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Friday, 9 November 2012

Kodagu Nayakas: Part III

-->by: Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)

Kolhlhakongi Nayaka 

Kolhlhakongi Nayaka was the ancestor of the Nayakanda clan of Kadiyatnaad. In Konhanjageri village was the Kochamanda house, where now lays the Biddanda house. Near this house was a Bhagwathi (village goddess) temple. Now Kolhlhakongi Nayaka captured  the idol of that Bhagwathi temple forcefully and got it installed in the Bhagwathi temple near his house at Kirundad. This upset the villagers of Konhanjageri  and it’s chieftains the Kochamanda. So thereafter there used to be skirmishes between the villagers of Kirundad and Konhanjageri.

The Raja's Dalavoi (General), Pardanda Ponnappa, took advantage of  this feud and spent the night in the Kochamanda house where his men were fed well and given place to rest. In the wee hours of the next day Ponnappa and his  men awoke and went to the house of Kolhlhakongi Nayaka in Kirundad. The house is situated in what is now Kai-Kaadu village. The mansion of the chief was a mud  house guarded by a deep Kadanga (a simple fortification consisting of a ditch dug out between two mud walls). The house members were still asleep when Ponnappa and twenty five men knocked on the entrance door. The unwary residents  opened the door unarmed and then Ponnappa and his men barged in. The womenfolk cried out loud: ‘Enemies have entered’. Then the Nayaka and his brothers quickly  picked up their broad swords (called the Oidekatti) and rushed towards the intruders. They had a fierce fight until Kohlhakongi and his men were killed. Very few of Ponnappa’s men, who outnumbered them many times, sustained severe injuries.

Pardanda Ponnappa

When he heard of Kolhlhakongi Nayaka's death, Achchu Nayaka strengthened his defences and deepened his Kadangas. So Pardanda Ponappa and his men devised a  plan. A few of them disguised themselves as mendicants and went about Anjigheri naad, the land of Achchu Nayaka, in Kiggat naad. It was the Kail Polud (an important Kodava festival) season  and everybody were just too busy to notice the beggars who wandered at that time. Beggars often visited the place during times of festivity to be able to get some leftovers. Ponnappa's men surveyed the land and then went away. The Coorgs of the region were busy hunting. So one night when Achchu Nayaka and his men were away on a hunt Ponnappa and his men scaled the village walls and then entered the house of Achchu Nayaka. They had got into the house when the Nayaka's men returned and fell  upon the intruders. A battle ensued in which Achchu's men were mostly killed. Achchu Nayaka and Ponnappa fiercely fought each other by sword and sustained  serious injuries some to the head. Ponnappa fell unconscious while Achchu Nayaka who was outnumbered had his weapon taken away and was captured. They were all  taken away alongwith Achchu Nayaka's family to the Madikeri palace. Here Achchu Nayaka was treated as a guest and kept under house arrest. Anjigheri naad accepted the rule of Dodda Virappa (1657-1736) upon learning about the fall of their leader. Meanwhile Uththa Nayaka escaped  to Vayathur (Baithur) in Kerala.

The descendants of Uththa Nayaka and of Kolhlha Kongi Nayaka were called the Nayakanda of Beppoo naad and of Kadiyat naad  respectively, both are unrelated. Achchu Nayaka died in Madikeri and his eldest son went to the Malabar to learn Tantra. The Namboothiri Brahmins of Malabar were masters of Tantra, but a few of the  Coorgs (like Kaliatanda Ponnappa before Achchu Nayaka's son) who went there, learnt the art from them and returned into Kodagu to be revered all their life. According to Richter (who wrote in 1870), in around 1810, the family of Achchu Nayaka was exterminated. The house name of Achchu Nayaka's father was Katte (Kattera), a hero of this family of Kiggat nad was mentioned in the ancient Palame. This must have been the Kattera family of Kiggatnad, which is now extinct, probably due to the extermination ordered by the Kodagu Raja. However other branches of the Kattera clan is still existent and living in other parts of Kodagu. The Ajjikuttira family claim descent from Achchu Nayaka, some claim that his uncle was Ajjikuttira, others claim that his tantric son was called Ajji Kutty.

Coorg Patelas/ Palegaras

Royal Seal in 1790 (Courtesy: Richter, 1870)
Between the years 1782 and 1789, conflict arose between the Coorgs and the Mysore Sultans. The Haleri Raja dynasty members were imprisoned by Mysore. The Coorgs engaged the Sultanate in a guerrilla war and they kept  declaring themselves independent each time after the Sultan marched through Kodagu to secure it. 12 Coorg Palegaras (also called Patelas) led the Coorgs; four among them were more important, they being: Kuletira Ponnappa, his brother Kuletira Machchayya, Appaneravanda Achchayya and Pattacheravanda Boluka. Another Patela was Uththa Nayaka of Kadnoor. They led the Coorgs and later got the members of the Haleri dynasty to escape from confinement in Periyapatna.

  1. Chinnappa, Nadikerianda. 2006. Pattole Palame (Translated by Boverianda Nanjamma and Chinnappa) Delhi : Rupa.
  2. Chinnappa, N. 2006 [1924]. Pattole Palome (Kannada), Madikeri: Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Akademi.
  3. Krishnayya, D. N. 1974. Kodagina Ittihasa (Kannada), Mysore: University of Mysore.
  4. Muthanna, I. M. 1971. The Coorg Memoirs (The Story of the Kodavas), Mysore.
  5. Richter, Rev G. 1870. Gazetteer of Coorg Mangalore : Basel Mission.
  6. Rice, B. L. 1914. Epigraphia Carnatica Vol 1 . Madras: Madras Government Publications.

Kodagu Nayakas: Part II

-->by: Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)

Achchu Nayaka

Kiggat nad remained outside Haleri control until the reign of Dodda Virappa. Chittiappa Nayaka ruled Anjigheri nad (‘nad of five villages’), Mathth  Mukkati Nayaka ruled over Maththur and Machangala (Machangada) Nayaka ruled some other parts of Kiggat nad. Periyapatna was under relatives of the Ikkeri Rajas and allies of the Haleri Rajas. Nanjunda arasa was the Raja of Periyapatna.  Many Coorgs lived in Periyapatna at that time.

