By P.T. Bopanna         

Though the Coorgs (Kodavas) benefited from the British rule, the nationalist movement sweeping India, did not spare Coorg (Kodagu). The freedom movement threw up several leaders from Coorg. Many common people, including students, courted arrests in large numbers to protest against the British rule.  During the ‘Quit India’ movement alone, 150 people were arrested in Coorg and 80 persons were imprisoned.

Among those who were in the lead during the early years of the freedom struggle, were Congressmen – Pandianda I. Belliappa (in picture) and Paruvangada Kushalappa. The latter had an untimely death in 1928 at Madras while he was returning from the Calcutta Congress session.

The first batch of freedom fighters to be arrested in Coorg in 1930 were Pandianda Belliappa, Kollimada Karumbayya (who later became a Rajya Sabha MP in 1954-55), Janab Abdul Ghafur Khan, of Bilugunda, and H.R. Krishnayya, of Besagur.

Coorg women did not lag behind during the freedom struggle. The women who courted arrest were Baliatanda Muddavva, Pandianda Seetha Belliappa, and Mukkatira Bojamma.

The Kodagu Weekly, started by the Coorg Company in 1920, was instrumental in spreading the nationalistic awareness among the people. The stalwarts of the freedom struggle, including Pandianda Belliappa and C.M. Poonacha were part of the editorial team of the Weekly which featured mainly political issues.

In 1929, Congress volunteers picketed liquor shops and other business establishments selling foreign goods at Virajpet and Madikeri. In a daring act, Mallengada Chengappa, B.G. Ganapaiah and Mandepanda Cariappa removed the Union Jack, and hoisted the Indian National flag at the Madikeri Fort in December, 1930.

Around the same period, C.M. Poonacha was involved in the composing, cyclostyling and distribution of a publication named ‘Veerabharati’ from Gonikoppal.  The police finally managed to track the cyclostyling machine. Poonacha was sentenced to nine months rigorous imprisonment at Kannur jail. 

Students of the Madikeri Central High School too participated in a strike, leading to the closure of the school for 10 days. The students arrested on the occasion included S.R. Narayana Rao (literary figure Bharati Suta), C.B. Monnaiah and Poojari Ramappa. The students were rusticated from the school.

Public meetings were held at Virajpet, Gonikoppal, Hudikeri and Irpu to spread political awareness. Among those who addressed these meetings were Jammada Madappa, Chokanda Devaiah, Kalengada Chinnappa, Vokkaligara Annaiah, Ajjamada Madappa, Ajjamada Ayyamma, Ajjikuttira Chinnappa, and Ajjikuttira Ponnappa.

Harikatha Vidwan Belur Keshavadas was externed from Kodagu for staging Harikatha programmes to infuse patriotic feelings among the people.

Several senior Congress leaders such as Allur Venkata Rao, Ranganath Diwakar, and Kamaladevi Chattopadya visited Coorg to motivate local leaders.  Eminent writers like D. R. Bendre, K.V. Puttappa, Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, D.V. Gundappa also made trips to Coorg to enthuse the people. 

Many affluent planters who were used to dressing in Western attire and consuming foreign liquor, started wearing traditional Indian dresses and also gave up alcohol.

In 1930, the sale of liquor was affected due to the picketing of liquor shops under the leadership of Koravanda Ponnappa. Many women, led by Kotera Accavva picketed liquor shops.

During the annual Keil Poldu festival, the sale of liquor came down from 800 gallons to 200 gallons at Virajpet and from 300 gallons to 36 gallons at Gonikoppal. Consequently, several excise contractors were not able to pay the bid amount and had to give up their contracts. According to a report, the sale of arrack which was 2,742 gallons in Coorg in 1929, dropped to 229 gallons in 1930.

Mahatma Gandhi toured Coorg in February, 1934, to propagate the eradication of untouchability. The Mahatma visited the Harijan colony at Kaikeri in South Coorg. He stayed at the Ramakrishna Ashrama at Ponnampet. Gandhiji who entered Coorg from Thithimathi, visited Gonikoppal, Hudikeri, Virajpet, Ammathi, Siddapur and Suntikoppa prior to addressing a large public meeting at the ground near the Raja’s Seat in Madikeri.

