Powerful politician behind move to dilute Kodava gun privilege?
Is a powerful politician from Kodagu behind the diabolical move to marginalize the Kodavas (Coorgs) by taking away their gun privilege?
According to sources, the move to dilute the privilege has the backing of the politician from the district holding an important constitutional post in Karnataka.
It all started with the demand of the Kodava Takk Janangakarada Okkoota (Kodava-language-speaking groups) in Kodagu, comprising 18 groups, for ‘exemption certificates’ (ECs) to possess firearms, on the lines of the privilege enjoyed by ‘Coorg by race and Jamma tenure landholders’ in the district.
The Kodavas and the Jamma-holders, including non-Kodava groups, have the privilege of possessing firearms without licence granted to them first by the British and then under the Indian Arms Act after Independence.
The Okkoota president wrote to the Kodagu deputy commissioner in February this year to include these Kodava-speaking groups in the ‘Coorgs by race’ category.
The groups mentioned were Heggade, Amma Kodava, Airi, Koyava, Kodava Savita, Banna, Kudiya, Kembatti, Kaniya, Meda, Kodava Madivala, Kodava Nayar, Maleya, Panikka, Boonepattama, Koleya, Golla and Baniya.
Apparently at the instance of the powerful politician from Kodagu, the deputy commissioner wrote to the Karnataka principal home secretary in June seeking an opinion.
The home department replied in October that it was for the deputy commissioner to ascertain whether the 18 groups came within the ambit of ‘Coorg by race’ or ‘Jamma tenure landholders’ and consider granting the exemption.
The President of the Akhila Kodava Samaja Mathanda C. Monnappa and the head of the Codava National Council N.U. Nachappa have strongly opposed any move to include other communities in the ‘Coorg by race’ category.
It is a well known fact that the Kodavas are a unique race and this fact has been recorded by the British historians. Most of the other Kodava-speaking groups in Kodagu migrated to Kodagu from outside.
In his Gazeetteer of Coorg published in 1870, G. Richter says: “The Coorgs, or Kodagas as they are properly called, are the principal tribe of the country and from time immemorial the lords of the soil. For the last two centuries they are known as a compact body of mountaineers who resemble more a Scotch clan than a Hindu caste…. it ought to be the pride of the Coorgs to discard the notion of caste altogether, which in fact does not apply to them, and to stand upon their own merit as “Kodagas”, the remarkable mountain clan of Coorg.”
EDITOR’S VIEW: The move by the Okkoota to include the 18 Kodava-speaking groups under ‘Coorg by race’ category, is a political conspiracy to marginalize the Kodava community. Including the groups in ‘Coorg by race’ is not going to help these groups in the long run. These groups have their own culture and traditions which form the mosaic of the Kodagu heritage. The people of Kodagu should resist the move of the politicians to divide the people.