A feud arose between Chittiappa Nayaka and Machangala Nayaka. A tiger was killed in the forest, which bordered both their territories, and both claimed to have killed it. Chittiappa’s claim was widely accepted and so Machangala grew jealous. One night, along with his ally Mukkati Nayaka of Maththur, he had Chittiappa’s house burned down and it’s inmates killed. However, Chittiappa’s son Achchu was saved by the housemaid who then escaped to Periyapatna where she sought and obtained refuge. Nanjunda arasa ('ruler') became mentor for Achchu and got him educated in his palace. Upon his coming of age, he returned home and with assistance from Nanjunda arasa he defeated and killed his two sworn enemies who had destroyed his family. Then he annexed their territories and established himself as the Nayaka of Kiggat naad.

Uththa Nayaka

Uththa was an orphaned Coorg boy of common parentage. He was made the cowherd of the Buduvanda clan, the Thakkas (traditional local chieftains) in Beppoo naad in South Kodagu. He was noticed and brought up by Muddu Raja who was like a foster parent to him. Being a favorite of the Raja, the Raja gave his daughter Neelammaji in marriage to him, got a  fortified palace built in Armeri in Beppoo naad and made him the feudatory Nayaka there. This way the Raja planned that there would be an Haleri stronghold in South Kodagu just as it was there in North Kodagu where the Madikeri palace and fort and the palaces at Haleri and Horamale naad (Appangala) existed.

However the people of Beppoo naad didn't think highly of the Nayaka and would deliberately ignore him. This enraged Uththa Nayaka who was hurt and sought to avenge this insult. So he planned to get the Balliamanes (ancestral houses) of the  Bachetti and the Ichetti (Bachettira and Ichettira) clans burned down. The Bachettira and the Ichettira were powerful families of the region. One night Uththa Nayaka, along with his accomplices, crept up to the Bachetti and the Ichetti residences, got the doors locked from outside and burned down the hay-roofed houses. In those days the Coorgs lived in houses which had roofs made from the hay obtained after the paddy was threshed out. The people were trapped inside and they cried as they burnt to death in pain. Anyone who tried to escape, especially the men, were beaten up and killed.

In the Ichettira house, any chances of escaping were very slim, in fact impossible. There were several infants in the house at that time. The household maids, who lived in separate quarters, came toward the house on seeing the fire. The elders called out to the maids, picked up the infants and threw them out of the small high windows. Two of the infant sons survived and were carried away by the maids to safety. They headed to the Ballachanda clan who were close to the Ichettira clan and narrated the incidents the incidents that occurred  Feeling pity, the Ballachanda thereafter reared the two boys, one was named Appayya and the other was named Poovanna.  They survived into adulthood, got married and had children, thus they are recognized as the founders of Ichetti clan. Meanwhile, in the Bachetti  mane one of the pregnant women survived, having been away from the house and at her parents' place. She gave birth to a son who survived into adulthood, got married and had children. He thus regenerated the Bachettira clan and is recognized as the Karana (primal ancestor) of the clan. Later Ichetti Appayya became a  Dewan (Prime Minister) of the Coorg Rajas. The Ichettira and the Ballachanda clans don't inter-marry because they recognize each other as brother clans.

Later Uththa Nayaka was an opponent of Dodda Virappa his brother-in-law, son of Muddu Raja and the next king. Dodda Virappa had to fight off attempts that were made by Uththa Nayaka to oust him. Uththa had contrived to get the Kodagu country from him. According to one source, he had even managed to usurp the throne and become Raja for a while, around the initial years of Dodda-Virappa's reign. He allied himself with other dissidents such as Kolhlha Kongi Nayaka and Achchu Nayaka, independent Coorg Nayakas and contemporaries.


When Dodda Virappa was the Raja of Kodagu his relative Nanjunda was the Nayaka of  Periyapatna. Nanjunda's officials betrayed him and invited the Raja of Mysore, Chikka Deva Raja, to invade the town and rule over them. Perceiving this threat, Nanjunda fled to his kinsman to espouse his cause and march in his support against Mysore's  invading army. He had meanwhile left his son Vira Raja in command of his capital. But the enemy laid siege on the fort and captured it. In desperation, the Raja killed his wives and children, lest they fall into the hands of the enemy and get tortured, then he gallantly fought a losing battle against the enemy and got killed. It was too late before the army of Dodda Virappa could arrive. Thereafter  Nanjunda was a broken man who spent the rest of his years in Kodagu.  The Coorgs who had settled down in Periyapatna abandoned the place and entered Kiggat naad. Incidentally, Nanjunda had mentored Achchu Nayaka during his initial years as Nayaka of Anjigherinaad (and eventually of Kiggat naad entirely) and aided him in his war for power.

Palpare War

(Courtesy: Richter, 1870)
Chikka Deva Raja was in ecstasy after his victory.  He then marched forward towards Kodagu and sought the conquest of the land. His army marched into Balele in Kodagu and then proceeded into the plain of Palupare (Palpare) when their advancing forces were met by the Coorgs. The large army of Mysore was then fiercely slaughtered by the emotionally-charged and sturdy, but outnumbered, Coorg army. 15 thousand soldiers and 77 officers of the Mysore army died that day. The rest of the Mysore army was forced to flee.

Tomara War

Meanwhile, Uththa Nayaka was still scheming to get the throne. So as he planned, once the Coorg army had marched to face Mysore, he invited the Kote Raja Vira Varma of Waynad to invade Kodagu. Assuming that the Coorg army would be bettered by the Mysoreans, Uththa got a temporary fortress built for the Raja of  Waynad and his 5000 Nair soldiers at Tomara. He promised to provide this garrison supplies. But when Dodda Virappa heard of this treason, he sent over a force  of 1500 Coorgs to Tomara to lay siege to the place. Hence the garrison and the Kote Raja were cut off from any supplies which Uththa was prevented  from provided. Meanwhile, the victorious Coorg army returned from Palpare through Tomara. They destroyed the garrison, slaughtering it's men. Vira Varma,  the Kote Raja, surrendered before Dodda Virappa and pleaded mercy but was instead executed.

