By P.T. Bopanna

Renowned researcher and an authority on Kodava culture, Boverianda Chinnappa (in picture) passed away on Friday night at Mysuru. He is survived by his wife and partner in his research works Dr Nanjamma Chinnappa.

The cremation of B.M. Chinnappa (89) was held on Saturday morning at Mysuru where the couple was living in the past few years.

This reporter is particularly saddened by the passing of Chinnappa as the couple had helped him immensely in his book and website projects.

Chinnappa was an engineer with degrees from Guindy, Madras University and Northwestern University, USA.

Nanjamma and Chinnappa, worked in Canada for nearly 20 years before they moved back to India after retirement.

Their first project was to translate into English “Pattole Palame”, a book on Kodava culture, folk songs and traditions, written by their common grandfather, Nadikerianda Chinnappa in the Kodava language and first published in 1924.

It took them nearly eight years to complete the translation of the book which runs into 700-plus pages and was published in 2003.

After completion of the translation project, they chalked out several other Kodagu projects. Their second project was documenting the Ainmanes or ancestral homes spread across Kodagu.

The couple visited close to 700 traditional and functional ainmanes belonging to all communities in Kodagu, and had taken around 1,500 photographs during their field-work which took them five years. Besides, they had listed more than 1000 ain-manes which either do not exist now or have been re-built on modern lines, and hence lost their originality.

Their book, ‘Ainmanes of Kodagu’ which covers their socio-cultural significance also, includes detailed maps showing the location of each ainmane that was visited. It also has many appendices related to Kodava culture, that sets the ainmane in its social and historical context. The book was published in 2014.

They were currently working on a web-site that contains detailed information and photographs of each ainmane visited, including oral narratives related to the okka to whom the ainmane belongs. Nearly 570 ainmanes have been uploaded on the website to-date. The website has provision for free downloads and has become very popular in Kodagu.

The passing of Chinnappa is a great loss, especially to the Kodava community as he had put in long hours of work daily with Nanjamma in documenting the various facets of Kodagu. The couple also encouraged various projects related to Kodava culture by giving talks at various forums and contributed articles to newspapers and magazines.

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