The freedom struggle peaked in Coorg during the Quit India movement. Pandianda Belliappa, Kotera Karumbaiah, Chekkera Monnaiah, and Kollimada Karumbaiah were arrested in August, 1942. C.M. Poonacha was arrested while returning from the Bombay session of the Congress. Subsequently, Biddanda Cariappa, Korana Devaiah, Mandepanda Somaiah were arrested. They were taken to the Vellore Jail in Madras State. Students too were in the forefront of the movement. These included Ajjikuttira Appanna, Paruvangada Uttanna, B.D. Subbaiah, Maneypanda Chinnappa, and Singura Kuttappa. Around 90 students of the Virajpet High School were expelled from the school hostel.

The office of the Kodagu Weekly was sealed and its Sub-Editor B.D. Ganapathy was arrested.

The events which marked the freedom struggle in Coorg go to prove that the people of Coorg did not lag behind in nationalist fervour and sacrifice. 

Source: Rise and Fall of the Coorg State by P.T. Bopanna. Rolling Stone Publications (2009). The ebook is available on Google Play store.




Researchers Dr Boverianda Nanjamma Chinnappa and Boverianda Chinnnappa (in picture) have tried to answer the question as to why Kodavame or Kodava way of life is relevant today.

In their foreword to the book ‘Are Kodavas (Coorgs) Hindus?’, the couple has noted that Kodavame is a precious heritage “handed down to us by our ancestors”.

In their foreword, the Chinnappas wrote:

We commend P.T.Bopanna for his initiative in selecting the theme for this book and bringing together well-known writers to contribute to it – a book whose time has come. This book may well be the catalyst that will help Kodavas understand and appreciate their way of life and take steps to preserve it.

The title of this book ‘Are Kodavas (Coorgs) Hindus?’ is undoubtedly thought-provoking. It is an important question for today’s Kodavas to ponder upon – a question that may not even occur to most of them. While seeking to answer it, this book attempts to understand the question, discusses it from various points of view, and introspects on ‘Kodavame’, the way of life of the Kodava community.

Kodavas are an ancient tribe, who were primarily ancestor and nature worshippers. Like most primitive tribes, they deified their ancestors; they respected the forces of nature that governed their lives, and worshipped the deities who they believed embodied or controlled each of these forces.

Hinduism is an ancient religion that evolved over a long period of time. It is more a spiritual way of life than an organized religion. Unlike the other major religions, Hinduism has no one holy text that defines it but a multitude of sacred writings that cover a whole range of beliefs. Amongst its countless gods are the tribal deities who were absorbed into the Hindu pantheon.   

Over time, with the spread of Hinduism in South India, Kodavas, like other tribal groups, assimilated some of the Hindu beliefs and forms of worship, although they did not accept Brahmins in their rituals or adopt the caste system of Hinduism. Their deities too were absorbed into the Hindu pantheon.

The articles in this well-researched and informative book address the question posed in the title from the points of view of several writers – views that overlap, converge, diverge and sometimes are quite different from each other. The writers have defined the key words in the title, or words related to it – ‘Kodavas’, ‘Hindus’ and ‘religion’ – in order to clarify and elaborate their views. They have pointed out the stark differences between some of the Kodava customs and those followed by Hindus and have shown how, over time, the Kodava way of life has moved towards the Hindu way of life. And, in order to give some context to the question, they have described Kodava customs and practices and narrated its history in brief.

The author of the book, P.T.Bopanna, says this is “a serious effort…to analyze and debate the various facets of Kodava religion” and “to inform Kodavas, especially the younger generation, about their original faith and belief system” and “help them to better appreciate their original faith which is slowly being eroded….”

That raises another question – why is it important that Kodavas be made aware of and appreciate their original faith? This has been answered in different ways by the writers and may be summed up as: so that they are inspired to maintain their unique identity and faith which respects elders and nature and which keeps their society stable and helps protect the environment. One may further ask – but why is it important to practice and preserve this unique identity and faith? To which, the answer in this book is: because it adds to the diversity and richness of global culture and helps it survive, just as the variety of species in nature adds to the rich biodiversity of life on earth and helps it survive.