Pardanda Ponnappa

In 1718, Pardanda Ponnappa of Naaladi village of Nalku Nadu was the Sarva Karyagara (general) of Dodda Virappa. At that time parts of South Kodagu were independent of Haleri rule. Kiggat naad had been independent of the Rajas while Beppu naad was part of the Haleri kingdom but grew independent.  Dodda Virappa sent Pardanda Ponnappa along with a hundred men to defeat Kolhlhakongi Nayaka of Kadiyat naad, Uththa Nayaka of Beppoo Naad and Achchu Nayaka of Kiggat Naad.

Kodagu Nayakas: Part I

-->by: Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)

Map of Coorg (Courtesy:  Rice, 1914)
For centuries before the reign of the Haleri Rajas (c.1600-1834), Kodagu was under it's Nayakas. Kodagu was divided into 12 regions, groups of nads (shires), and each of them was ruled by a chieftain called a Nayaka (also called a Palegara, a Bachikara or a Bavu). Each region was divided and  separated from the other by a Kadanga (ditches fortified by mud walls) . These Kadangas remained untouched over the ages by the Haleris and after them as well. The hereditary families and the chieftains of each region are largely forgotten; as writing was not yet wide-spread then, no records remain till date. However oral traditions and references in the accounts about the Rajas mention them. The ancient Coorgs were allies of the Kolathiri kingdom of neighbouring Kannur; some Coorgs served as mercenary soldiers of these Hindu Rajas, but in general they traded large quantities of rice in exchange for gold, salt and other commodities  with them.

In the Song of Igguthappa (God of the Kodavas) there is the mention of one Nayaka of Kiggat naad, Appa Kongi Balu (the Nayakas of Kodagu were also called Balu or Bavu a term for a local leader). He gave an abode to the brother of Igguthappa, called Pemmayya, in Thirunelli on the fringes of Kiggatnaad in what is today in Waynad. This shrine of Pemmayya became the famous Thirunelli Janardhana temple dedicated to Shiva.

When Pemma Virappa was the Changalva Raja in around 1174 CE, his lieutenants were Gondayya and Kurchi Udayaditya, they were the Kodagu Malepas (hill chieftains, or Nayakas) of that age. Later some important Coorg Leaders were (Ajjikuttira) Achchunayaka of Anjikerinad in Kiggat naad, Karnayya Bavu of Bhagamandala, Kaliatanda Ponnappa of  Nalknad and (Nayakanda) Uththanayaka of Armeri in Beppu naad. Even after the reign of the Rajas a Council of Elders governed over the Coorgs. Some of the other lesser known Nayakas were Bavali Kolhlhakongi Nayaka of Kadiyat Naad, Kaibili (Kaibilira) Nayaka of Thavalhagheri naad, Maachangalha (Maachangada) Nayaka of Haththu gattu naad and Mukkati Nayaka of Maththur.

Even under the rule of the early Haleri  Rajas, from the reign of the first king through the reigns of his son, his grandson, until the reign of his great grandson large parts of Kodagu remained independent, to some degree, from the Haleri Rajas. These parts were controlled by powerful individuals who called  themselves Nayakas. While Kaliatanda Ponnappa and Karnembahu were contemporaries of the first Haleri Raja (Vira Raja), Chittiappa Nayaka, Machangada Nayaka and Maththur Mukkati Nayaka were contemporaries of Vira Raja's  grandson Muddu Raja, Uththa Nayaka, Achchu Nayaka and Kolhlha Kongi Nayaka were contemporaries of Muddu Raja's son Dodda Virappa. The descendants of Uththa Nayaka of Beppoo naad call themselves the Nayakanda today.

Kaliatanda Ponnappa and Karnayya Bavu (Karnembahu)

In circa 1600 CE, the first Haleri Raja, Vira Raja I, had established himself in Kodagu. At that time there were two powerful local lords: Karnayya Bavu of  Tavunad (Bhagamandala region) and Kaliatanda Ponnappa of Naalnaad (Nalknad). Kaliatanda (also called Kaliat) Ponnappa is the hero of a popular Kodava ballad. He was a magician, a  warrior and the most important person of Naalnaad. The following is the story of Kaliatanda Ponnappa.

In Kunjala village in Nalknad among the 20 original okkas who lived there, there was the Kaliatanda okka. To this clan belonged Kuttaya whose wife Chiyavva was of the Kuttanjettira okka of the neighbouring village of Bale Nurambada. But for years they had no offspring and so they performed penance for forty days and paid obeisance Iggutappa. After some time Ponnappa was born to the couple.

Kaliatanda Ponnappa studied the magic arts in North Malabar and became a famous tantric (magician). He had a friend and man Friday Boltu of Bollur, a very handy assistant who belonged to a forest-dwelling lower caste from the vicinity of Kodagu and was also well versed, like Ponnappa, in sorcery. Ponnappa reigned in Nalknad but displeased the Nayaka of Tavunad who became his nemesis. Kaliat Ponnappa went to the Haleri Raja to seek his protection against Karnayya Bavu of Thavu nad and his stealth army. At that time Nalknad was under the Haleri Raja, but Thavu nad still enjoyed some amount of independence.  After Ponnappa's death, Vira Raja managed to kill Karnayya and bring Bhagamandala and Thavu naad under his complete control. Ponnappa is also known as Kaliat  Achchappa. His followers who claimed to be possessed by his spirit would perform the magic tricks that he performed during his lifetime. He is an ancestor of the Kaliatanda clan.

While Richter claimed that Karnayya was a Coorg and Kaliat Ponnappa was a Malayali, this claim is erroneous. Many other historians like D. N. Krishnaiah, who were better equipped with information, clearly state that it was Karnayya who was from Kerala and Kaliat Ponnappa was a Coorg who however roamed the Malabar in his young days to procure an education. Richter, on the other hand, spoke about Ponnappa being a Malayali sorcerer who naturalised in Coorg, married a Coorgi woman, practised his trade in Nalknad and displeased some Coorgs who then shot  him dead near the Nalknad Kacheri. However Ponnappa's traditional ballad says that he was born of Coorg parents, Kaliatanda Kuttayya and Chiyavva, and that his mother was from the Coorgi Kuttanjettira clan. He was a magician who married his mother's brother's daughter and had an altercation with Karnayya whose men killed him.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

War of the Smartphones

-->by: Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)

A smartphone is a mobile phone with an operating system, multimedia support, Internet connectivity and some computer abilities. It would serve as a media player and a digital video camera, usually has a touchscreen, map navigation, Wi-Fi access and web browsers. Nokia's Symbian phones and Blackberry can be called the early popular smartphones. However it was the iPhones with their large multi-touchscreens (which used no stylus but the human touch) that revolutionized the smartphone world. Although I use smartphones, I still keep a Nokia feature phone maybe for old times sake and for simplicity.

