“SESQUI CENTENNIAL OF COORG EDUCATION FUND
(By: C.P. Belliappa)
The 150th anniversary (Sesqui Centennial) of Coorg Education Fund, the oldest Kodava organization, was celebrated on 29th October 2013. It was in 1863 that eleven Coorg elders sat together to form the precursor to Coorg Education Fund (CEF), which was given the name: ‘Mercara School Endowment Plantation Fund’, with a corpus of Rs.7,305=00.
The British administration at the time granted an area of 315 acres to the organization to sustain the Fund. A coffee plantation was started in 150 acres out of this area and was aptly named – ‘School Estate’.
The distinguished eleven founder-members were:
1. Sri Cheppudira Subbaiah
2. Sri Bittiyanda Kariappa
3. Sri Coluvanda Kariappa
4. Sri Mathanda Appachanna
5. Sri Codanda Appachanna
6. Sri Chowrira Appayya
7. Sri Kuttetira Aiyappa
8. Sri Biddanda Muddaiah
9. Sri Coravanda Ponnappa
10. Sri Appaneravanda Achayya
11. Sri Konganda Appayya
Hundreds of Kodava boys and girls received scholarships from Mercara School Endowment Plantation Fund, and derived immense advantage out of education. However, the coffee plantation could not be maintained profitably due to worldwide depression. In 1916, the functioning of the Fund was revamped, and the organization was re-named as ‘Coorg Education Fund’ with Rao Bahadur Kodimaniyanda Subbaiah as the president.
About 850 boys and girls are being provided with scholarships every year. The focus is to identify the needy in our society, and CEF focuses mainly on students from government schools for financial aid.
The Sesqui Centennial was celebrated with Justice Dr Rama Jois, MP as the chief guest, and Sri A.H. Viswanath MP; Sri M.S. Ramanujan, Chief Post Master General; Sri A.K. Monnappa, IAS and Sri Gabrial Irwin, former MD of Prudential Financial Inc., as guests of honour. Sri Koothanda P Uthappa, 17th president since inception of CEF in 1916, presided over the function.
One of the highlights of the event was the release of a Special Postal Cover to commemorate the historic occasion. Sri M.S. Ramanujan, the Chief Post Master General of Karnataka, released the special cover and elaborated on how this distinction is bestowed, after much scrutiny, on truly deserving personalities and organizations. Special Postal Covers are much sought after collector’s item all over the world.
A website of Coorg Education Fund has been launched recently. Please visit: www.coorgeducationfund.org