We wish to add another dimension to this answer: The immensely practical and pragmatic nature of Kodava customs made them easy to comply with. Because the codes of conduct and traditions of Kodava faith were transmitted orally down generations, with no ‘guru’ or ‘dogmatic document’ to dictate customs, they were not frozen in time, and remained flexible enough to meet the needs of changing circumstances.

In the words of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakishnan: “It is essential to every religion that its heritage should be treated as sacred” to help “transmit culture and ensure the continuity of civilization.”… “A living tradition influences our inner faculties, humanizes our nature, and lifts us up to a higher level. By means of it, every generation is moulded in a particular cast which gives individuality and interest to every cultural type.”

The writers Bopanna chose for the book, as their articles reveal, have themselves lived the Kodava way of life, have observed Kodava cultural practices keenly, studied them, thought deeply about them and questioned them. They have written honestly, boldly, forcefully, and with conviction. Each writer wrote from his or her perspective, unaware of what the other contributions to the book would be, and that has added to the value of the book as a text to be debated.

We urge Kodavas to read this book attentively, debate and discuss the views presented in it, especially the ‘way forward’ suggested at the end. And, at a personal level, we encourage them to understand and practice the simple, unique faith of the Kodavas with pride. Kodavame is a precious heritage handed down to us Kodavas by our ancestors. We hope that it will be practiced and preserved for generations to come, and continue to add to the rich diversity of faiths in India. 

Are Kodavas (Coorgs) Hindus? by P.T. Bopanna is available on Amazon:



By P.T. Bopanna

As a born Kodava (Coorg), I feel the Kodava belief in ancestor and nature worship, is nearer to rationalism, than the mainstream Brahminical Hinduism.

Because the Kodava faith was transmitted orally down generations, it was not frozen in time and remained flexible to adopt to changing circumstances.

Kodavame, or Kodava way of life, is a precious heritage handed down to us by our ancestors. It should be practiced and preserved for generations to come.

But I cannot understand why the modern day Kodavas, especially the women, try to follow outdated Brahminical rituals and go after swamis of dubious reputation.

Being a rationalist, I have always admired physicist Stephen Hawking. The same goes for philosopher Bertrand Russell, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and our very own E.V. Ramaswamy Naikar, popularly known as Periyar, the leader of the Dravidian movement. All these geniuses advocated scientific reasoning, instead of blind belief in dogmas.

I was always stumped when a believer wanted to know as to who created this universe, if there was no God.

Finally, Hawking provided the answer in his book ‘The Grand Design’. He argued that the Big Bang was the consequence of the laws of physics alone and there was no need to invoke God to explain the origin of the universe.

In response to criticism, Hawking had said; “One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, but science makes God unnecessary.” When pressed on his own religious views by the Channel 4 documentary Genius of Britain, he clarified that he does not believe in a personal God.

Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.

We should be thankful to our first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for advocating scientific temper, even though he may have failed as an administrator.

I admired Periyar, the Dravidian icon, for fighting against the blind belief of people, though I did not approve of his beating up Hindu idols with slippers.


Caricature of P.T. Bopanna by cartoonist Nala Ponnappa

Source: ‘Round and About with P T Bopanna’, Rolling Stone Publications, 2022. Buy paperback book at Amazon:


By P.T. Bopanna

A research paper published in an American science journal has ruled out that Kodavas (Coorgs) in Kodagu district of Karnataka have foreign origin, but opined that Kodavas are “as local as their neighbouring communities.”

A recent paper published in the open-source scientific journal BioRxiv summarized their findings of whole genome data from 111 US-based Kodavas.

This was part of a US Kodava Genome Initiative initiated by Kodira Dilip Chinnappa (in picture), a reputed genome scientist who has contributed immensely to several high-profile genome projects including the mapping of the first human genome.

A graduate of Indiana State/ Indiana University School of Medicine, Dilip is currently Head of Data Science at PureTech Health, a biotech company in Boston where he leads the biomarker discovery efforts for developing novel therapies for the diseases of the brain. 

A key finding of this study is that the present-day Kodavas have similar amounts of Western Eurasian ancestry as most South-western Indian populations, with no discernible genetic contributions from Greeks, Iranians, Scythians, or other Western Eurasian populations.

These findings suggest that Kodavas are as local as their neighbouring communities are in their own geographical locations.

Further, they emphasize that any oral histories must be assessed in the context of food, lifestyle, environment and geographical isolation, and not just based on genetic data.