Apple is credited for popularizing software technology be it the personal computer with it's Mac, the mp3 player with it's iPod, smartphone with it's iPhone or the tablet with it's iPad. Predictably iPhone 5 is a bigger version of the previous version, but there stops the freshness. IPhone 5 has arrived a year too late. In fact one can state that it is the Samsung Galaxy SIII that's the best smartphone currently with it's powerful hardware, polished looks and creative software. The iPhone 5 has simply been made as a competitor for the S III. But yes it is the best iPhone until date. As of today (November 3rd 2012) the sales of the S III has hit the 30 million mark. HTC One X is also another great advanced android smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy S III, the HTC One X, the LG Nexus 4, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and some other phones currently have screens that are bigger than that of the iPhone 5.

Currently Android rules the smartphone market with a market share of around 64 percent this year as compared to it's 43 percent last year. Meanwhile iPhone has roughly stayed the same with 18 percent market share. Symbian sales have fallen from 22 percent in 2011 to 6 percent in 2012. Every year the sales are decreasing but yet it is quite considerable enough not to ignore presently. Many Nokia devices use Symbian and Nokia is still the largest mobile device seller in India. Blackberry sales has fallen drastically intact it has halved; around 12 last year to about 5 percent this year. Microsoft's market share has increased from 1 percent to 2 percent especially after the introduction of Nokia's Lumia. Worldwide both Nokia and Samsung each make up around 20 percent of the mobile phones market share. Apple with around 7 percent of the share this year comes third. (Source: Gartner Reports, 2012)

In the US currently Android sales lead the way followed closely by Apple. Blackberry and Microsoft Phone are distant competitors with below ten percent of the smartphone market share. In China android makes up nearly 70 percent of the smartphone market share. In many European countries, Israel and in Australia, Android comes first followed by Apple. Blackberry still has a significant market in these countries. Symbian is used in Africa (nearly everybody in Guinea Bissau, Somalia, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Mozambique, many people in Niger, Swaziland, Egypt, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Chad), in India, Russia, Middle East (Oman, Iraq, Jordan), Central and Southern Europe (surprisingly a major player in Italy), South America (Paraguay) hardly ever used in USA and is on the decline in China.

License Patents have been brought out to protect Companies' intellectual property. But these have led to several disputes between companies. Litigation, suits and counter-suits have occurred between Software MNCs over the use of technology. Apple initially claimed that HTC and later Samsung have stolen and copied their design ideas. Some of the most famous law suits fought between Smartphone manufacturers have been: 2009 Apple vs. Nokia in 2009, Apple vs. HTC, Nokia and Motorola each in 2010, Apple vs. Nokia, Samsung in 2011, Microsoft vs. Motorola in 2010-11 and Apple vs. Samsung in 2012.

Genealogy: Part III

by Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)

Genographic Project

The National Geographic, IBM and the Waitt Family Foundation support the Genographic Project. It traces back the roots of the entire human race to South Central Africa around 50,000 years before period. You can call the first man Manu or Adam based on your religion, but science proves that he had lived in this region of Africa. From there some of them passed through the horn of Africa and Egypt into Eurasia. These early people went on to populate the rest of the world outside the African continent over thousands of years.

I had participated in the Genographic Project last year. Accordingly I bought the kit from them online. I scrapped the inside of my mouth with the small scalpel they provided, placed the scalpel with the saliva from the inside of my cheeks in a preservative and mailed it over to the Project people. A few weeks later I got to see the results; it said that my Y-chromosome was haplogroup R1a1 M17 (sub clade R1a1a, M198). This is a common gene found among speakers of the Indo-European languages (the language family which includes Sanskrit, Persian, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarathi, Marathi, Konkani and others). In India many North Indians and a few South Indians carry this gene.

People perceive this to be like the normal DNA medical tests but it isn't. The Y-chromosome in the case of men and the mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) in the case of women can be traced from the cheek cell samples. Y-chromosome is inherited from a father to a son and is absent in women. Likewise mDNA is passed on from a mother to a daughter and is not found in men. Sometimes rarely between several generations a gene would mutate. The carrier of this mutated gene would pass it on to their descendants; this marker helps distinguish the carrier's gene from that of other people. Thus an individual's ancestry thousands of years ago can be traced while nothing about their recent history can be determined.

Forested hills of Kodagu (Coorg)
R1a1 (M17) is hence the last inherited mutation among my ancestors. This shows that the Kodavas were most likely an Indo-European language (such as Sanskrit and other Indo-Aryan languages like Punjabi and Hindustani) speaking people who underwent a language shift after settling in South India hence becoming a Dravidian-speaking people. For more than two thousand years the Kodavas have lived in Kodagu, having settled the forest region in prehistoric times. Thus ends the genetic trail of a Kodava.

Legendary Interpretation

It is strange that the R1a1 gene should be found among the Kodavas. The Kodavas have lived in Kodagu for thousands of years and were the first agriculturists of the region. The Kodavas aren't Aryan by culture nor Indo-European speaking. Both their language and their culture are Dravidian like that of the other South Indians. However a legend states that a prince Chandra Varma, a son of Emperor Siddhartha of Matsya (a region in North India) and Chandravamshi Kshatriya (warrior of the lunar dynasty), lived in the Kodagu region. He fathered a 'fierce' race which later came to be called the Kodava race. Their mother, Chandra Varma's first wife, was a Dravidian; Chandra Varma's other wife was barren. The ten sons of Chandra Varma were married to the daughters of the Raja of Vidarbha (an Indo-Aryan kingdom in Northern Maharashtra). Thus this Chandra Varma, if the legend is true in some way, maybe the progenitor of the R1a1 gene among the Kodavas. The legend again speaks of the sons of Chandra Varma being the first to till the land of Kodagu. Hence the progeny of a legendary Indo Aryan man became Dravidian in language and culture over the thousands of years. This legend was found in the Kaveri Purana section of the Skanda Purana, one of the eighteen major Puranas, or books on Hindu mythology.
Male family members of a Coorg home.
Note that the people were bare-footed
 inside houses

(From: Richter, 1870).

