KODAVA THAKK (COORG LANGUAGE): FLAVOUR OF THE SEASON
By P.T. Bopanna
By a happy coincidence, Kodava language has been the flavour of the season this January.
It began with the news that Pattole Palame, the monumental work by Nadikerianda Chinnappa, covering Kodava culture, folksongs and traditions, had completed 100 years.
This was followed by an illuminating article by researchers Boverianda Chinnappa and Nanjamma Chinnappa, who maintained that Kodava thakk, the language spoken by the Kodavas (Coorgs), is an independent Dravidian language and not a dialect, as was wrongly surmised by early Western writers.
I am happy that both the stories were featured prominently in the blog of my recently promoted website www.kodavas.in, to preserve and promote the unique Kodava culture.
My posts received a lot of buzz and interesting responses. One of them was from Palandira Shubha, who lives in Bahrain. She wrote: “I have a copy of this much cherished book Pattole Palame which was originally presented to my maternal grandfather, Parvangada Kushalappa by the famous Kodava playwright Appaneruvanda Appacha kavi himself! Kushalappa gave it to his older daughter, Boju who gave it to her sister, Bollu (my mum). And I got it eventually.”
While on the Kodava language, I wish to point out that one of the most important literary works which came out in the recent years was the ‘Koḍava Arivōlé’ (dictionary), by Dr. Boverianda Chetticha Uthaiah and Boverianda Uthaiah Thangamma (in picture), published by Kodava Samskritika Adhyayana Peetha, Mangalore University, 2016.
Though a few Kodava dictionaries had been published in the past, Arivole is the first comprehensive tri-lingual dictionary which, besides providing meanings of the Kodava words in Kannada and English, explains the meaning of words in the Kodava language itself. This dictionary will serve as an important resource material for the development and research of Kodava language in the coming years. The Arivole also uses diacritical marks to indicate the correct pronunciation of Kodava words which are written in the Kannada script.
Dr Uthaiah, a former professor of agricultural sciences, had told this writer a few years ago that since he was not in a position to write due to age-related problems, he was assisted by his wife in the writing part of the work. Thangamma, born in the Kolera family, helped in the inclusion of Kodava words from Kiggatnad in the dictionary.
Dr. Uthaiah and Thangamma dedicated 15 years to collecting Koḍava words and their meanings to make the dictionary as comprehensive as possible.