The popular theories on the origin of Kodavas include, that they are descendants of Alexander the Great who invaded India to a band of Kurds from the Iraq region who fled to India to escape conversions into Islam.

This research was a collaboration of a team of well-known genomic scientists and anthropologists led by Prof. Maanasa Raghavan of University of Chicago. She is a well-known geneticist known for her work on genetic histories of South Asian populations.

Dr. Arjun Biddanda, the lead author is a young American-born Kodava scientist with expertise in ancestry and disease risk. The author list includes Dr. Anjaparavanda Naren, another prominent Kodava scientist who is known worldwide for his work on Cystic Fibrosis and gene therapy. He is the Director of the Cedars-Sinai Cystic Fibrosis Research Center in Los Angeles.

One of the limitations of this study is the lack of ancient DNA from the Kodavas.

A major contribution of this study is the creation of the first reference Kodava Genome Resource that can be used for future in-depth studies on population history, migration pattern and genomic medicine of the Kodavas.


By P.T. Bopanna

It is a matter of pride for the Kodava community that a pre university college set up by the Kodava Education Society has not only achieved 100 per cent results, but bagged the second and third ranks in Kodagu district in Karnataka.

The Coorg Institute of Pre University College (CIPUC) was set up at Halligattu near Ponnampet in 2017 on a sprawling green campus. There are two branches viz. PCMB and PCMC with 60 intakes each. 

Dr Rohini Thimmaiah is the principal and she heads a team of well accomplished teaching faculty.  Students are given personal attention and guidance by the teaching staff.  Parents are kept informed of their children’s progress in academics as well as in other extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. 

CIPUC students regularly win quiz and debating competitions.  The campus offers ample facilities for outdoor and indoor games.

One of the important factors in CIPUC is the coaching given to the students in writing the Common Entrance Test (CET).  The coaching starts from the first year of PUC and it gets intensive in the second year.  CIPUC students invariably emerge with good ranking in CET.

So far four batches have graduated from CIPUC.  Results have been consistently good and there is improvement in the performance year on year.  

Quite a few of the students graduating from PCMC stream join Coorg Institute of Technology (CIT) for a degree in engineering. The training they receive in CIPUC helps them cope very well in the engineering subjects.  Admission for 2022-2023 academic year is in progress. 



By P.T. Bopanna

Agastya Muthanna, a proud son of Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka, who was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship, has graduated from the Harvard Business School in the United States with flying colours.

Agastya, son of Maneyapanda Nirad and Deepa Muthanna, was admitted to the Harvard Business School in 2019 and the same year, he was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship. At Harvard, he was a co-president at the Global Business Club. He currently works for McKinsey in London.

After completing his schooling at Aditi School, Bangalore, Agastya was admitted to Cambridge University in the UK. He was awarded a full HSBC Scholarship for his undergraduate education. He was employed by McKinsey – a management consulting firm and worked on projects related to environmental sustainability.

Agastya is a keen scuba diver and has represented his college in squash. He has always been focused on environmental and sustainable issues. He was selected from school as the British Council Climate Change Champion.

He has also been associated with the Union ministry of environment and forests and helped draft legislation around reintroducing the Cheetah in India and protecting the Ganges river dolphin.

At Cambridge University, Agastya was elected as President of the Marshall Society of Economics, one of the oldest and most active societies.

He is married to Dr Olivia Muthanna a medical graduate from Oxford University.  They have a young son Felix Muthanna.

Two of Agastya’s great grand fathers were Chief Conservators of forests. Maneyapanda Appachu Muthanna in Bangalore and Biddanda Chengappa in the Andaman Islands. Agastya’s father Nirad was an honorary wildlife warden in Coorg.


By P.T. Bopanna

‘Coorg Person of the Year’ Dr Sanjana Kattera (in picture) has completed her Masters in public health from the prestigious Harvard University in the United States.

Dr Sanjana, member of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine trial team, had won the Coorg Person title in 2020, perhaps the youngest to win the title.

While pursuing her masters in Harvard University, she got an opportunity to work with the Children’s Foundation of Mississippi, where she was able to develop a policy memo addressing and proposing changes in legislation to improve the health outcomes in foster youth.