But this gene and legend doesn't exactly account for the Kodavas being Brachycephals (having a large cephalic index, an anthropological measurement). The Brachycephals are a broad-headed people, among them being the Gujarathis (Desastha Brahmins and Prabhus), the Maharastrians (Marathas and Kunbi) and the Bengalis (Vaidyas) of India, identified by their high cephalic index, a ratio of the length and the breadth of the top of their heads. A few of the Punjabis (like the Khatris), the Konkanis (like the Shenoys) and the Mysoreans (like Iyengar Brahmins) were also found to be Brachycephals.

Again we can look further into the same Kaveri Purana legend, if it is valid, for clues. The sons of Chandra Varma married the daughters of Vidarbha Raja of Northern Maharasthra, a region inhabited by Brachycephals, hence we can credit the princesses of that same legend for the Brachycephaly of the Coorgs. Yours truly happens to have a sizeable cephalic index as well, nearly 90 in measurement. The cephalic index is the ratio of the maximum width to the maximum length of the head. There are three human groups based on this, the Dolichocephals (the long-headed), the Mesocephals (the medium-headed) and the Brachycephals (the broad-headed). They are not related to any skin complexion and they are found across all the continents.

There could be other genes as well found among the Kodavas. No studied community, however closely knit, has been found to have a single gene. Definitely all communities on earth have migrated to their respective regions of habitation at some point of time.


The Kodavas are related to a number of other Indian communities, among them the Punjabi Khatri (represented by the ten Sikh Gurus), the Bengali Brahmin, the Konkani Shenoy and the Iyengar. These mentioned groups are classified as Brachycephals and have the R1a1 gene like the Kodavas. Indians have been grouped into six groups by anthropologists on the basis of their physical characteristics : Negritos, Austrics, Brachycephals,  Tibeto-Burmans, Mediterraneans (Dravidians) and Nordics (Aryans).

Genealogy: Part II

by Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)

Family Tree

Great Grandparents

My patrilineal ancestors were Bilugunda Mookonda. Bilugunda (formerly known as Bonda) was the name of the village while Mookonda was the name of the clan. There are two Mookonda clans in Kodagu, one being the Mookonda of Devanagiri village near Virajpet town in Ede Naal naad and the other being the Mookonda of Bilugunda village near Ammathi town in Ammath naad. 

My family tree can be traced to the clans of my eight Kodava great grandparents - my paternal grandfather's father (Mookonda of Bilugunda village), my paternal grandfather's mother (either Madappanda or Kunjiyanda of Ammath naad, I am not sure at the moment), my paternal grandmother's father (Uddapanda of Ammath naad), my paternal grandmother's mother (Pemmanda of Kadnur village in Ede Naal naad), my maternal grandfather's father (Arpattu Mukkatira of Kadiyat naad), my maternal grandfather's mother (Bonda Mukkatira of Ammath naad), my maternal grandmother's father (Kotera of Murnaad) and my maternal grandmother's mother (Manduvanda) who is my earliest known matrilineal ancestor at present. 

Partial Family Tree (LucidChart)

Rajas of Kodagu

The Rajas of Kodagu ruled the Kodagu region until 1834 (this digression is necessary for the sake of the account given below). There were three kings and one queen of this line in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Dodda Vira Rajendra (Vira Rajendra the elder) was a warrior king who had allied with the British East India Company and fought Tipu Sultan. He was not just a man of the sword but supposedly a man of letters as well, being a historian who chronicled the reign of his dynasty in a book. He was succeeded by his daughter Devammaji the only queen of the dynasty and a mere child. She reigned for only two years when she abdicated the throne in favour of her paternal uncle, Linga Rajendra II, the younger brother of Dodda Vira Rajendra.                

Linga Rajendra was a great game hunter, he ruled during times of peace. He was known for having renovated the palace and for constructing the Omkareshwara temple, unique because it is built in the Indo-Sarcenic style. Like his brother he too supposedly wrote a book, called the Hukum Nama, that laid down rules for his officers. However both the brothers might have employed ghost writers to have the respective books written. Chikka Vira Rajendra (Vira Rajendra the younger), Linga Rajendra's son who succeeded him, however got into trouble with the British East India Company. Kodagu was then annexed and the reign of the Haleri dynasty of Kodagu came to an end.

Bonda Mukkatira (Muddayya and Chenna Basava)

Linga Rajendra and his chief queen Devaki had two daughters: Muddammaji and Devammaji (not to be confused with the queen and daughter of Dodda Vira Rajendra). The Queen Devaki was a daughter of the Palanganda Kodava family of Kantha Moornaad. 

In the court of Linga Rajendra was a palace official, the Head Munshi (Chief Accountant) of the Treasury under the Dewan (Principal Minister). His name was Mukkatira Muddayya, son of Mukkatira Aiyappa I, and he was a native of Bonda village (Bilugunda village was later formed from this village) in Ammathi naad. He had two younger brothers  Ipanna (some sources say Aiyappanna) and Appayya (some sources say, Bopayya). They were the sons of one Mukkatira Aiyappa, mentioned in a Niroopa (decree) issued by Dodda Vira Rajendra and dated 1797. 

Muddayya was a favourite of the Raja and projected to be the future Dewan of Kodagu. Ipanna was a great marksman and horseman whose skill caught the eye of the Raja. The Raja, a sharpshooter himself, once tested him by ordering him to shoot down a bird perched upon the back of a distant bison. The Coorg successfully passed the challenge and pleased the Raja. Later the Raja had him race between Madikeri and Bhagamandala on horseback in record time. 

Ipanna was renamed Channa Basava by the Raja and at first betrothed to Muddammaji who however died young of sickness. So in 1819 Mukkatira Ipanna Channa Basava was remarried to Devammaji. He was titled Jahagirdar (feudal lord) and they were given the palace and estate of Appangala village.

In 1820 Linga Rajendra died and Chikka Vira Rajendra, the half-brother of Devammaji (daughter of Linga Rajendra), became the next Raja. As Chikka Vira Rajendra was a very young man (who didn't have children until a decade later), his brother-in-law, Channa Basava, was made his heir. 

