New book ‘Rise and Fall of the Coorg State’ demands autonomous council for Kodagu
The newly released book on Coorg – Rise and Fall of the Coorg State – tries to throw more light on the circumstances leading to the unpopular merger of the erstwhile Coorg State (now officially known as Kodagu District) with Karnataka in 1956. The book also deals with the neglect ever since of the scenic Kodagu district by successive governments in Karnataka.
Authored by journalist P.T. Bopanna, the book finds answers to some of the questions like why the key players, including the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, took such a short-sighted decision resulting in the snuffing out of the prosperous Coorg State forever from the Indian map.
The book discusses the growing demand for separate statehood for Kodagu and suggests the political road map for the future of the district.
The author argues that the time is not ripe for an independent statehood, but favours the setting up of an autonomous council on the lines of the Darjeeling Gorkha Autonomous Hill Council in West Bengal to look after the developmental needs of the neglected region.
In view of the general belief among the locals in Kodagu that the then Chief Minister of the Coorg State, C.M. Poonacha, was mainly responsible for the merger of Kodagu with Karnataka, Mr Poonacha’s son and noted writer C.P. Belliappa has written a chapter in the book, explaining the circumstances in which his father had to agree for the merger of Coorg with Karnataka.
Well-known political scientist Dr Sandeep Shastri has given an ‘outsider’s’ perspective by writing a chapter on the feasibility of seeking separate statehood for Kodagu. He has also prescribed the ideal road map for political action by those demanding separate statehood.
Mr C.M. Ramachandra, former Editorial Advisor of The Hindu, Bangalore, who was the Coorg Correspondent of the Hindu newspaper in the 1950s when the crucial decision was taken to merge Kodagu with Karnataka, has written the foreword for the book.
The well-researched book with tables and other illustrations, has a chapter on how politicians in Karnataka have deprived Kodagu of its rightful share in Cauvery River water by diverting the water to irrigate the farm lands in their assembly constituencies.
There is an exclusive chapter on the Freedom Movement in Kodagu. The book also analyses the reasons for the shrinking population of the local Kodavas, and the exponential growth of the migrant population leading to an Assam-like situation.
Author Bopanna has nearly three decades of experience in journalism working for various national dailies in Bangalore. He is the author of ‘Discover Coorg’, the bestselling handbook on Kodagu which was recently translated into Kannada. Bopanna also runs the popular Kodagu websites www.coorgtourisminfo.com and www.coorgrecipes.com.
Published by Rolling Stone Publications, Bangalore, the book is priced at Rs 100. The book is available at all the leading book shops in Bangalore, including the Gangarams on M.G. Road. The book is available at Sapna Book House in Mysore, located next to Gayathri Bhavan on Narayan Shastry Road. The book is available at select shops in Kodagu, including Daily Needs, Gonikoppal, Komal’s, Madikeri, and MSR Mart, Virajpet. You can also shop online at www.sapnaonline.com