After graduation from Harvard, she has secured an internship to work on Type 1 diabetes with Pittsburg University and has been posted in Dhaka, Bangladesh to conduct the study.

Further, she has also been selected to take up a prestigious fellowship in the UK to pursue her passion in enhancing population health measures in children and adolescents with disabilities which she will start in September.

Dr. Sanjana, daughter of Dr. Suresh Kattera and Smitha Suresh, did her schooling in the United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA) in Singapore. She studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh in the UK.  


By Boverianda Nanjamma and Chinnappa

Much as we admire him and are inspired by him, we have never seen our grandfather Nadikerianda Chinnappa – he died before we were born. We are cross-cousins. This narrative is based on recollections of our parents, aunts and elder cousins, gleaned in casual conversations over the years.  

He had gone to a remote village, riding his horse across a stream and through a forest path to investigate a quarrel over ownership of a strip of land. On his way back, he stopped by the stream to eat the rice roti sweetened with jaggery that his wife had packed for him. The sun was setting behind the hills, and had painted the scattered clouds in brilliant hues of red and gold. Captivated by the scene, Nadikerianda Chinnappa (in picture) sat lost in thought, when he heard the distant sound of Kodava dudis (drums). He mounted his horse quickly and raced towards the drum-beats. Four men seated around a bon-fire near the village green were singing Kodava folk-songs, practicing for Puthari, the harvest festival. It was getting dark, but he waited for them to finish. They recognized him, and touched his feet respectfully. He invited the leader of the team, and took him home on his horse.

This was not uncommon – his wife Nanjavva knew that he had brought a singer home for the night. She made a bed for the visitor in the attic, and served them a hot meal with a drink of frothing toddy. Refreshed, Chinnappa and the singer sat in the hall, and while the singer sang a ballad, Chinnappa transcribed the words late into the night. After many such sessions with singers, he had a good collection of Kodava songs sung during weddings, funerals and festivals, and ballads in praise of deities and heroes.

Himself a good singer, it was Chinnappa’s passion for Kodava songs and ballads that prompted him to collect them. During his travels around Kodagu as a Police officer, he observed that the unique customs and traditions of the Kodava community that he belonged to and was proud of, were being forgotten or changed. This was in the early 1920s. He feared that Kodava traditions and songs that had been handed down orally over the generations would be lost, because of the dominance of the English language, and the influence of the cultures of neighbouring areas. So he decided to document them.

After work, late in the evenings, he neatly wrote down all the songs, proverbs and riddles that he had compiled, by the dim light of a kerosene lamp, literally burning the midnight oil, while smoking his favourite cigars. When he started documenting the customs and traditions, he consulted his mother Ponnavva who was well-versed in them. His wife would read what he had written to ensure that it was clear to a lay person. If there were parts that she did not understand, he tore up the pages and rewrote them. The waste paper basket was always full in the morning. 

While he worked, his concentration was absolute. One Sunday, when he was writing at his desk in the verandah of his ancestral home, his two-year old son stood at the edge of the verandah, about four feet above the stone-paved court-yard, and called out “Appa, shall I jump? Shall I jump?” A servant maid who was sweeping the yard saw this and chided her master “Is your scribbling that important that you cannot listen to your son?” 

British officials in Coorg (as Kodagu was called by them), encouraged Chinnappa and got his draft book reviewed by some prominent Kodavas. On their recommendation, C.S.Sooter, Commissioner of Coorg, authorised financial assistance to publish it. Chinnappa chose the name Pattole Palame, meaning ‘Silken Lore’, for his book, which was first published in 1924. Its 6th edition was printed in 2012. 

The Pattole Palame, is a precious document of the heritage of the Kodava community. In the second edition published by the University of Mysore in 1975, the editor describes it as one of the earliest, if not the earliest, extensive collection of folklore of any Indian community written in an Indian language by an Indian. 

The text of the Pattole Palame is in Kannada and the folksongs, proverbs etc., in it are in Kodava thakk, the language of the Kodavas, an oral language written using the Kannada script. Nearly two-thirds of the book consists of folksongs that were transmitted orally down generations, and are sung even today. Traditionally known as Balo Pat, these songs are sung by four men who beat dudis as they sing. The songs have haunting melodies and evoke memories of times long past. Kodava folk dances are performed to the beat of many of these songs, which are a rich source of information on the language, culture and history of the Kodava people. 