A dispute rose between them both in the early 1830s. Some supporters had wanted Channa Basava made the Raja. As a result of this Devammaji and Channa Basava were put under house arrest in their Appangala farm. 

Fearing for their lives the couple escaped from Kodagu into Periyapatna in Mysore one night. Eventually they were pensioned by the British East India Company (who were in the Mysore kingdom) and settled at Bangalore. 

This enraged Chikka Vira Rajendra who upon learning of their escape suspected Muddayya's involvement in their escape and had him executed. The Bonda Mukkatira family had become an influential clan which called itself a royal family. In 1834 Chikka Vira Rajendra was deposed and Kodagu came under British East India. 

Years later Channa Basava came back into Kodagu and lived at Appangala. He died and was succeeded by his wife and children. His two daughters were given in marriage to Palegaras (barons) in Mysore. The couple's only son had married but died childless. 

According to The Imperial Gazetteer of India (1908, page 15) Devammaji lived until she was 94 years and died in 1903, her son Somashekara had died before her. The Mukkati (Mukkatira) family presently at Appangala are the probable descendants of a daughter and heir of Chenna Basava and Devammaji. 

Meanwhile the Kodava families of Ipanna's brothers, Muddayya and Appayya, (the Bonda Mukkatira) continued to live on in the Ammathi naad region. Today the Bonda Mukkatira is a large family, said to be the largest Mukkatira family, with several family members. Only a few individuals relevant to this genealogy have been mentioned here.

Some ancestors of the Bonda Mukkatira family (LucidChart).
Mukkatira Aiyappa (Aiyamma) or Mukkatira Aiyappa II is (Bonda) Mukkatira Aiyappa in the previous family tree.

One direct descendant of Mukkatira Appayya (brother of Ipanna/ Chenna Basava) was Mukkatira Aiyappa II (named Aiyamma, according to some sources), his grandson, who married Ammavva, a lady of the Kodandera clan of Kunda village, and had four daughters. Kodandera Ammavva must have been an aunt or a grand aunt of the two Indian Generals, K. M. Cariappa and K. S. Thimmayya who were of the same Kodandera family from Kunda village. 

The youngest of her four daughters was Muddamma who was married to Mukkatira Belliappa, son of Mukkatira Biddayya, of Arpattu village in Kadiyat naad. The Mukkatira families of Bonda and Arpattu were unrelated. 

Arpattu Mukkatira

Four brothers were the progenitors of the Arpattu Mukkatira family. During the eighteenth century war against the Mysore Sultans who occupied Kodagu, the Kodava villagers of Arpattu and Palangala (who were militiamen) were outnumbered and pursued by the Sultan's soldiers. They took refuge in the temple of Malethirke in Kadiyat naad. The soldiers were scaling that heavily forested hill towards the temple which was at it's summit when a swarm of jungle bees attacked them. The soldiers fled the place and the Kodavas who came out from their refuge found the abandoned camp downhill. Here they helped themselves to the cache of arms of the enemy and went on to successfully fight away their pursuers. Among those warriors were the four Mukkatira brothers of Arpattu village, Karyakara (Officer) Appacha, Karyakara Monnappa, Biddayya and Muddayya, the last two were Desha Panchayath Thakka (Kodagu Council Chieftains). Many more brave soldiers came from the village of Arpattu. Centuries later two or three gunners from Arpattu village were to die in the twentieth century Indo-China War of the 1960s. 

Mukkatira Biddayya and his son Mukkatira Belliappa were descendants of one of these Arpattu Mukkatira brothers (who was also called Mukkatira Biddayya). The Arpattu Mukkatira Ain-mane (large ancestral homestead) that this family built is distinct as it has two Mundu-mane (central courtyards). Mukkatira Biddayya and his family lived away from the Ain-mane and in Kadanga village, which is near Arpattu.

Mukkatira Belliappa was a schoolmaster who knew English, rode the countryside on horseback and taught at Kodlipet School. He and his wife Mukkatira Muddamma later moved from Kadanga village and settled down in Vontiangadi village in Ammathi naad. They had four sons, of whom only two survived into adulthood, and three daughters. The eldest daughter was married to a Pemmanda gentleman of Kadnur, the second to a Puggera gentleman of Devanagiri (in Virajpet), who for a while was the Deva Thakka (temple manager) of Bythoorappa (Baithurappa) village temple which is near the Karnataka-Kerala border, and the third to a Kabbachira gentleman. Bythoorappa is a chief deity for the Kodavas of Kodagu and the Puggera family were its hereditary Deva Takkas. 

The first son of Arpattu Mukkatira Belliappa was Mukkatira Chinnappa. The second of the two sons was my maternal grandfather Mukkatira Mandanna, an army man who had seen action during the Indo-China War of 1962. Before the war he was married to Kotera Bojamma of Moornaad. He dislocated his forearm during an accident in the same war. Yet he recovered from his injury at home and continued to serve in the army for a few more years. Later he returned to settle down with his family in Vontiangadi, to tend to the family property and become the elected village Sarpanch.

Maternal grandfather's old jeep


Pardanda Ponnappa was the Dalavoi (General) of Dodda Virappa, a Kodagu Raja (r.1688-1736).  Ponnappa's son Annaiah married a lady from the Kotera house. 

The temples and deities of Kodagu are of Kerala origin and associated with the Bythoorappa temple, so the Kodavas pilgrimage to this temple every year. Bythoorappa (Baithurappa) is known as Vayathur Mahadeva or Vayathur Kaliyar (Kali or Bhadrakali) Shiva of Ulikkal a village temple of Bythoor (Vayathur) region which is on the Kerala Kannur district side of the Kerala-Karnataka state border. The Kaliat Nambiar, who like the Kolathiri (Chera) Rajas were ancient allies of the Kodavas as the latter had a land trade with them in the past, were the chieftains of that region in Kerala. Hence the Bythoorappa (also called Vayathoorappan temple management comprised of Kodavas of Kodagu and Malayalis of Kerala. 

My maternal grandmother Mukkatira (nee Kotera) Bojamma's mother was from the Manduvanda family. Great Grandmother had a sister who was married to a Poyyetira clan gentleman. The Poyyetira couple had three daughters and lived near Gaddige, the tombs of the Kodagu Rajas, at Madikeri. 

