ATHUR VILLAGE IN COORG: A MINI NURSERY OF KODAVA WRITERS IN ENGLISH
By Shrividya Somanna
A land known as the nursery of Indian Hockey, Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka State has been a cradle for sports and Army. However, located down south of Kodagu, Athur village near Gonikoppal town has been a mini nursery for writers! The village is home to four popular writers in English – C.P Belliappa and his sister, Kaveri Nambisan, P.T. Bopanna and his son Devaiah Bopanna.
It does look like Athur village has given birth to these Kodavas with a talent to be ‘pen-tastic’ not just at an amateur level, but at a professional one.
Growing up, I listened to stories of Princess Victoria Gowramma and Narimangala. My childhood days spun into a web of stories from different Kodava writers narrated to me by my mother. Sometimes, with a tale of a tiger’s tail by C.P. Belliappa.
As a teenager, I pondered over P.T Bopanna’s question, “Are Kodavas Hindus?” and sneaked a laugh at (AIB) All India Bakchod’s comic stories whose head writer was Devaiah Bopanna.
Chepudira P. Belliappa or popularly called as C.P Belliappa pursued a career in engineering. However, settling down in Coorg as a planter, he has been promoting technical education. He has also penned many articles and is famous for his books, “Victoria Gowramma: The Lost Princess of Coorg”, “Nuggets from Coorg History”, “Tale of a Tiger’s Tail and other Yarns from Coorg.”
His sister, Kaveri Nambisan has a unique style of writing. Her popular books like “The Scent of Pepper” can take you on a ride to Scotland of India, Kodagu with vibes of ethnicity. Her other books like “Mango-Coloured Fish” and “The Hills of Angheri” showcase stories derived from personal experiences. She is a doctor by profession. Kaveri started off as a writer for children’s magazines. She was recognized as the Coorg Person of the Year in 2005.
A leading author and a journalist, Palanganda T. Bopanna has been writing books about Kodavas and Kodagu. He has promoted several websites, including www.coorgnews.in, dedicated to Kodagu news.
Bopanna is a recipient of the Gourmand international award for his book ‘The Romance of Indian Coffee.’
His son, Devaiah Bopanna, has co-founded a media company called ‘All Things Small’ which concentrates on writing true stories by giving a unique, modern touch to journalism. A Mumbai-based writer, Devaiah adds a tinge of comical approach to his writings.
These writers have touched many hearts with their writings. The root to their writing stems from Athur village and it is my dear hope that more writing talents mushroom from the Kodava land.