By P.T. Bopanna

Just like two Indias, there are two Kodagus (Coorg) in Karnataka. One comprises of backward-looking bunch of Kodavas (Coorgs) who think they can protect their culture by issuing fatwas. Another set of Kodavas are forward-looking and believe that education is key to the progress of the community.

It was on account of the progressive sections in the Kodava community, the Coorg Institute of Technology (CIT) near Ponnampet town in Kodagu district of Karnataka has emerged as a centre of excellence, making every Kodava proud of the institution.

Coorg Institute of Technology (CIT) established in 1999 under the aegis of the Kodava Education Society (KES), has completed 22 years.  17 batches of students have graduated since its inception.  Engineers from CIT are employed in MNCs, IT majors, financial sector, management, administration, Indian Defence services, academics, and are entrepreneurs as well. 

So far more than 4000 students have earned their BE degree from CIT.  Out of these about 30% are Kodavas. 

CIT campus is one of the most picturesque in Karnataka (in picture).  Thanks to Tata Solar, the entire power requirement of the campus is met by solar energy.

A new branch, namely, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI & ML) has been introduced from the current academic year.  Other branches available are Computer Science & Engineering, Electronics & Communication Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Civil Engineering.

In 2017, KES introduced Pre-University Course in the campus.  A good number of these PUC students join CIT to pursue their education in engineering.

Instead of getting entangled in needless controversies by resorting to fatwas, the Kodava Samajas spread across Karnataka and other states, should concentrate on developing centres of excellence to hone the skills of the community.

In a recent article in The Indian Express, Dr Chotteyandamada Sowmya Dechamma, professor, researcher and Fulbright Scholar, who has done extensive research on Kodagu culture, said: “If Kodavas have been well-educated, reasonable with their assertion of identity, and relatively peaceful thus far, it is time we realised that it is because of our openness to change and not because we harped on purity.”