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Thursday, 28 December 2017

Mathanda Appachu (Part 4)

His forefathers

The chieftain's family

In Kodagu, a certain folk song describes the ancient local government in the region. Eight hereditary chieftain clans called the desa thakka (regional chieftains) resided in places spread across Kodagu. The Mathanda pronounced as 'Maa-ththan-da', clan were one of these eight.

When I had been to Bollumad village of Beppunaad region I chanced upon the sepulchre of Diwan Mathanda Appachu. It lies in the family lands of his descendants. This tomb has a small dome and turrets on top with four basava bulls at the corners of the flat roof.

Appachu's sepulchre

Nearby are two memorials to his predecessors. One memorial is a white stone upon a platform on the grave of Mathanda Maanu and under a tree. Maanu has no living descendants. The other is a small red shrine, called a Kaimada, which is dedicated to Maletira Karicha of Kedamallur, the common ancestor of all Mathanda members existing today.

Karicha's Kaimada

Oral tradition claims that a particular sorcerer had troubled a Raja of Kodagu. The Raja had a reward placed upon the sorcerer's head. Karicha, as a young boy, had befriended the sorcerer who gradually took the boy into his confidence. The boy followed him everywhere and the sorcerer didn't mind at all. Karicha noticed that the sorcerer never put down his weapons as he didn't trust anybody enough, not even Karicha.

Once the two came to a stream where they wished to wash their faces and limbs before having lunch. Karicha put down his weapons and washed his hands and feet first. Not suspecting anything to be amiss, the sorcerer also put down his weapons and stood on the bank of the stream. Finding this to be the opportune moment, Karicha sprang up, grabbed his weapons and killed the sorcerer. When the Raja got the news he was highly pleased and so rewarded Karicha.

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