Balele bandh against ‘anti-Kodava’ book
Several Kodagu organizations, including the Kodava Samaja at Balele town in Virajpet taluk, have called a ‘Balele bandh’ on March 29 to protest against the alleged derogatory references to the Kodava community (Coorgs) in a book authored by a lecturer of the Vijayalakshmi Junior College at Balele.
According to the President of the Balele Kodava Samaja, Malchira Bose, the lecturer, Dr J. Somanna, in his book ‘Dalita Lokada Novu-Nalivu’ had made unwanted references to the style in which sari was worn by the Kodava women and also had allegedly made blasphemous remarks against Goddess Cauvery, the presiding deity of the Kodavas.
The President of the Samaja has demanded that Dr Somanna must apologise to the Kodava people and withdraw his book. He clarified that the bandh would not disturb the ongoing examinations.
Bose pointed out that Macchamada family and Podamada family were responsible for the starting of the Vijayalakshmi PU College and hundreds of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe students were pursuing their education in the college. Dr Somanna had been serving the college since 1990.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that Dr somanna had apologized for the unfortunate developments. He was quoted as saying: “The statement by leaders that my book has hurt the sentiments of Kodavas has hurt me. If my book has hurt the sentiments of the people, then I tender my apology.”
He clarified: “I have documented local people’s views. The book is being published with the assistance of Kannada and Culture Department. All the remarks are not my personal views. I have great respect for Kodava culture and tradition. I never intended to hurt their sentiments. I do not have any association with the Naxal movement. Let the police clarify whether I have any connection with Naxals.”
EDITOR’S VIEW: Since the author of the book has reportedly tendered an apology, the agitators should call off their plans for the bandh.
In a democratic system, a writer has every right to express his views and espouse the cause of the downtrodden sections of the society. The people of Kodagu are known for their peace-loving nature and should desist from disturbing the peace, especially when students are taking their examinations.
If any writer tries deliberately to create rifts among people, such things should not be tolerated. There are legal remedies to tackle such issues.
The occasion calls for an introspection on the plight of the local tribals like Yaravas and Kurubas and efforts should be made to improve their living conditions.