Grandmother had two brothers and two sisters, the eldest was married to an Ammanukuttanda gentleman who for a while was the Devathakka (temple manager) of the chief village temple at Peggala, which is near the Karnataka-Kerala border (on the Karnataka Kodagu district side). The ancient Coorg men would pierce their ear lobes and wear thick gold hoop ear rings, like other ancient Hindus, but during the Raj they stopped this practise. Grandmother’s Manduvanda maternal uncles wore such traditional ear rings in the early twentieth century and chose to stop doing so after some time. 

Relatives of Bilugunda Mookonda
Two Subahdars, a Diwan and a princess: the Mandepanda)

In the late 1700s two Mandepanda brothers, Achchayya and Monnayya, lived in Chembebeloor with their mother Somavva. Monnayya was a Subahdar (governor of a Subah, or region, roughly equivalent to a taluk) under Dodda Vira Rajendra. Achchayya's fifth son Appayya was also a Subahdar under the same Raja. Mandepanda Appayya fought for the Raja against Tipu Sultan. He and his friend Na. Putta Gowda helped the Raja regain Madikeri fort and capture parts of Southern Hassan (in and around Manjarabad and Sakleshpura). However Appayya was killed in the war in 1790. Putta Gowda built a mausoleum in his memory at Mullusoge near Kushalnagar. Monnayya was honoured by the Raja with a ceremonial Oidekatti (native sword) for his bravery in the same war. 

Later Achchayya's sixth son Thimmayya was a Huzur Munshi (Chief Accountant) who learnt Hindustani (Hindi and Urdu) and Persian. He married a Haleri (the Rajas' dynasty) princess and was one of the few Kodava vegetarians of his times. He was retained in the government when the British took over Kodagu in 1834. He and former Subahdar Monnayya were part of the native police force that helped quell the Coorg Rebellion in 1837. Between 1847 and 1856 Thimmayya became the Head Shrestidar in Madikeri, under the British Commisioners. Being the highest ranked native official of his times, Thimmayya was addressed as the Diwan by the people of Kodagu. After his death a Haleri style tomb was built for him in Chembebeloor. Thus the Mandepanda family of Chembebeloor came to be called the Gori ('tomb') Mandepanda.

Thimmayya had land in Ammathi Vontiangadi. Achchayya's first son (Thimmayya's eldest brother) Parupatyagara Appayya and last son (Thimmayya's youngest brother) Muddayya, both moved out of Chembebeloor and settled down in their lands in Bilugunda village (formerly called Bonda). Mandepanda Muddayya's elder daughter was married into the Bilugunda Mookonda family, who owned farmlands in the neighbourhood. Muddayya's second son's (Mandepanda Aiyamma's) second daughter was also married into the same family (Bilugunda Mookonda).

Paternal Relatives 
(The Mookondas of Bilugunda, or Bonda, their neighbours and relatives)

Bonda was a village of 300 families before it was split into the smaller village of Nalvathokkalu (meaning 'forty clans') and the larger village of Bilugunda, hence it was called Bonda Moonooru Okka ('Bonda 300 clans'). There was a third village, Pudikote (or Hoskote), as well which was carved out of the old village of Bonda, but it was too small to be a significant village. One of the original 300 families was the Bonda Mukkatira (the same clan in which Muddayya and Ipanna were born) and another was the Bilugunda Mookonda. The Bonda Mukkatira live in what is today Nalvathokkalu. They were the Deva thakkas (temple managers) of the village temple. 

In Bilugunda existed one Ur guppe (village group of settlements) where one Kodava Palegara (chieftain), one Airi (carpenter and village smith, the Airira) and seven Kodava ryot (agriculturist) families lived together as a cluster of settlements. They were the Palegara who was of the Uddichanda clan and eight other clans: the Mandepanda, the Iynanda, the Madappanda, the Nellachanda, the Uppangada, the Kopuda, the Airira and the Mookonda. 

During the reign of Tipu Sultan in the late eighteenth century, many of the original 300 families including the Uddichanda Palegara family were completely destroyed. Khader Khan Kaisigi, a friend of Dodda Vira Rajendra, the Raja of Kodagu, was given the lands of the Uddichanda. Khader Khan's descendants would wear the Kodava Kuppya Chele and take the place of the extinct family in all village festivities, including at the Putthari (harvest) dance at the nad mund (village green). 

The Bilugunda Mookonda were the Ur Patel (hereditary village headmen) of the Bilgunda village, located near Ammathi. The Iynanda clan was the Aruva (a friendly neighboring clan who assisted in religious cultural rituals and ceremonies and who was also the traditional matchmaker) for the Mookonda and like wise the Mookonda were the Aruva for the Iynanda. Near what is now the Bilugunda Kodava Samaja (ceremonial hall) beside the Iynanda lands was a Kaimada (shrine) dedicated to the Mookonda ancestors. This shrine was in a bad shape until recently. 

Five brothers who lived in the nineteenth century gave rise to the present day Bilugunda Mookonda clan. The eldest of these five brothers, Mookonda Nanjappa, had four sons. One of them was named Mookonda Madaiah (Senior). Madaiah, his brother and a paternal cousin moved from Bilugunda, to the neighbouring hamlet of Mundoni. 
The neighbours of the Mookonda in Mundoni were the Iynanda, the Nellamakkada and the Mandepanda. 

Madaiah had two sons, Cariappa (pronounced ‘Kaaryappa’) and Kushalappa (‘Kushaalappa’). Mookonda Cariappa (Senior), who was the Patedar (clan elder) of the Mookonda family, was the last Patel of Bilugunda, after him the hereditary office was stopped. Mookonda Kushalappa (Senior), a teetotaller, became the elected Sarpanch of Bilugunda.

In the past, brothers and their respective families would live together as a joint family under the same roof. In Kadnur lived such brothers of the Pemmanda house. One had two sons and a daughter while another had two daughters. A son of the first brother became the renowned South Indian police chief Rao Bahadur Pemmanda K. Monnappa. One daughter of the other brother was my great grandmother. She married a gentleman of the Uddapanda family of Ammathi. Her sister married a Kavadichanda gentleman. 

