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Sunday, 24 December 2017

Mathanda Appachu (Part 3)

The Coorg grandfather 

by Mookonda Kushalappa

The archival picture

The 1870 'Gazetteer of Coorg' by Rev. G. Richter, a British missionary, and educationist, has a photograph labeled as 'Coorgs: grandfather, father and grandsons'. The seated grandfather sports a handlebar mustache, a mark of distinction. According to the 1875 volume of 'People of India' series, where the same picture is labeled as 'Coorgs. Hindoos. Coorg', he is called 'Mattana', 'Soobadar of Mercara', shown along with 'his younger relatives'.

Based on a list replicated in folklorist Nadikerianda Chinnappa's 1924 book Pattole Palame, I have been able to identify this 'Mattana', 'Madanta' and 'Appachanna' as Subahdar Mathanda Appachu, later Head Sheristadar and Diwan. The picture hence shows Mathanda Appachu, his son, and grandsons.

In his book, Richter speaks of 'the present Head Sheristadar Madanta Appachu, a fine old Coorg, of tall stature and martial bearing' on page 337. Again on page 363, Richter talks of 'Subedar Appachanna the present Head Sheristadar'. 


Later photos have come up. It appears that the father and not the grandfather is Mathanda Appachu. According to the family tree, this makes the grandfather Karicha, father of Appachu. His son is Appachu and Appachu's four sons are the grandsons.

The eldest male member of an okka (Kodava family) was called the Pattedara. He owned the land and the property of the family. Like Manu the Hindu law-giver said in his Manusmriti, the man owned his son, wife, and servant. This way Karicha wears his son Appachu's medal.  

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