 27th, 2012

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    The Karnataka government has declared 562.41 sq km area in Kodagu and Mysore districts as buffer zones. This was officially announced by the forest, ecology and environment department undersecretary Umadevi through a notification dated August 14, 2012.

    Kodagu wildlife deputy conservator of forests K T Hanumanthappa said that there will be no restriction on villagers who live near buffer zones. This notification is mainly to protect tigers in the tiger zone. If it is an eco-sensitive zone, some restrictions will be imposed. The buffer zone allows wild animals to move in the limits of the buffer zone, he explained.

    Planters fear that the creation of buffer zones will affect coffee and pepper cultivation. Nagarahole range forest officer Mandanna said that the safari has already been stopped following the Supreme Court order.

    Hunsur wildlife A C F K D Belliappa has directed residents living around buffer zone areas not to graze their cattle in the restricted area and not to collect firewood as the wildlife act applies in these areas.

    The declared buffer zone areas include 24.74 sqkm in Periayapatna taluk,109.09 sqkm of Hunsur thaluk, 228.01 sqkm of H D kote taluk in Mysore district covering a total area of 361.84 sqkm in Mysore district. The buffer zone coverage in Kodagu district is 200.57 sqkm.

    source: http://www.articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / Home> City> Mangalore> Mysore / TNN, September 27th, 2012

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    Traditionally coffee in the Western Ghats, as in other tropical regions, is grown under the shade of non-native trees.Such plantations ensure ecological continuity, providing habitat for many species outside protected reserves.

    A study by Ayyapan Narayanan of the Department of Ecology, French Institute of Pondicherry, conducted in three different habitats, evaluated the impact of agro-forest management on animal diversity in the Kodagu district of Karnataka. The study was conducted in the preserved forests, coffee plantation with native trees and coffee plantations with non-native trees. Researchers said the objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of the agrosystems in comparison to the forest on local singing animal diversity by employing a passive acoustic method. For each habitat type, four locations were sampled using automatic acoustic recorders.

    The acoustic data was then analysed using two indices without using species identification. Differences among habitat types were assessed by comparing the acoustic activity level with non-parametric tests and by including acoustic dissimilarities into multivariate analyses.

    source: http://www.m.timesofindia.com / City> Bangalore / by Saswati Mukherjee / September 26th, 2012

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    After Mangalore homestay attack case, the tourism department in the state seems to have woken up to regulate their activities . The state government has prepared the draft Karnataka Tourism Trade Facilitation Act-2012, according to which it will be mandatory for the owners to register the homestay before starting the operations. The draft Act also states that the owner of the homestay must display license certificate, facilities available in the premises and maintain all necessary records.

    It is not only homestay owners, the proposed Act also puts riders on travel agents, tourist guides, adventure sports bodies and others. Once the Act comes into force it will be necessary for tourists guides to seek necessary license from the authorities like Archaeological Survey of India and other government institutions.

    Addressing the delegates at a workshop on the proposed Bill, principal secretary of the tourism department G Latha Krishna Rao said that in the backdrop of several unsavoury incidents in the recent past, it was felt that regulations on home stay and adventurous sports was necessary considering the safety of tourists visiting the state.

    There is ample opportunity to run home- stays especially in areas close to heritage spots. “At present home stays are concentrated in Kodagu. There are ample opportunities to run homestays in heritage spots and in coastal belts also . Tourists visiting the tourism spots would like to stay in a place which has nativity ambiance. In the interest of tourist visiting the state, regulations will be put in place safeguarding their interests.”

    Citing an incident reported in the Bannerghatta National Park where a techie was killed by elephants after he went missing, the official said that the government felt the need of imposing rules and regulations through the proposed Bill. As per the draft rules, adventure sports operators have to follow emergency and rescue operations guidelines, should obtain license, permission from forest officials before entering the activity area, they should have suitable insurance policy, operators shall have a firm or company, established in the place of business for a minimum period of two years, operators shall buy the equipment tested and certified by United International Alpine Association/ European standards. The adventures activities include trekking, mountaineering,rock climbing, mountain biking, bungee jumping and others.

    The Bill states that owners of homestay, tourist agents, guides and others who fail to get license from the authorities are liable to pay a fine which may exceed to Rs10,000. For repeated offence there are provision for imprisonment as well as the penalty. The state government will also make provisions to inspect travel agents if necessary.

    source: http://www.dnaindia.com / Daily News & Analysis / Home> Bangalore> Report / by DNA Correspondent, Place:Bangalore, Agency:DNA / Friday, September 28th, 2012

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    By Dr. K. Javeed Nayeem, MD

    My association with the Kodavas, the people from the hilly neighbourhood district of Coorg, now Kodagu, is almost as old as I am. Ever since my early childhood we have had Kodava managers and writers in our coffee plantation in distant Chickmagalur. Their choice as overseers of our coffee growing enterprise was a natural one as they are themselves age-old coffee growers, with the art simply running in their blood. Two of them who grew very close to me as I grew up were P. M. Pemmaiah and K. K. Ganapathy both of whom joined duty within days of one another, even as they themselves were both young lads, barely out of their teens.

    While the former, an absolute teetotaler, with a very quiet temperament, retired after many decades of faithful service and left to look after his own family holdings, the latter, a hard-drinking meat-eater and boisterous merry-maker but no less faithful, somehow retired into an ashram, becoming a sanyasi of sorts, completely shunning liquor, his first love and becoming a total vegetarian. During the daytime they would teach me to use a catapult with deadly effect and also to speak their native dialect Kodava thakk. In the even-ings they would feed me with interesting nuggets from the fascinating folklore of Coorg and spell-binding stories of the valour of the Kodavas, a warrior tribe.