The Uddapanda couple had two daughters and a son, the son was later a police chief. The younger daughter was married to a Kuppachira gentleman. The elder daughter, my paternal grandmother, was married to my paternal grandfather Mookonda Kushalappa (Senior). 


According to tradition, I was named after my paternal grandfather at birth; the eldest patrilineal grandson usually gets the name of his deceased paternal grandfather. So I am Mookonda Kushalappa (Junior). My personal name (Nitin) was given to me by my maternal grandfather. He was in Bengal for some time during his tenure in the army. Many years later when Nitin Bose, a famous Bengali and Hindi script writer and film maker, died the year I was born, I was named after him.

I would like to thank my maternal grandparents, Mukkatira Bojamma and the late Mandanna, my parents, Mookonda Pushpa (Damayanthi) and Poonacha (Sunny), and my relatives for sharing this family history with me. This work has been a basic attempt at studying genealogies and is an act of remembering the dead. It is a tribute being paid to one's ancestors whose names would otherwise disappear into oblivion. 

Among the well distinguished individuals mentioned in this genealogy are Jahagirdar Mukkatira Ipanna (also called Aiyappanna or Chenna Basava) and Rao Bahadur P. K. Monnappa, who are distantly related to my parents, most of the other men were landowning ryots (farmers) and sepoys (soldiers). 

The Malethirke temple incident concerning the villages of Arpattu and Palangala has also been described by C (Cheppudira) P Belliappa in his first book. 

The family history of the Bilugunda Mookonda is from what family members and relatives have to say and from Bovverianda Nanjamma and Chinnappa's website Ainmanes.com and well detailed notes. 

Mukkatira Muddayya and Jahagirdar Mukkatira Ipanna, as well as the Rajas (princes) of Kodagu, have been described by various sources such as D. N. Krishnayya's history book in Kannada Kodagina IttihasaG. Richter's book Manual of Coorg popularly known as the Gazetteer of CoorgI. M. Muthanna's book The Coorg Memoirs (the story of the Kodavas), Masti Venkatesh Iyengar's historical Kannada novel Chikka Vira Rajendra, Haridasa Bonda Mukkatira Subbayya Poovayya's 1960 family genealogy in Kannada, Bovverianda Nanjamma and Chinnappa's website Ainmanes.com and Iynanda Dhanu's Kodava thakk article published in the Brahmagiri periodical. 

Richter's 1870 Gazetteer of Coorg, Nadikerianda Chinnappa's 1924 Pattole Palame, Mandepanda Kutumbada Vamshavali Pustaka (Mandepanda family history book) by Mandepanda M. Kushalappa in 2002, speak of Mandepanda Monnayya, Mandepanda Appayya, Mandepanda Thimmayya and their relatives.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Genealogy: Part I

by Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)

The Kodavas

Introduction: A Folk Ballad

In the ancient past, the Kodavas (also called Coorgs) were freeholder agriculturists and militiamen. Most of them were farmers who owned the soil that they tilled, not Jamindars (landlords) or serfs (tenant peasants). They also formed the militia army under the Rajas (kings) and the Nayakas (barons). Kodagu, or Coorg, was independent of the larger empires and kingdoms like those of the Mughal and of Mysore. Before Kodagu came under it's Rajas, of the Haleri dynasty, it was divided among the local Nayakas. 

One celebrated ballad speaks of the fight between Kullachanda Chondu and Keyyondira Appayya. Chondu was a veteran warrior of Ammathi naad (a naad was a shire comprising of a few villages) who defeated the other naads' warriors and forced them to pay regular tribute to him. However, he found his match in Keyyondira Appayya of Kadiyat naad. 

Appayya was a young boy of Arpattu village who outwitted the veteran by momentarily blinding him with sand during a combat and timely beheading him. Thereafter he took over Chondu's status as warrior champion in Kodagu. He was called Periya Moli ('Revered Elder') until his death. 

Every year, thereafter, during the annual temple festival at the Arpattu village temple he wore a white Kuppya (traditional robe) and was carried in a palanquin (that originally belonged to Chondu) by twelve palanquin bearers. This tradition was followed by his successors as well until recent times. These were the tales of the brave lands of Kodagu; this particular ballad is found in the Pattole Palame, a book of folk songs.

An History

The earliest mention of the Kodavas is in an inscription dated 1174 CE found in Periyapatna which stated that Pemma Virappa led Ella naadina Kodagaru ('Coorgs from all naads') in war. The forefathers of the Kodavas hardly ever traveled out of their villages; they were quiet farmers, the men would see some excitement when they hunted game in the woods or served in the Rajas' army for some days or months of the year. Only on trade or war would the Coorgs venture out or would other people enter Kodagu. The mud roads taken by the village oxen were the only means of travel. 

The women would stay within their homes, not traveling beyond their family farms, and were dressed in head veils, jacket blouses, and saris. When visitors occasionally came home, the women were confined to the inner rooms from where they could look out through the inner windows into the sitting room. This was the purdah system prevalent in Kodagu.

Some people like to erroneously claim that the Kodavas were of mixed European, probably even British, descent, but most Kodavas had lived in the villages and hardly knew a word of any other language, leave alone having seen a European even once all their entire lifetime. The Kodavas have always been known to be relatively good-looking. 

When Hyder Ali invaded Kodagu in the eighteenth century (nearly a century before Kodagu came under the British Raj), he had ordered his men to behead the Kodava warriors, but when they brought the heads of the Coorg men he noticed how handsome they were. So he quickly put an end to the massacre. 

Richter writes in 1870 that the headmen of Kodagu were very antagonistic and conservative; Kodagu was cut off from the outside world under them and under the Rajas. The region gradually opened up when Western Education and good roads were introduced.


Being a martial hill people it wouldn't seem strange that the Kodavas have unique dress and food habits. The martial men of India, be they Punjabi, Rajput or Maratha, dress similar to the Coorg men. The hill women found in parts of Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir dress similar to the Coorg women. The roots of these dress habits can be finally traced back to the original people of West Asia and of the Caucasus mountains thousands of years ago. 

Much of the Coorg culture and religion is akin to that of coastal Southwestern India - the Canara and the Malabar regions. This was the neighborhood of Kodagu with whom the Coorgs traded and from where the gods and priests of Kodagu arrived. By religion, the Kodavas are of a Hindu sectary.