By P.T. Bopanna
It is the girls who call the shots in the matrimonial market in the Kodava (Coorg) community in Karnataka. It is not just that. Nowadays, the girls expect the Kodava boys to have a “sense of humour”.
The evolution of matchmaking in the microscopic Kodava community living in Kodagu district, has undergone several twists and turns in the last 50 years.
In the 1960s, boys in the Army were most sought after. The Generals from Coorg – Cariappa and Thimayya had become household names soon after the Independence. Those holding the rank of ‘Captain’ in the Army commanded the maximum clout.
Besides the Army, those employed in large plantations in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, carried lot of weightage. Those working as ‘Assistant Managers’ in plantations and rode ‘bullet’ motorcycles were the glamour boys those days.
In the 1970s, following the coffee boom, the tide turned in favour of local Kodava boys who owned coffee estates in Coorg. With the boom, most of the households in Kodagu had a four-wheeler.
The 1980s and 1990s saw a major shift. Prior to this, girls were married off soon after graduation. The situation began to change with girls going in for higher studies and pursuing careers. With this, the tide changed in favour of girls who were better qualified and drew a higher salary.
In the matchmaking market, the girls began asserting themselves. Their demands included that besides the job, the boy should also own large acreage of land back in Kodagu.
Presently, it is the girls who dictate the terms in matchmaking. The other day I met an eligible girl and asked her what were her expectations. Without batting an eyelid, she replied that the boy should “have a sense of humour.”
The inference is simple. Both are equal partners. That is how it should be. Gender equality is the new mantra.