    When I arrived in Mysore to commence my education, at the turn of the sixth decade of the last century, this smattering knowledge of Kodava thakk and the folklore of Kodagu,stood me in good stead in my interaction with the many Kodava boys and girls who happened to become my schoolmates. Many of them continue to be my closest friends even to this day. With good English schools being very scarce in all the Malnad districts, it was then common for most children from well to do families to be put in schools either in Mysore, Bangalore or Ooty.

    While I then used my Kodava thakk only to impress the girls in my school, as some of them might still remember, or at least recollect as they read this, I now use it only in elusive bits and pieces, thanks to a lack of practice, only to converse with my most elderly Kodava patients. I do this, not to impress them, because they are long past their impressionable ages but only to calm and reassure them as the bondage that the use of any language establishes with its speakers is instant nd very strong.

    There are not many books, at least in English, about Kodagu and the Kodavas themselves and I have read almost all those that exist, including some of the ones that are now out of print. While all of them are very interesting and informative, I think none of them can make up for what I just finished reading just two days ago. It is a book that is unfortunately not yet available in print but one which I hope will soon find a ready publisher and many readers consequently.

    Authored by Dr. Latha Muthanna, a close friend and a fellow physician, who is settled in Mysore, it is a first person narrative in the words of her recently deceased mother Malavanda (Biddanda) Gowramma Achaiah, a well-known social worker who was born in the year 1920 and who spent much of her married life in and around Chickmagalur. It was first written by her in Kannada script in Kodava thakk which lacks a script of its own and later expanded and rendered into English by the daughter who seems no less of a writer or historian herself.

    Written in a style and language which I never knew my friend was capable of, despite our close friendship (and intense professional rivalry) over more than thirty years, the book is immensely readable with an ample sprinkling of humour and is therefore ‘unputdownable.’ It has a very apt and fitting title: Lopamudra’s Daughter, with Lopamudra being one of the main tributaries of the Cauvery, a river which we all know is holy to most Hindus in general and the Kodavas in particular.

    While the book deals mostly with the lives of a cluster of close relatives from a few families of Kodagu spanning over four generations, it throws much light on many little known but very significant nuggets from the history and folklore of the land and its people. That is what is likely to make it very unique and also perhaps render it a keepsake for anyone interested in the history of Coorg or simply in a bygone era. To the uninitiated however, keeping track of the various protagonists in the narrative, especially with their tongue-twisting family names, may seem a slightly daunting task.

    While the book has interesting cartoons by the well-known Kodava cartoonist Ponnappa,I feel the final print edition would do well with some photographs related to the many places that find a mention therein. The visit of Gandhiji to Coorg and his impact on the freedom movement there, the travails of the ordinary women who would without exception unfailingly turn into extraordi- nary home-makers immediately upon exchanging marriage vows, the poignant and recurrent tragedies brought on by the lack of health care facilities in a land tormented by rain and storm for a greater part of the year, are all there in vivid detail to stir the feeling heart.

    Since I also happen to be from the Malnad hinterland where life is not very dissimilar from what it is in Coorg I could instantly recapitulate, visualise, smell and even taste the sights, smells and tastes that the writer talks about when she describes the traditions, the weddings, the festivals, or even the seasonal delicacies like mushrooms, honey and bamboo shoots, that come and go with different times of the year.

    Reading the book was like finding the key that suddenly unlocked the door of nostalgia to my own past and childhood. I am sure it will do the same to the others who happen to read it too.

    source: http://www.StarofMhysore.com / Feature Articles / September 21st, 2012

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    September 23rd, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    Appacchu Ranjan visits Kotnalli.

    Kothnalli is a non descript village in Somwarpet taluk. The village was in a festive mood to welcome MLA Appacchu Ranjan, who as part of his village stay programme visited the village and listened to the woes of the villagers and stayed in a house.

    The village with a population of 400 is mainly dependent on agriculture for livelihood.

    They grow coffee, cardamom and paddy. Even with the region receiving heavy rainfall, the villagers continued to be haunted by the acute shortage of water during summer.

    The villagers are yet to get electricity connection and the roads need to be developed.

    The villagers accorded a warm welcome to the MLA. He was taken out in a procession for two kilometres. The MLA stayed in the house of D S Poovaiah.

    The residents poured their woes in connection with the lack of electricity supply, acute shortage of drinking water and lack of maintenance of road.

    Villagers said that the electricity connection was given to the village under Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme. However, there is disruption in power supply. “We are finding it difficult to carry out our activities in the evening,” they said. This village, which did not have streetlights, sudden had tube lights lighting up the streets. A day before MLA visited the village, Chescom officials visited the village and installed the street lights.

    The MLA should visit the villages at least once a month to make the officials work, said the villagers adding that there is no bus facility. A private bus plies to the village in the morning and evening. The villagers are forced to walk for several kilometres. The KSRTC bus should be introduced, they demanded.

    Welcome move

    The MLA said that villagers from various parts of the district are inviting him to visit their village. To a query, he said that he will visit villages in Madikeri taluk as well.

    Poovaiah said “I am very happy that the MLA stayed in my house. We had prepared rice, sambar, beans curry, and payasam for the MLA. In the morning, Chow-chow bath was given to the MLA.”

    To a query on what was his demand, he said “my son who is working as driver in Bangalore needs a job. At the same time, my daughter, who is studying BBM needs job too.”

    source: http://www.DeccanHerald.com / Home> District /
    Srikanth Kallammanavar, Kothnalli (Somwarpet), May 1 2012, DHNS:

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