Coorg is popularly known as Kodagu. The name derived from Kodimalenad which means dense forest lands on steep hills.Coorg is the anglicized form of Kodagu, though it is called and written in Karnataka by its original name `Kodagu. This district lies on the summits of the Eastern and the Western slopes of Western Ghats. It is bounded on the North by Hassan District, on the East by Mysore District, on the West by South Canara District, and on the South by the Cannanore District of Kerala State.
Coorg is the smallest district in Karnataka State and in population also it is the lowest. The area of the District is 1590 Sq Miles or 4118 Sq KMs. The historical period of Kodagu begins from about 2nd Century AD. But as in the case of almost every place in India, Kodagu also had a legendary period before its history begins.
The District has a mountainous configuration which presents a grand panorama of verdant valleys, ravines, fast and luring streams, lofty peaks and awe-inspiring spurs. The splendour of Kodagu, the picturesque view of the land with its beautiful green sward and varied foliage, grassy or forest clad hills, behold the eye of every stranger who has an aesthetic mind to enjoy the beauty of nature.The people of Kodagu comprise of all religious faith, caste, creed, community and tribes, but the most ancient among them are Kodavas and those speak Kodava Language. Kodavas have a unique culture uncommon to others.
Among various communities in India, the Kodavas have perhaps most clearly evidenced the impact of change during the past 200 years. Considered to be a microscopic community, the analytical unit provides a link between social and economic change and political life, between structural change in society and political sentiments and behavior.The Kodavas have had a turbulent and colourful history. Their efforts to safeguard their land assumed dramatic forms in a series of escalating confrontations with the rulers of neighbouring countries. These confrontations and adaptations provide rich material for an analysis of a political and cultural life of a community in change.
In complexity and range of problems involved in the relationship of caste to Indian political life have elicited an extensive literature in recent years. Social scientists and historians have made impressive contributions both to the descriptive knowledge and most importantly to the theoretical understanding of the interaction between society and political system.Non-literacy has been a severe handicap to many primitive people and this applies to the Kodavas also in respect to their past history. Though the Kodavas are today one of the most literate of the communities, the position was rather backward two centuries back. As such there is no reliable written material to shed light regarding the past. This has been a major handicap to anthropology as well as to any scientific study regarding them.
It was within the land of Coorg, the Kodavas traditionally made their home drawing life from cultivation. The land was fertile and life was happy. The traditional account of the origin of the Kodavas is little known today among the community. But the Kodavas are said to be a distinguished community belonging to the highest cadre in the anthropological scale.In the ranking of castes in the south, the Brahmins by tradition and sanction, occupied in supreme position in the hierarchy of ritual purity. But anthropologists like Sir.Eriskine Perry and others point out that the Kodavas have no resemblance to any of the races of South India and they are by far the finest race they had seen in India in point of independent bearing, good looks and all outward signs of wellbeing.
As years rolled, Kodavas migrated into other parts of India, climbing the echelons of higher education and employment. Bangalore, being the capital of Karnataka, was the priority hub. As years rolled Kodavas migrated into other parts of India from Kodagu mainly for higher education and employment. Especially after re-organization of States Kodagu become part of Karnataka.Bangalore being the Capital of Karnataka offered better education facilities and employment. Therefore majority of Kodavas started settling down in Bangalore. As is the practice, like any other community, Kodavas decided to come together and form a social network.
Accordingly Coorg Association was established in the year 1911. This Association had only 15 members and year after year the number of Kodavas increased in Bangalore. The Coorg Association was renamed as Kodava Samaja, Bangalore.In the initial days the Samaja functioned from private houses or some public places. In the year 1959 the Maharaja of Mysore donated 1 acre of land to Kodava Samaja through our great soldier Late Field Marshal Kodandera M Cariappa to whom this land was to be given. The broad minded Cariappajja decided to hand it over to Kodava Samaja, Bangalore which was registered in the year 1961 at Vasanthanagar, Bangalore from where the present Kodava Samaja functions.
As you all know, Kodava Samaja, Bangalore is a mother body and has a great history indeed. Today Bangalore Kodava Samaja has a Royal standing beckoning the Kodavas world over.The multifarious activities handled by Kodava Samaja, Bangalore is known all over and proudly Kodavas call Kodava Samaja, Bangalore their Aiynemane.
The spontaneous assistance available to Kodavas at times of tragedy and illness, is appreciated all over. The meritorious students are indentified in the field of education with scholarships/freeships and awards to those toppers in various examinations are some of the significant activities of Kodava Samaja.The Employment Cell situated in Kodava Samaja has programmes for training, placements and personnel developments which are absolutely necessary in these days of competitive living.
Kodava Samaja makes no secret of their efforts to uplift the poor Kodavas, Senior Citizens and the deserving youth in all respects. The expansion programmes in the field of education, health and infrastructure development are on the priority list.The Cauvery School and the College are rendering yeoman service in the field of education and the Kodava Samaja has been at their back to maintain excellence in every activity of the Institution.
Monnanda Seetha Aiyanna
Former Vice President
Kodava Samaja Bangalore.
Pombolak News Letter
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