Nadikerianda Chinnappa himself began translating the Pattole Palame into English, but could not complete it. He died of cancer in 1931 at the age of 56, a few months after his retirement. It was in 2003, nearly 75 years after the Pattole Palame was published, that we, his grandchildren, translated it into English and published it.  

Although he was best known for the Pattole Palame, Chinnappa’s major literary work as a poet was the Bhagavantanda Paat, his translation of the Bhagavad Gita into the Kodava language, composed in the style of Kodava folksongs, published in 1929.

When Grierson, a British linguist, embarked on the first Linguistic Survey of India (1913 to 1920), he looked for knowledgeable representatives of the various Indian languages. Chinnappa, who was good in both English and Kodava thakk, was chosen for the Kodava language. As required, he translated the parable ‘Prodigal Son’ into Kodava thakk and narrated it, and sang his own poem on the river Kaveri “Sri Moola Kanniye”. These were recorded in 1922 on gramophone records, and copies of the recordings in all the languages were kept in the British Library in London and in the Madras Museum. They were digitised recently by the Linguistics Department of the University of Chicago.

Born in 1875, Chinnappa was the fifth of eight children. After matriculating in Madikeri, he went to Mangalore for further studies. But when his elder brother Subbayya died suddenly, Chinnappa returned to Kodagu to take on family responsibilities. In accordance with Kodava tradition, he married Subbayya’s widow, Nanjavva. 

His career took many twists and turns. A teacher at first, then a Revenue Inspector, and then an officer in the Coorg Regiment of the army, he joined the Police Department when the regiment was disbanded in 1904, and rose to the rank of a Prosecuting Inspector. 

Chinnappa was fond of sports. He was a bowler in the All Coorg XI Cricket team, which in those days consisted mainly of Englishmen. When he played billiards at the Victoria Club in Virajpet, his British opponents would often swear under their breath on losing a game to him. On one such occasion, Chinnappa lost his patience, broke the billiards stick on his knee and threw it on the floor. This was a very daring act for an Indian, and the story made the rounds in the club for a long time.

Chinnappa was involved in establishing the Police Officers’ Co-operative Society, Coorg Co-operative Society, Coorg Central Bank and the Coorg Education Fund. 

He was known to be very fond of children and always had peppermints in his pockets for them. He was a caring father to his own three children, to his two step-children by his elder brother, and to his deceased sister’s daughter, whom he and Nanjavva adopted. He sponsored the education of many poor children, and there were always a few students boarding in his residence, free of cost. 

Nadikerianda Chinnappa was a man of vision and talent, who was self-driven. He was a folklorist, poet, police officer, sportsman, historian, singer, philanthropist, and a caring householder. Above all, he was a man who lived life to the fullest and left a lasting and invaluable legacy for his people in his writings.



By P.T. Bopanna

Chiriapanda Pavitha Ashwin’s paintings drew much appreciation at the recently concluded ‘All Kodava Artist Visual Art Exhibition’ held at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru.

Pavitha (in picture), daughter of Mayanamada Poonacha and Bojamma, hails from Srimangala in Kodagu (Coorg). Currently residing in Bengaluru, she started her art journey in 2005.

The Kodavas (Coorgs) are nature worshippers, and their rituals and way of life symbolise this connection deeply. This same connection to nature is a common thread which runs through Pavitha’s paintings.

She specialises in realism in her paintings and her incredibly detailed work is her signature style. Her chosen medium is oil and acrylic, mostly on canvas. She has a background in interior design, and has a very good eye for colours, contrasts, textures and design which she picked up while studying at Art Institute of Dallas.

Pavitha has also specialized in abstract art, bringing out the beauty of the Universe, expressed in her Nebula series of paintings. Her body of work comprises over 40 artworks.

Pavitha noted: “Like many self-taught artists, my journey started with one painting – “The Teapot” (Oil on Canvas, 2006). It was a challenge due to the intricacy, details and the metallic texture that had to be rendered with care. This painting was a success, and from that point, I have not looked back.”

Pavitha is married to Chiriapanda Ashwin Uthappa, and they have two sons, Ved and Virat.

Follow the link to check out Pavitha’s work:




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.